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How Saving Wild Mustangs Became a Passion for Alan Day


Over the Labor Day weekend, the Federal Bureau of Land Management will find people in Wisconsin to adopt wild horses. These animals are among the more than 58,000 wild horses and burros the agency is charged with protecting.

The management of those horses has been a challenge for a long time. One solution, which was met with some success more than 20 years ago, was the establishment of a mustang sanctuary in the Midwest.

It was the work of Arizona rancher Alan Day. His story is featured in a book he co-wrote with Thiensville native Lynn Wiese Sneyd, called The Horse Lover: A Cowboy's Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs.

The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 banned the euthanization or slaughter of wild horses. Because of the act. horses were taken from the land they roamed and taken to corrals. The holding pens, most often filled with the elder horses who were not adopted, were not glamorous by any means. Before Day stepped in to help the Mustangs, their fate was usually bleak.

"They lived in this prison," Wiese Sneyd says. "It was not a happy situation."