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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Nobody's Horses: The Dramatic Rescue of the Wild Herd of White Sands » User review

The heroic effort to save the wild horses of White Sands

  • Dec 2, 2008
Rating:
+4
Any number of adjectives come to mind when I begin to contemplate the rescue of these magnificent creatures.  Heroic, compassionate, courageous and dedicated only begin to describe the efforts of the team assembled by Don Hoglund and others.  "Nobody's Horses: The Dramatic Rescue of the Wild Herd of White Sands" tells the amazing and heartwarming story of the rescue of some 2000 wild horses from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in 1995.  It was a task wrought with danger from the get-go.  And the fact of the matter is that the effort was none too popular with the animal rights crowd in this country either.  But Don Hoglund knew better.  He and his associates understood that these animals simply had to be relocated or they would not make it.  The severe drought and lack of food at White Sands had made their long-term survival extremely problematic.  "Nobody's Horses" is a fascinating piece of American history. The tale told by Don Hogland, DVM is simply riveting!

On a scorching July day in 1994, White Sands wildlife biologist Patrick Morrow made a gruesome discovery.  Scores of wild horses were dead or dying near a watering hole on the range.  When the dust had settled, a total of 122 horses had died.  This was really the last straw.  Those in positions of responsibility who really cared about these animals were convinced that most of them would perish if left to fend for themselves in such inhospitable conditions.  An incredibly painful decision was made to move these horses off the land that they had occupied for centuries.  The work would be difficult and extremely dangerous.  It would require a team of intensely tough and dedicated individuals.  That team would be led by Don Hoglund.  Don was a respected veterinarian and a nationally recognized authority on the plight of wild horses.  It is clear that he was the right man for this job.

"Nobody's Horses" recalls in exquisite detail the rescue of nearly 2000 wild horses from the deserts of New Mexico.  In the course of this beautifully written book you will learn all about where these animals originally came from and how they had lived life on the range.  You will meet several members of the team assembled by Don Hoglund including Les Gililland whose ancesters had owned several ranches in the area now occupied by the White Sands Missile Range.  All of these folks were kicked off their land back in 1942 and given pennies on the dollar by the U.S. government for their land.  These folks were told this was to be a temporary arrangement to help support the war effort.  But these people never got to return to their homes nor did they get their livestock back and Les was still bitter.  Some of the horses that were to moved were direct descendants of the animals his grandfather and great grandfather had owned.  As someone who hails from the Northeast these issues were largely new to me and I found this entire story to be a real eye opener.  In "Nobody's Horses" you will get a glimpse at the planning for this monumental effort and experience the trials and tribulations of the actual move . You will also discover just what happened to these horses once they were rescued.  For the most part it was a very happy ending.  As I mentioned earlier, "Nobody's Horses:  The Dramatic Rescue of the Wild Herd of White Sands" is an extremely well written book that focuses on issues that I suspect most Americans know little or nothing about. A great read and a great way to expand your horizons!    Highly recommended!
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About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Wiki

Horse expert and veterinarian Höglund delivers a compelling and swiftly paced account of his efforts in 1994 to manage the capture and safe movement of nearly two thousand wild horses from New Mexico's White Sands Missile Base to an Oklahoma wild horse sanctuary. As a former intermediary between the New Mexico Correctional System and the U.S. Army in a program that uses White Sands animals to help inmates become horse trainers, Höglund was in a unique position to work on the eleven-month-long relocation project. He provides a fascinating look at the history of White Sands-"one of the most desolate, unforgiving stretches of desert in the United States," and the site of the first atomic bomb test in 1945-as well as of the thousands of wild horses that have lived there since it was the dominion of Comanche and Apache horsemen. His chronicle effectively shows how his efforts, along with a team of herders possessing "steeled nerves and the hand-eye coordination of an explosives expert" resulted in a successful mission "to save lives and relieve the horses' pain and suffering, not re-create an Old West roundup for the excitement and the spectacle"-though excitement and spectacle is exactly what they find, as will readers. B&W photographs throughout.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0743290887
ISBN-13: 978-0743290883
Author: Don Hoglund
Genre: Outdoors & Nature, Endangered Species
Date Published: September 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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