Nobody's Horses


Nobody's Horses

The Dramatic Rescue of the Wild Herd of White Sands

Don Höglund
Foreword by Tommie Turvey
With new afterwords by the author and Les Gililland

288 pages


September 2008


$18.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Descended from the greatest horses of the American West, the wild horses living on the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico were national treasures and living legends. But in 1994, after years of suffering through periodic droughts, food shortages, and all the dangers accompanying life on a military weapons–testing site, scores of horses suddenly died. And almost two thousand more were in such dire straits that they were unlikely to survive. Large-animal veterinarian Don Höglund was called in to organize and lead a team of dedicated cowboys, soldiers, and other professionals in removing the surviving horses and their offspring to safety.
Nobody’s Horses tells the dramatic story of these noble animals’ celebrated history, their defiant survival, and their incredible rescue. Amid the constant danger from unspent munitions on the ground and missile testing in the air, cowboys, Native Americans, and ranchers—all of whom cared deeply about the fate of the horses—clashed in a battle of wills. And, of course, there were the horses themselves—wild, extraordinarily powerful animals, not easily managed or moved, who would become known to their rescuers as fascinating, individual characters.
Filled with history and heroism, adventure and rivalry, and, ultimately, the alliances between horses and people, Nobody’s Horses will stir the emotions and imagination of horse lovers, humanitarians, and anyone who loves an uplifting tale of second chances.

Author Bio

Don Höglund is a doctor of veterinary medicine who has provided consultation and equine training services for the Pentagon, the Walt Disney Company, and many others. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


“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. . . . . 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.”—Publishers Weekly

"As fast and dramatic as a herd of wild horses, Höglund's book will sweep you up and carry you at a gallop to its bittersweet, compelling ending. Höglund is an American hero, and his knowledge and passion for horses shine off every page. If you love horses just a smidgeon as much as he does, once you start it you won't be able to put it down. What a joy."—Patricia B. McConnell, PhD, author of the national bestseller The Other End of the Leash, cohost of public radio's Calling All Pets, associate adjunct professor of zoology at University of Wisconsin-Madison

"This moving, first-hand account of Dr. Höglund's efforts to save the White Sands herd is a compelling must-read for anyone who loves wild horses or wild places."—Tom Groneberg, author of The Secret Life of Cowboys

“Without a doubt, Nobody’s Horses is the best read of the year. Wild horses are as natural to the West as the rivers that run through it. This is the true, chilling story of bureaucracy run amuck. The author, who also happens to be a veterinarian, takes matters into his own hands when wild horses are dying at White Sands in New Mexico. Dr. Höglund describes the uphill battle of rescue and survival of the wild horses with obvious passion and real insight. Somewhat bittersweet, yet very compelling.”—Linda Wommack, True West

"A worthwhile read for horse lovers and anyone who likes to root for the underdog—or, in this case, the underhorse." —Ashley M. Biggers, New Mexico Magazine

“This stunning book is one of the most remarkable rescue stories of all time. . . . This book is an absolute must. It chronicles the New West, where the symbols of the Old West have become a nuisance, the past forgotten until it is brought back to everyone’s attention. Fortunately there are still heroes to be found who care.”—American Quarter Horse Journal

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Outlaws Upon Outlaws
Chapter 2 - Standing Outside the Fire
Chapter 3 - Secrecy and Security
Chapter 4 - Little Road Block, Big Cottonwood Tree
Chapter 5 - Off to the Races
Chapter 6 - The Great Escape
Chapter 7 - Trust All Horses, But None Too Much
Chapter 8 - Liver-colored Survivor
Chapter 9 - Nowhere to Run
Chapter 10 - Nowhere to Hide
Chapter 11 - Rhodes Canyon Rescue
Chapter 12 - Little Midnight
Chapter 13 - The Royal Road
Chapter 14 - Oklahoma to the Rescue
Chapter 15 - The Stallions
Chapter 16 - A Wonderful Life with Horses
Afterword: Management of the Free-Roaming Horse
Afterword: Bittersweet Range

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