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“Great place, horrible tour guide”

The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary
Ranked #2 of 18 things to do in Hot Springs
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This 11,000-acre ranch breeds wild horses, letting them run free and unbroken.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Great place, horrible tour guide”
Reviewed 28 May 2014

I took the two hour bus tour with my brother. I love horses and was incredibly excited but the tour guide, Kurt, ruined the experience. Kurt never once stopped talking during the two hours--he gave a very long (and extremely colorful) account of Native American history, he talked about his life, his wife, random stories from other tours he had been on, stories about basketball games he had been to, stories about snakes--etc, etc. He talked about anything and everything except the horses.

At $50 each my brother and I were expecting a much better quality of tour. I really did not want to be talked at endlessly and not have one second to just enjoy the gorgeous views and the beautiful wild horses. I did try to interrupt and ask questions about the horses but Kurt was very short with me and seemed annoyed at having to answer anything (I just asked why certain bands of horses couldn't be together in one field)

As much as I love horses, the whole place seemed a little weird. Some horses were truly wild and the tour cannot approach them, but a lot of them were used to humans but abused or otherwise abandoned. To protect these horses is a good cause but why they are in the Black Hills I'm not sure. The lady in the gift shop said there is not enough grass to feed the horses so they have to buy hay all year round. So the horses live wild and without intervention...except they are completely dependent on people for food...and also occasional vet work.

I was also very unimpressed with their constant begging for money. Every 5 feet there is a sign saying "adopt a mustang!" and the tour guide kept saying how much they need money. And on the bus there was a sign saying "tips are appreciated" . I get it but we also just paid a crap ton of money for the tour and I don't like being hit up for money all the time--especially when the tour was so poor quality!!

I loved the horses, and of course the Black Hills are gorgeous, but I was pretty pissed about the tour. I contacted them and told them about our bad experience but their only response was "this will be addressed". No apology, no follow up, nothing. I would skip this attraction, it isn't worth the money.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
8 Thank keribh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Twin Cities, MN
Level Contributor
76 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Worth the trip”
Reviewed 18 May 2014

Although we arrived on the last day of our trip, we spent about an hour and a half with walking around and visiting with the staff, all of which were friendly and open. What struck us is how passionate everyone is about what they do, which is to provide a sanctuary for horses to remain wild and free and do their part to offset the mismanagement of the wild horse herd by the federal government. It's also refreshing to hear it operates with no state or federal subsidy. Dayton Hyde took matters into his own hands and established this sanctuary with his own funds and it operates on donations and the sale of colts. It's set in a very beautiful spot, which is worth the drive by itself. It's on the top of our bucket list of things to do next time we visit the Black Hills. The only reason I couldn't give it 5 stars is because we were only able to sample a small piece of it.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank SRusher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Burr Ridge, Illinois
Level Contributor
49 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“It is hard to explain how thrilling it is to see these beautiful creatures along the Cheyenne River.”
Reviewed 14 January 2014 via mobile

I have visited the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary several times. It is spectacular to see the wild horses and know that they are protected at the Sanctuary. I believe that the cost of visiting supports the care of the horses and the property which is very large. The guides are helpful to visitors who are photographers. The gift shop is great for horse lovers and best of all is the new restaurant, as this is a day trip and several hours can be spent at the Sanctuary.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
6 Thank deeda c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
160 reviews
67 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Attraction Not to be Missed”
Reviewed 11 November 2013

The Wild Horse Sanctuary is always the highlight of my trips through the Hot Springs/Black Hills area. The two-plus hour tour of the Sanuary is worth every minute of time spent. The tour guides are a fount of knowledge of the history of the area. This came out of a dream of one man, Dayton Hyde, broken hearted over the plight of wild mustangs held in holding pens by the BLM, awaiting a stark, and sometimes horrific, future. He purchased the land, acquired the horses and set them free to live out their natural lives. The tour guides take you all over the 11,000-plus acres to view the diverse bands of horses, giving a history of the area, and stopping at the petroglyphs carved into the cliffs by early Native Americans, the area where a pow wow is held every year, and the remains of a movie set.
A cafe has been added to the visitor's center, so you can grab lunch before or after the tour.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank A M G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
103 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“A Vision Realized - A Safe Home For Wild Horses”
Reviewed 3 November 2013 via mobile

We spent an enthralling & heartwarming afternoon with Mark on a 3 hour tour of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. If you have time, I highly recommend that you read ANY of Dayton Hyde's books prior to your visit. This will give you some insight into the visionary who established this special place.

We first saw the rare Choctaw Indian Horses and learned about the sanctuary's conservation program. We also saw Spanish mustangs and learned some of their unique characteristics.

Mark drove us through rugged areas of the sanctuary with beautiful views of the Cheyenne River. We drove amongst several herds of horses, and my wife was given plenty of time to photograph them.

The tour was part education, part scenery, part wildlife (wild horses), and part photography. This was great. Seeing these wild horses roaming, foraging, and running freely is truly inspirational.

Mark and the entire staff TRULY care about these horses and the countryside upon which they roam. For them, this is a labor of love, not just a job.

Please note that they have a nice gift shop with proceeds going directly to sanctuary operations.

Don't miss this wonderful place I'd travelling in the Black Hills!

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank Psamob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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