Missing Horse Found Alive in Wind Cave National Park


Gin Szagola and Finley. (NPS Photo)

The horse missing in Wind Cave National Park since last Tuesday, May 2, was found earlier today walking along Highway 385 near the Wind Cave Canyon Trailhead.  

Custer County Dispatch notified the park at 7:55 a.m. of a dropped call from that area. When park rangers responded, they saw the horse. Park personnel led the horse into the park’s maintenance yard where it was soon reunited with its owner. The horse appeared to be in good shape after spending a week in the backcountry. 

“We’d like to thank everyone who helped on this search, especially the Custer County Sherriff’s Office, Custer County Search and Rescue, Custer State Park, the South Dakota Wing of the Civil Air Patrol and the numerous people who on their own were looking for the horse,” said Park Superintendent Leigh Welling.  

The horse, named Finley, was examined at the Fall River Veterinary Clinic and other than dehydration and a slightly scraped up leg is healthy.  

“I’ve been searching from sunrise to sunset since his disappearance, and while I have been trying to hold onto hope, after all this time I had begun to fear the worst,” said the horse’s owner, Gin Szagola. “The efforts to find him have been incredible. Just amazing. It has saved his life. I’m just at a loss for words, overwhelmed with relief that he is safe.” 

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