He already owned and managed two ranches and needed a third about as much as he needed a permanent migraine. That’s what cattle rancher Alan Day said every time his friend pestered him about an old ranch in South Dakota. When he finally agreed to visit the ranch, he fell in love with the its lush prairie. But what to do with it’s 35,000 acres?
The opportunity soon dropped in his lap to establish a sanctuary for unadoptable wild horses 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: A Cowboy's Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs ($24.95) 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 onset, as is his maverick philosophy of horse-whispering that he used to train fifteen hundred wild horses. This memoir 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.
Alan Day was part of the third generation to grow up on the 200,000-acre Lazy B cattle ranch straddling the high deserts of southern Arizona and New Mexico. The ranching and cowboy lifestyle appealed to him so greatly that after graduating from the University of Arizona, he returned to manage Lazy B for the next 40 years. During his career, he received numerous awards for his dedicated stewardship of the land. Alan and his sister, Sandra Day O’Connor, co-authored the New York Times bestselling memoir, Lazy B, which chronicles the story of the Day family and growing up on a harsh yet beautiful southwestern ranch.
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.