News Release

Missing horse found alive in Wind Cave National Park

To the left is a brown horse looking at the camera. The horse is being held on the right by a woman in a green shirt wearing a red bandana around her neck. In the background are buildings and vehicles.
Gin Szagola and Finley.

NPS Photo

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
News Release Date: May 9, 2023

Contact: Tom Farrell, 605-745-1130

HOT SPRINGS, SD – 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.”

Last updated: May 9, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

26611 US Highway 385
Hot Springs, SD 57747


605 745-4600

Contact Us