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Unnerved or unconcerned. A rural neighborhood reacts to wild horses

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 7:01 PM PDT
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ANDREW LANE, SOUTH OF RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -People who have lived in this rural neighborhood between Steamboat and Pleasant Valley are used to seeing bands of wild horses in the hillsides above and are no longer surprised when they come down for a visit. This year, though, is a little different.

“Yes. They come down here because there’s no water,” says Bobby Peeks. “So they come down to the valley for the water and the food.”

“They’ve gotten worse,” says Addison Ramsdell. “There were a hundred of them down here the other day. Maybe more.”

Monday afternoon most had retreated to the hills. A lone young stallion showing the scars of a recent battle with bigger and stronger rivals lingered near an inviting ditch. Others mixed with apparently domestic horses in an adjacent corral. Both of its gates were wide open and that alone said something about the conflicting views of the relationship between this neighborhood and its equine visitors.

Ask around and you’ll hear stories of unnerving encounters

”I’ve heard from a couple of neighbors that the horses have pinned them against their fence, like my neighbor right here was pinned against their fence,” says McKenzie Sibley

And some say people are making things worse.

“You watch these people driving up and down this road,” says Peeks. “They speed by them and honk. They get between the stud and his mare and their babies and the stud will kick their car and they get pissed--sorry-=-they get upset, but it’s their fault.”

And there are stories of some people feeding them. All agree that’s a bad idea and against the law.

So, some are asking for some agency to do something. Others, like Dick Stoll, shrug at the whole matter

“I just leave them alone and they leave me alone.”

Stoll and his wife have lived here since 1973.

“My wife calls them her children. That will give you some kind of idea, he says with a. laugh.

It was no big surprise to come home the other day and find a stallion in his front yard, apparently jumping his fence, he guesses, after being chased by a vehicle.

“We just opened the gate out there and in the morning he was gone.”

Stoll, you’ve noticed, is pretty relaxed about all this.

“Just lock your gate and let them be?”

“Exactly.”

Wild Horse Connection--a local advocacy group--monitors the horses of the Virginia Range and can help resolve any issues. Here’s their 24 hour hot line: (775) 352-3944.

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