17 June 2015


Well, would not you know it? We wake up this morning to sunny skies and we are pulling up stakes for Hot Springs. Bah humbug!

Hot Springs is only about 100 miles from Spearfish. We went around the Black Hills to get down here taking 90 east and then 79 south. All along our trip we have tried to take the little green dot roads and highways. The green dots indicate scenic routes. Well, here's a tip. In our opinion 79 from Rapid City to Hot Springs is the most beautiful route we have driven since leaving home some 1,000 miles ago. This road has nary a green dot.

As we got closer to Hot Springs it got darker and darker with clouds and we thought "Oh, no!". We pulled into the KOA campground around eleven am. Not usually a KOA fan we think this one is nice. We like our spot and we can get good internet connectivity. Which is very handy when trying to write my daily blogs.

When Kinsey was in the information place at Deadwood she happened to see a brochure for a wild horse sanctuary near Hot Springs. She snapped up the info cuz she is a horse lover. When we checked-in we learned the sanctuary was only about 20 miles away so we decided to make that our first order of business after lunch.

Driving south out of Hot Springs on 71 it got brighter and brighter. The landscape was crowned by bright blue skies and fluffy white clouds. They looked a lot like those clouds we love so much in Montana. You can't miss the turn off 71, there's a large monument. It's a well maintained dirt road and heads west into a canyon with the Cheyenne River running through it. The road dead ends at the sanctuary.

Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

What an absolutely gorgeous location for mustangs to run free. The sanctuary is over 14,000 acres and has about 600 mustangs. I've also read 11,000 acres and 500 mustangs. Which ever it's a bunch of both. I'm not going to go into all the details if you're interested just Google The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary or better yet check them out on Facebook.

Kinsey went dippy for this photo because she saw it as symbolizing what the Black Hills Wild horse Sanctuary is all about FREEDOM
They took pity on this poor doggie and let Kinsey pull up under a tree whilst she wandered. Mercifully she did not take the two hour bus tour they offer. On her wander she saw this little pinto pony that was closely watching three mares across the way. One who already had a foal and two others that looked that were very pregnant. The pony was friendly and gentle and Kinsey liked him right away. I'm sure this is because he let her love on him.

Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

She eventually ended up in the old homestead which has been converted into an information center, gift shop and restaurant. As usual, Kinsey got to jaw boning and before she knew it Cori offered to take her on a tour of the grounds. Turned out that sweet paint pony was a stud and those mares were his harem.  She also learned they were Choctaw ponies which were all but exterminated by the US government. The wisdom of our government being, take away the horses, take away the Indian spirit. There are less than 300 in existence I'll leave it to Kinsey to tell the whole story on her blog The Liberated Photographer. At the end of the walkabout Cory let Kinsey know about the sponsoring programs they have for the horses. If you sponsor one young enough you get to name it. Cory sent Kinsey off to look a group of yearlings that needed sponsoring. Whilst she was looking she thought about those Choctaw mares about to foal and she knew what she wanted to do.

Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

Kinsey went back to the center and asked if she could sponsor the foal of the Choctaw paint. Kinsey chose the bay and white paint named Pearl. Pearl was Kinsey's paternal grandmother's name. She died before Kinsey was born. So, now we are kind of expectant parents. And, the gods willing, we will have a Choctaw Pony in our family for the rest of our lives. Kinsey will get to name it and the pony will live free at the sanctuary, we will provide for it every year. We say for the rest of our lives because there is one of the original mustangs still alive and she is in her thirties. Neither Kinsey nor I are likely to out live it. Maybe Kinsey will make a provision in her will that funds be set aside to take care of it for the rest of its life. But, that's getting ahead of ourselves. First we have to focus on Pearl having a successful delivery.

Choctaw Pony Pearl

WOW! What a day!

PS: We visited The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary on May 26, 2015. As far as we know, Pearl still has not given birth. We continue to send out good vibes that she will produce a happy, healthy baby.

Ciao for now,

©Kinsey Barnard

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