A cowboy moved by the plight of captured wild horses opened a sanctuary and over 30 years later it offers a safe place for 500 wild horses to roam free.
Dayton O. Hyde was saddened by the sight of wild horses captured in Nevada in 1987 and was determined to do something about it.
This true American cowboy, author and nature conservationist even became the subject of a documentary covering his work with wild horses.
Dayton worked hard for the land of “windswept prairies” where 500 wild mustangs now roam free.
“If you’re telling me it couldn’t be done, then that’s the wrong thing to say to a cowboy,” Dayton told the makers of the documentary Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde.
He traveled to Washington D.C. and petitioned Congress to allow him to take some of the captured horses and create a sanctuary for them, according to a Black Hills Facebook post.
The animal hero, who passed in 2018 at the age of 93, said he always wanted to be a cowboy and told documentary makers: “I wanted to ride tough.”
‘It was just too cruel’
In 1987 he visited Nevada to buy cattle and saw the wild horses in captivity and wanted to do something about it. According to a Washington Post article from 2019 the state has more horses than the land can handle and around 50,000 are in holding after periodic round ups.
“It was just too cruel to take a wild horse away from their freedom and home and be contained in a corral,” Black Hills staff shared on the sanctuary’s Facebook page.
South Dakota Governor George Mickelson offered to show him Chilson Canyon in the Southern Black Hills and despite opposition from neighbors and the local government, he went ahead with his dream.
Continues to offer sanctuary
Dayton worked seven days a week with no vacation and no salaries all for the love of these beautiful wild horses.
Thanks to this courageous man Black Hills continues his legacy offering sanctuary to 500 wild horses on what Dayton describes as “potentially the best horse range in the country.”
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