The Horse Lover: A Cowboy's Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs (Paperback)
Southwest Book of the Year
Will Rogers Medallion Award Winner
New Mexico–Arizona Book Award for Best Memoir
Arizona Author’s Association Literary Award for Best Memoir
He already owned and managed two ranches and needed a third about as much as he needed a permanent migraine: that’s what H. Alan Day said every time his friend pestered him about an old ranch in South Dakota. But in short order, he proudly owned thirty-five thousand 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.
"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
“With an astonishing ability for storytelling, Day has created a work that puts the reader on the ranch with him. . . . [This is] a wonderful account of a historical change that set a precedent for the care of wild horses in the United States. . . . Touching and occasionally heart-wrenching.”—Logan Young, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley
“A very readable account of the innovative steps [Day] took to create a haven for unadoptable horses, liberally punctuated with reminiscences of a cowboying life that allow Day’s love of he land and of the animals—and his fierce commitment to the stewardship of both—to shine with brilliance.”—Helene Woodhams, Southwest Books of the Year
“[The coauthors] have brought attention to some key issues facing the American West today. . . . [Day] describes a vanishing life where customs, manners, and behaviors permeate a rancher’s whole being and generate the strongest possible bond between people and the natural world. . . . This memoir provides valuable insight into the world of real ranching in the Southwest, the plight of America’s wild mustangs, and the need for improvement in the management of our public lands.”—Bob Sharp, Journal of Arizona History
"An easy and enjoyable read."—Bismark Tribune
“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
“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
“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
“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