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The Horse Lover: A Cowboy's Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs
     

The Horse Lover: A Cowboy's Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs

5.0 2
by H. Alan Day
 

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He already owned and managed two ranches and needed a third about as much as he needed a permanent migraine: that’s what Alan Day said every time his friend pestered him about an old ranch in South Dakota. But in short order, he proudly owned 35,000 pristine grassy acres. The opportunity then dropped into his lap to establish a sanctuary for unadoptable

Overview

He already owned and managed two ranches and needed a third about as much as he needed a permanent migraine: that’s what Alan Day said every time his friend pestered him about an old ranch in South Dakota. But in short order, he proudly owned 35,000 pristine grassy acres. The opportunity then dropped into his lap to establish a sanctuary for unadoptable wild horses previously warehoused by the Bureau of Land Management. After Day successfully lobbied Congress, those acres became Mustang Meadows Ranch, the first government-sponsored wild horse sanctuary established in the United States.

The Horse Lover is Day’s personal history of the sanctuary’s vast enterprise, with its surprises and pleasures and its plentiful dangers, frustrations, and heartbreak. Day’s deep connection with the animals in his care is clear from the outset, as is his maverick philosophy of horse-whispering, with which he trained fifteen hundred wild horses. The Horse Lover weaves together Day’s recollections of his cowboying adventures astride some of his best horses, all of which taught him indispensable lessons about loyalty, perseverance, and hope. This heartfelt memoir reveals the Herculean task of balancing the requirements of the government with the needs of wild horses.

 

Editorial Reviews

Sandra Day O'Connor

“It is impossible to see a herd of wild horses running free without feeling a surge of excitement and enthusiasm for their vigor, power, and beauty. To watch them run with their manes and tails flying in the wind is to experience a sense of the ultimate freedom of motion.”—From the foreword by Sandra Day O’Connor, former U.S. Supreme Court justice
True West - Stuart Rosebrook
"Day's poignant personal journey is one of both heartache and hope, a mirror of not just one man's desire to save a great American icon of freedom, the wild mustang, but a nation's."—Stuart Rosebrook, True West
Booklist - Nancy Bent
"An instant classic."—Nancy Bent, Booklist Starred Review
Larry Watson
“A great American story, and an inspiring tale of vision, courage, and hard-won wisdom. It’s told with humor and grace and without pretension. And every reader is sure to find a horse to fall in love with in these pages.”—Larry Watson, author of Montana 1948
J. Edward de Steiguer
“A definite read for all those who love horses. Day and Sneyd’s book is sure to become an instant wild-horse classic in the spirit of J. Frank Dobie.”—J. Edward de Steiguer, author of Wild Horses of the West
Dennis DeConcini
The Horse Lover is a very good illustration of the real western part of our nation. Day, a successful rancher and businessman, is honest and forthright in dealings with neighbors, employees, business associates, and especially the federal government. I recommend this reading.”—Dennis DeConcini, former U.S. senator from Arizona
Allan J. Hamilton
“For every American who is stirred by the sight of wild mustangs running free, here’s the inspiring saga of a man who changed his life to make it a reality. A book that will stir the soul of every horse lover and leave every one of them cheering.”—Allan J. Hamilton, MD, author of Zen Mind, Zen Horse
Sandra Day O’Connor
“It is impossible to see a herd of wild horses running free without feeling a surge of excitement and enthusiasm for their vigor, power, and beauty. To watch them run with their manes and tails flying in the wind is to experience a sense of the ultimate freedom of motion.”—From the foreword by Sandra Day O’Connor, former U.S. Supreme Court justice
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-16
With the assistance of literary publicist and author Sneyd, rancher Day (co-author, with sister Sandra Day O'Connor: Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest, 2002, etc.) delivers a lively report of his four years tending 1,500 unadoptable wild mustangs. When Day embarked on a project to release a large herd of wild mustangs that had been rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management, it was uncharted territory. The author had recently acquired 35,000 acres of undulating grassland prairie in southern South Dakota that he felt was ideal for turning out the horses to roam. In a warm, salt-of-the-earth manner—"Good luck had stuffed itself in my pocket long ago, and adventure had been my friend since I was old enough to scramble on the back of Chico...trying my five-year-old darnedest to keep up with the big cowboys"—Day recounts how he was able to get the BLM, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Congress to support the program. Soon, he found himself with a rambunctious collection of mustang rejects. Day passionately explains what it is like to learn ranching in the Sand Hills and how to tame the wild horses, which, under their normal conditions, would prefer to have little to do with humans—e.g., when Kevin Costner dropped by to see if Mustang Meadow Ranch would be suitable for filming part of Dances with Wolves, upsetting the horses in the process: "A few horses started pawing the ground. They began to vibrate like a hive of irritated bees, their heads now alert, their tails swishing….Within a minute, the herd was stampeding." There was an ugly finale to the project but not before Day brought to life the ranch and its wild array of flora and fauna. A fresh, occasionally biting report from the early days of a mustang sanctuary.
Library Journal
04/01/2014
Day grew up on a cattle ranch and already owned two estates when a friend approached him about buying a third property in South Dakota. Here the author tells the story of purchasing the large old spread and establishing the first sanctuary for wild horses that were considered "unadoptable" by the federal government—the untamed mustangs were previously warehoused by the Bureau of Land Management. Day persuaded the bureau to let him develop the refuge and tend to the horses. He even proposed using gentle methods to train the animals to be comfortable around humans. The goal of the author, who is open and honest in his dealings with friends, employees, and civic and government officials, is to make life better for the creatures in his care. The reader is introduced to Day's family, ranch staff, bureaucrats, and a variety of equine friends as they go through the ups and downs of managing a ranch and its 1,500 horses. Along with his sister, former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who contributes a foreword here, Day also coauthored Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest. VERDICT Day's well-written account features a modern cowboy who makes a difference for a herd of iconic primitive mustangs while never deviating from his values of kindness and honesty. This book will be of interest to horse lovers and anyone who has a fascination with the Wild West and ranch life.—Deborah Emerson, Central New York Lib. Resources Council, Syracuse

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803253353
Publisher:
UNP - Bison Books
Publication date:
03/01/2014
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
1,320,050
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Alan Day was the owner of Mustang Meadows Ranch near St. Francis, South Dakota; Rex Ranch near Whitman, Nebraska; and Lazy B Ranch in southern Arizona. With his sister, Sandra Day O’Connor, he coauthored Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest. Lynn Wiese Sneyd is a published author and owner of LWS Literary Services. Sandra Day O’Connor served on the U. S. Supreme Court from 1981 to 2005.

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The Horse Lover: A Cowboy's Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
H. Alan Day’s writing ability is the essence of heart, soul and voice and the notion is eloquently delivered in his memoir: The Horse Lover. His sister, Sandra Day O’Connor, contributed a Forward that speaks volumes toward the pride and respect she has for her brother. In the pristine and wide openness of South Dakota, the scene is set. Alan Day is no stranger to the range and cattle driving; as well he shouldn’t be. He owns two ranches. When the planets align (as they often do for those of us who pay attention), imagine Mr. Day’s surprise when he realizes his next calling in life will be that of taking on the care and consideration of 1,500 head of mustangs in the wild. To quote Mr. Day: “Without the South Dakota ranch, the wild horses and I would never have gotten to know each other. That much is certain. The ranch found me in the early summer of 1988, before a single wild horse stepped into my peripheral vision...” There is no stall in this story and the voice of a seasoned story teller rises to its surface within the first few pages. Mr. Day walks alongside the reader and imparts the journey, complications, losses, frustrations and sheer magnitude of caring for these majestic, yet quite wild horses—horses that had no intentions nor affinity toward domestication, but animals just the same who could use some ‘tlc.’ Indeed, this is not a tale of coincidental happenstance. Rather, it is a heart-felt delivery of one man’s conviction and commitment to care and engage in a program that has since become convoluted, yet widely recognized in part due to the efforts of one particular rancher: Alan Day. There is something very tangible that happens to me when I get to read a genuinely well-written story. I learn how to become a better writer. I had never heard of H. Alan Day, the writer. In all honesty, when I saw the forward had been written by Sandra Day O’Connor and the title had ‘horse’ in it; these were the two factors that piqued my interest...initially. The further into this memoir I journeyed, the more I recognized Alan Day’s sound writing ability. He has the gift of voice—a voice that is quite audible. Day’s selection of language may be basic, but it is believable and relatable. Passage upon passage pops simply by how the words have been arranged across the pages. There were many parts in this story when I felt I was in the moment with Mr. Day—be it during the transport of the endless procession of mustangs single-filing their way through the vaccination process or the unbridled freedom resonating from the sound of the pounding and rolling thunder of thousands of hooves across the wide open prairie of South Dakota. Mr. Day ignites feeling from the reader because he shares what he lived simply by conjuring up the exact placement for each word whose sole purpose was to carry its meaning and intent to its captive reader to interpret. As heart-wrenching as the outcome to the end of his tale was, he managed to end his story on a beautiful and brilliant high note: he tried, he ‘failed’ (hardly) and he’s a better person because of it. Bravo Mr. Day. I implore you to tell us another story! Not only have you arrived as a writer, but you have earned the right to add such credentials to your list of accomplishments. Quill says: The Horse Lover is a must read for anyone who has stepped out of his or her comfort zone and saw the task through to its very end no matter the outcome—truly a beautiful read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this world where we have denigrated "animal" to that which we can control, eat, tame for companionship, or fatten for the least expense on the smallest footprint, Alan Day and Lynn Wiese Sneyd have written a story about a man who loves mustangs just as they are; wild and unbroken. His heart, skill, intelligence, ingenuity and instinct is a paean to open spaces, wind-in-your-face Mother Nature, complete with horse whinnys and snorts, the thundering hooves of a thousand wild mustangs, the smell of horse sweat, while riding your steed in wet pants and chaps. It is a glorious excursion into a world I thought had ceased to exist.