Monte Michener is a Colorado based artist who has been creating incredible driftwood sculptures of horses for years.
Michener grew up on a farm in Minnesota where there were always horses around. He began riding ponies at age five, and by age 10 he had worked his way up to riding full size horses.
“In my early teens, dad started buying ex racehorses off the track. I would train them and turn them into pleasure horses, and if they had potential, dressage and Hunter/jumpers,” Michener said. “Many would get resold, but I kept a few that I showed for the next few years in our local English riding club. I spent most of my teenage years riding and showing Thoroughbreds.”
When Michener went away to college at the University of Minnesota, he had little time to ride horses. One day, he stumbled on the work of equine sculptor Deborah Butterfield.
“I was so captivated by the simplicity, elegance and presence of her work,” Michener told us. “I told myself, one day, I’m going to try to sculpt my own version of Equus.”
Twenty-five years later, Michener moved to Colorado where he was a massage therapist, real estate renovator/investor, and painting contractor. In 2012, he revisited his early dream of sculpting by gathering driftwood from the shores of a nearby lake and began his first piece.
“When I’m creating, I try not to have a agenda, leaving room for something to happen spontaneously. I have a large variety of wood around me as I work. Once I get a piece up on legs, it often feels like that new born foal standing for the first time, declaring who they may be in this world. I try to listen to that energy, flowing with it intuitively.”
Since the wood that he uses is so varied in shape, Michener is able to capture the anatomy of the horse.
“The individual pieces of wood tell a story and then collectively become a horse, telling another story. I’m so excited about this process, enjoying all aspects, from start to finish”
Michener’s horse sculptures are currently on display at his local spa/vacation rental business in Estes Park, Colorado. You can view his work and purchase some for yourself on his website equuscreations.net.