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

Friday, September 12, 7 pm: 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, the author of THE HORSE LOVER: A COWBOY'S QUEST TO SAVE THE WILD MUSTANGS, said every time his realtor pestered him to take a look at an old ranch in South Dakota. Finally, Day’s relented and in short order, became the proud owner of that 35,000-acre “sea of grass.” But how to make the ranch profitable?

An unusual opportunity soon dropped in his lap. If he could wrangle the support of the Bureau of Land Management and get approval from Congress, he could establish the country’s first government-sponsored wild horse sanctuary. Day’s lobbying proved successful, and those pristine acres became Mustang Meadows Ranch, home to 1500 wild horses.

THE HORSE LOVER Day’s personal history of the sanctuary’s vast enterprise, with its surprises and pleasure, its plentiful frustrations and heartbreak. Day’s deep connection with the animals is readily apparent, as is his maverick philosophy of horse-whispering that he used to train all 1500 horses. Woven into the narrative are Day’s recollections of cowboying adventures astride some of his best horses, all of which taught him indispensable lessons about loyalty, perseverance, and hope.

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. 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. Now retired, Alan divides his time between Tucson and Pinetop, AZ.