trueCOWBOYmagazine Sept/Oct 2014 - Page 64

iVIEW with Gina McKnight and H. Alan Day H. Alan Day is the coauthor of The Horse Lover: A Cowboy’s Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs. In this heartfelt memoir, Day tells how he purchased Mustang Meadows Ranch, near St. Francis, South Dakota, with the idea of turning its 35,000 acres into a sanctuary to preserve and protect the mustangs being warehoused by the United States government. He successfully lobbied Congress, and Mustang Meadows Ranch became the first government-sponsored wild horse sanctuary in the United States. He then relates his personal relationship with fifteen hundred wild mustangs and his adventures at Mustang Meadows Ranch, which included the dangers, frustrations, joys, and heartbreak of balancing the bureaucratic requirements of the United States Bureau of Land Management with the needs of America’s wild horses. Gina McKnight: When was your first encounter with a horse? H.Alan Day: I’m sure I was on a horse in front of my dad or one of our cowboys before I event turned one. But what I remember is being about three years old riding Chico. He was a little bay horse that had been captured out o f a wild horse group near the ranch. He was the best child’s horse I’ve ever seen and was completely patient and knew how fast or slow to go. If the rider fell off, he would stop and not move a muscle until the rider got back on. He was my babysitter and partner for many years. GMK: Tequila, Aunt Jemina, Saber: which is your favorite? HAD: Saber. He was super horse. Intelligent, muscular, strong, loving. That’s why I dedicated an entire chapter to him in my book.