The Horse Lover By H. Alan Day
Thank you to ALove4Horses for hosting me on this virtual book tour celebration for the ‘Horse Lover: A Cowboy’s Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs’. I look forward to interacting with your audience and welcome their comments or questions.
A little more than ten years ago, my sister, Sandra Day O’Connor, and I co-authored a memoir called Lazy B, about growing up on our family’s southwestern cattle ranch. If you look closely, you’ll see my name below Sandra’s; it has progressively grown smaller over the years. And rightly so.
Well, I figured if I wrote half a book, I could write an entire book. I had a story stuffed in my back pocket that I was eager to share with horse people as well as ranchers, animal lovers, and anyone interested in a good adventure tale. The story was about creating the first government-sponsored wild horse sanctuary and caring for 1500 wild mustangs over four years.
Yep, that’s what I did after purchasing a gorgeous South Dakota ranch. It was the third ranch I owned and needed it about as much as I needed a permanent migraine. But it lured me in with its sea of rippling prairie grass and the songs of meadowlarks and whistling winds. I already had plenty of cattle on the Arizona and Nebraska ranches and didn’t want to risk running more head. I was in a real quandary of what to do with those 35,000 acres of pristine prairie.
That’s when an opportunity dropped in my lap. A ran into a long-time cowboy named Dayton Hyde who told me about the plight of the wild horses. We ended up lobbying Congress and getting a bill passed that allowed us to work with the Bureau of Land Management and create what I called a retirement home for unadoptable wild horses. Dayton received 300 horses on his ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota and I received 1500 horses on Mustang Meadows Ranch in the Sand Hills of South Dakota. The one-eyed, the old, the scarred – those were the horses we received.
As you might guess, my crew of cowboys and I had quite the adventures managing the wild horses and working with the government. My memory bank is loaded with glorious moments. Like galloping across the prairie, 1200 horses in tow, the closest eight feet behind me. Wonder if my “whoops” still hang in the air. Other memories carry frustration and even sadness, but never regret. Because the best years of my forty-plus years of ranching and cowboying occurred on that special piece of land in the middle of our country caring for the animals that most define freedom.
So I invite you to read The Horse Lover: A Cowboy’s Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs, a story about these amazing animals and the adventure one man had with them. I don’t think it’s a spoiler alert to tell you that the American Dream is alive and well.
Happy trails and happy reading.
H. Alan Day
Alan Day’s upbringing branded him a cowboy from the day he was born. He 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. In the 1980’s, Alan purchased a cattle ranch in Nebraska and soon after, a ranch in South Dakota. The latter became the first government-sponsored sanctuary for unadoptable wild horses. He developed and successfully used a herd modification-training program for his 2000 head of cattle and 1500 wild mustangs.
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. Alan is a member of Western Writers of America. Now retired, he divides his time between Tucson and Pinetop, AZ.