My Rating ****
The Horse Lover: A Cowboy’s Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs by H. Alan Day with Lynn Wiese Sneyd is the memoir of Alan Day. This is a heart touching tale of Alan Day’s efforts to save the wild mustangs. Day’s personal life in this book reads like a novel with his emphasis on the story of mustangs and his relationships with these animals. In this beautifully woven tale, Dale immortalise his life-experiences by giving it the form of a story.
The story is about the mustangs captured by the US Government and adopted out. However, many of these (crippled, one-eyed, thin, shaggy and old) were unable to be adopted out. These unadoptable horses were being kept in holding pens where ‘long-term’ turns out to be forever (A lifelong horse prison). H. Alan Day comes up with the idea to take these unwanted, unloved horses and put them on good range where they can roam freely again. Most importantly, this ranch will become a place where these horses can be cared for. While this was an interesting idea, this kind of work was never done before. In addition, Alan Day had no experience in dealing with wild horses. However, he was a cattle rancher who had shared cowboying adventures of unbelievable kind. He believed that this plan could work if set up correctly. It appeared to him an opportunity to do something gigantic, something that had never been done before. This book tells us about Day’s efforts to achieve this gigantic feat.
The terrain authors tread is indeed challenging. The authors selected and organised the raw material available to them and transformed this material into a striking tale. The routine of ordinary life of horse ranching is transformed into a rich experience. The data is not presented in a photographic way; the exclusion of certain episodes from authors’ life makes the writing emphasising on certain other events. The very ordinary people are focused on in amazingly, extraordinary manner. Their minor aims and their small/petty machinations brilliantly come to life. This makes this book an interesting read.
The descriptions of wild mustangs and the ranch are believable. One can actually see and feel the mustangs running here and there in the ranch. One can even feel the thundering of the hooves of the running horses. The training scenes of horses are vivid and detailed. Additionally, the book has many events which not only touch your heart but also bring a lump in your throat. One such event is when Alan Day is asked to kill some of the horses by the Government. One can feel the emotional state of Alan when he had to do something like this. This was entirely against everything what Alan Day was trying to achieve in the ranch. One feels the love Alan has for all the horses that come into his life. Events like these tug at your heart and can even bring tears in your eyes. While the beginning of the book is slow, the story soon becomes fast paced and difficult to put down. The events describing Alan’s interactions with his horses throughout the book are beautifully portrayed. While the first chapter of the book lights up your heart, the climax of the book forces you to think hard.
This memoir is definitely a must read for all the horse lovers. Go for it if you are a horse lover.
(I received this book from the author through Bostick Communications in exchange of an honest review.)