Horse sense

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

About 30 minutes into “Deserts,” the fourth episode of the 2016 BBC nature series Planet Earth II, a perennial Netflix re-watch favorite, the episode, which has been covering African lions, elephants and zebras, moves to North America. “It’s July in the deserts of Nevada in the Western United States—the hottest time of the year,” says narrator David Attenborough with his inimitable British accent, equally soothing and authoritative. And then there they are onscreen, emerging from the heat haze like a mirage: wild horses.

What follows is some amazing footage of Nevada mustangs, including an absolutely brutal battle between two stallions. The first time I watched this episode, I didn’t expect to see Nevada horses, and the effect was a bit like suddenly, unexpectedly seeing a family member show up in a supporting role of a movie or hearing a friend’s band on the radio.

I grew up in the Virginia Foothill neighborhood south of Reno, about halfway between Reno and Virginia City, in, as the name might lead you to expect, the foothills of the Virginia Range. We used to see the wild horses all the time. There was wild horse shit in the streets. Neighbors would complain about the horses eating their gardens.

So, seeing them up on the screen of an internationally televised show, discussed with the same breathy reverence as lions, tigers and bears—not to mentions penguins and lemurs—it was a real trip and a reminder that we share a neighborhood with some pretty amazing wildlife. Wild horses are rare and beautiful. And we’re committed to covering them early and often in this newspaper.

Jeri Davis’ cover story in this edition is one of my favorites we’ve done in a while, a nice balance of hard facts and personal experience. Be sure to read through to the end. And cherish those horses. They’re international celebrities.