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

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

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

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

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

When my brother, Alan, told me that he had agreed to keep fifteen hundred wild mustangs on his South Dakota ranch, I thought he had temporarily lost his common sense. It sounded like a very challenging task and a great deal harder than raising cattle, which he knew how to do very well. Indeed, Alan had been a cattle rancher all his adult life. But Alan was very enthusiastic about the mustang project and about seeing whether he and the mustangs could adjust to each other. Alan likes a challenge and the project was certainly that.

For more than four hundred years, wild mustangs have existed in the region that is now the western United States. They fared well before the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 reduced their habitat. But even in the last century there were many pockets of public land in the West where they could live free, breed, and multiply. But the pressures of the multiple-use policy of the Bureau of Land Management and the restricted uses of national forest and national park lands meant that many of the wild mustangs would be captured, sold, or destroyed. the wild horse and burro law dictated that the Bureau of Land Management was to capture many of them and care for them until they could be adopted. Sadly, many of them were not suitable for adoption. This opened the way for the project Alan undertook.

It is impossible to see a herd of wild horses running free without . . .

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