My first wild horse sighting came when a coworker and I, navigating a barely visible dirt road in our big Forest Service truck this summer, had just reached the crest of a ridge on our way to survey a remote wilderness area in eastern Nevada.

As I slowed down to admire the view, three black stallions bolted from a grove of pines barely 50 feet from us. Seconds later the horses were gone, leaving us to ponder their lives on the run and, later, to recount the thrill we had experienced.

I was lucky enough to see many more on the ranges of the Great Basin during my summer stint with the Forest Service. Well adapted to the basin’s wide open spaces, they would outrun our trucks and look back at us from afar, as if playing a game of tag in their natural playground.