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2018 Rocky Mountain Horse Edition

Lander – Painter Matt Flint sees a connection between painting and ranching. 

“When we ask ranchers why they do what they do, part of it is tradition, but the other part is because they feel like it’s what they’re supposed to do. Most ranchers can’t imagine doing anything else,” Flint says. “When I found oil painting, it just made sense. There’s a struggle in art that I can equate back to ranching, and it’s as frustrating as it is rewarding.”

He continues, “Most people don’t understand what it takes to raise cattle or to get a calf to finish, and there is that same challenge with art. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that isn’t necessarily glamorous, but when I’m done, I have a product that speaks for all of the struggle and hard work.”

Flint says the solidarity found in both art and ranching are similar, and he enjoys capturing the images of the West – from horses to wildlife and more – in his work.

Respect for ag

“I have great respect for the tradition of small family farms and ranches,” says Flint. “It’s vital farms and ranches are alive in the West. Local food production and the connection to food production is important.”

Flint was raised on a small family farm outside of Kansas City, Mo., but he went to school in a large city.

“I had an interesting dichotomy of being brought up in the city and the country both,” he explains. “We had a big garden, raised hay, horses, cows, pigs, chickens and rabbits.” 

Flint was brought up living and working outside, and he says his parents always encouraged him to be creative.

Flint notes his art teacher in high school played an important role in influencing his career choice. 

“I had a fantastic art teacher in high school. I hadn’t thought about art as a career before, but she steered me that way,” he explains. “When I hit my senior year of high school, I knew I was going to be an artist.”

Moving to Wyoming

After college, Flint’s parents sold the family farm, and he lived in cities during his young adulthood, working in illustration for five years.

“When the suburbs started to creep in, the farm wasn’t the same, so my family sold it,” he explains. “I knew I wanted to live somewhere mountainous.” 

Growing up, he frequently spent time in Colorado and New Mexico. His wife’s sister lives in Jackson, and during graduate school, his good friend was from Casper. 

“Things began to line up to move to Wyoming,” Flint says. “Central Wyoming College had a teaching opening, so I came out to teach art. We fell in love with Lander, and I love teaching.”

“I’m a full-time painter and a full-time teacher,” he continues. “I’m at a point where I could just be a full-time painter, but I realized teaching is beneficial. It keeps me balanced, and I need the teaching aspect of my career, as well.” 

Style

Since he began, Flint has been drawn to two styles artwork – representational and abstraction. 

“In school, I knew I liked representational art, where people can recognize the subject and I can get as accurate as I can with the animals and people,” he explains. “At the same time, I really love abstraction. To me, abstraction represents something rough and raw around the edges.”

Flint works to combine representative and abstract art. 

“I find myself leaning towards more representation, and with the pieces I’m working on right now, the backgrounds tend to be more abstract,” he explains. 

Works of art

Flint paints using oil and mixed media. While oil tends to be the base of his work, he also uses ink, bees wax, water-based paints and even soil, marble dust or other components of nature to add texture.  

“I use soil that comes from the mountains, which connects each piece back to the land,” Flint says.

He also uses a variety of tools to produce his artwork, from brushes to trowels, putty knives and more.

Flint works on anywhere between 15 and 30 pieces at a time.

“Because they’re really textural and oil takes a while to dry, I work on each piece in stages,” he explains.

“As I start painting, I start by building the atmosphere, and it pops into my head what animal would be appropriate for the background,” he says. “Then, I look at my reference photos and start to build the animal in.”

The process, he says, isn’t clear-cut, and each painting changes continually.

“I put things into the painting, then take them out, change their size and adjust as I go,” Flint explains. “I like painting because it’s very fluid.”

At the end of each piece, Flint says, “The fluidity of my work gives it the feeling that the final piece is caught in a moment of change. They feel fluid and not like a snapshot.” 

Connections

A number of western galleries represent Flint, and his work can be found across the country. 

Flint notes he enjoys taking the summer months to connect with the area that he lives in, while also traveling to restock the galleries that represent him.

“I’m really tied to the Wind River Mountains, the Red Desert and the Wyoming landscape,” he says, noting that his connection to the land shows up in his work. “Ranchers are tied to their land, too.”

“From when I was a child, I knew the land was just more than something I dwelled upon,” Flint says. “I knew the land personally, and there was something special about that. I hope my respect for the land and respect for animals comes through in my art.”

Visit mattflint.com for more of Flint’s work.

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Rawlins – For Erica and Chuck Jaure, raising performance horses started as a challenge of finding a few nice mares to breed barrel and rope prospects, but jumping into the performance horse industry wasn’t as easy as that. 

“We bought some prospects through some sales and didn’t have very good luck,” says Erica Jaure. “They always had weird quirks or some history we had to figure out.”

“I thought, if we raised our own horses, we would know what happened to them and be able to control some of those variables through the training process,” she continues. 

Getting started 

At the time, while the couple was looking for brood mares to add to their program, Jaure says, “Chuck thought this area was also lacking a good stallion for both performance and ranch horses, so we decided to look for a quality stud, too.”

As they began to look for a stud, they spread the word to friends and family, and someone turned them on to a two-year-old prospect.

“I wanted something older, already proven and shown, maybe even with some babies on the ground,” Jaure explains. “But, as we looked at videos of this young horse, we were impressed with his size and bone. We liked his bloodline, too, and we thought we would take a chance.” 

In the worst-case scenario, Jaure says they could have gelded him and had a really nice horse. 

“That horse is Kick It In the Nic, also known as Snoopy,” she comments, noting the stallion is a major part of their program today. “Once we started, it all just evolved into our program today.”

Since then, the Jaure family has built a strong, successful line of performance and ranch horses, and they continue to raise top-quality horses with their children Truett, 11, and Tess, 8. 

Performance horses

The Jaures have been involved in roping and rodeo for many years, and they wanted to raise horses that they wanted to ride. 

“Chuck always roped, and I ran barrels and roped in high school and college,” Jaure explains. “We wanted to raise horses to ride, and multiple-use horses fit us best.”

With a goal of attending barrel futurities, Jaure also says, “We wanted good prospects that we didn’t have to pay a ridiculous amount of money for.”

Their children also share a passion for horses, and Jaure explains they seek to breed horses that accomplish multiple goals.

“We want to haul horses that can be used for several events at the rodeo, but they still go out to pasture and work for the ranch,” Jaure says. “We wanted to build something that was fast enough and agile with natural cow-sense but also had enough bone to stay sound.” 

“With those qualities, a horse can run barrels, be a head horse and still be a pleasure to use on the ranch,” she emphasizes.

Breeding program

Jaure explains their breeding program typically utilizes a breeding strategy that combines both ranch horse genetics with ability to run. 

“I like to find mares with older bloodlines, but we try to keep up current trends,” she says. “These horses aren’t just hobby or trail-riding horses. They like having a job – or two or three.”

They have two home-raised stallions on the ranch, which both produce high-quality offspring.

“Kick It In The Nic is very smart, quick footed and good boned,” Jaure says. “He produces horses with all-around potential. We have roped calves and competed in head, heel and reined cow horse events, as well as in barrels and poles.”

The foals from race mares have the run to compete but have a short back and natural gait and speed.

Their other stallion, THR Buggin Da Famous, has a pedigree for barrels. 

“By Dash Ta Fame and out of a daughter of Streakin Six, he has an easy going personality that he passes to his foals,” Jaure explains. “He also passes on the natural turn of Dash Ta Fame, with good size and substance.”

THR Buggin Da Famous’ oldest foals are just turning five this year, so Jaure says, “We have yet to know how well they will perform, but I haven’t found one yet that isn’t willing and athletic.”

Raising horses

Located in Rawlins, the Jaures find there are both benefits and challenges associated with raising horses.

Carbon County ranchers like the Jaures’ horses, and they perform well as ranch horses in the high desert, sagebrush country of Wyoming. 

“The babies learn on the mares how to travel through brush and up and down rocky hillsides,” Jaure explains. “They develop good bones and hooves from a young age.”

However, they don’t have any green fields and have to haul feed in, which can be a challenge.

“Breeding horses is hard,” she says. “I have a lot of heartaches and long days.” 

But at the end of the day, Jaure says, “Seeing or hearing about someone doing well on one of our horses makes it all worth it. Plus, I love riding these horses.”

Jaure notes she competes in futurities with a handful of her horses, and “holds her own.”

“I’m not out to win all the time,” she explains. “I want horses for the long-term.”

At the same time, seeing her children riding and succeeding on their home-raised horses provides a bright spot in her life.

“Truett and Tess are our future, and I really enjoy seeing them step on these horses and have success,” she says. 

Visit jaureperformancehorses.com for more information.

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Mitchell, Neb. – Dan Flower still remembers the first saddle he ever made working for one of the premier saddle makers in the U.S. A customer had requested two roughout saddles for prizes at a trophy roping on the edge of Phoenix, Ariz. Flower thought the designs were ugly. 

“I decided to pretty them up a bit by putting smooth leather on the horn, stirrups and billets. I fixed them up to look really pretty, but my boss, Mr. Porter, didn’t think so,” Flower recalls. “He told me when the customer puts in an order, I am supposed to make it exactly how they want it, no matter what my personal preferences are.”

“I ended up having to take the saddles I had just made apart and replace all the smooth leather with the roughout leather they requested. It was a hard lesson I have never forgotten,” he says.

Saddle company

Flower has come a long way since that first saddle. 

He and his wife Jo own and operate Nile Valley Saddlery in downtown Mitchell, Neb. Flower builds custom-made saddles that he ships all over the U.S. 

They sell a variety of custom-made leather goods like belts, guitar straps, saddle bags, gun holsters, rifle scabbards, custom knife sheaths and cell phone cases. They also carry a line of Twisted X shoes and boots. 

Nebraska start

Flower moved from Gering, Neb. to his current location in Mitchell, Neb. in 2016. The name Nile Valley Saddlery derived from history in the area. 

“Before there was irrigation in this area, it looked like a desert,” he explains. “Some businessmen were standing on top of the Scotts Bluff National Monument, and one commented that it looked like the Nile Valley when it was greening up. That stuck in this area.”

  “There are several businesses here with ‘Nile’ incorporated into their business name,” he says.

In fact, history is important to Flower, and wherever he has located a saddle making business, some aspect of history has been incorporated into what he names his business. 

He had Slick Rock Saddlery, which referred to a rocky area on the north side of the Grand Canyon, and Remuda Ranch Saddlery, which referred to one of the larger ranches where he set up shop at one time. 

Early beginnings

As one of six boys in his family, Flower took a liking to saddles and horses as a young boy. 

“We started riding at a young age, and then, we started showing horses,” he recalls. 

At the horse shows, Flower would notice all the different types of saddles the equestrians used. 

“It was at one of the shows that I actually saw a saddle made by Porter’s. Seeing it was what got me interested in making saddles,” he explains. 

Flower did some leather crafting as a teenager through 4-H and school, but when he was in his 20s and approached Bill Porter for a job making saddles, he initially turned him down. 

“Porter’s was the most renowned saddlery in the U.S.,” Flower says. “They wouldn’t hire me because I didn’t have enough experience, but he did send me up to Ralston to work with Hamp Brand, who used to work for the saddlery.”

“He taught me how to build saddles and do strap work. It was where I got my start,” he notes.

Moving up

After training, Flower became one of four saddlemakers at Porter Saddle Company, where he worked for the next five years. 

“When I decided to go out on my own, he actually recommended some of his customers to me,” Flower recalls. “That really meant a lot.”

From there, Flower opened a saddle and tack shop in Fort Collins, Colo. that he operated for nearly eight years. There, he built rodeo equipment like bronc saddles, bareback riggings and ranch and show saddles. 

He eventually developed his trademark saddle, which he calls the Ranch Hand. 

Custom design

These days, Flower custom makes saddles to order, using only the finest materials. 

“I buy my leather from Hermann Oak Leather in St. Louis, Mo., which is a premier tannery in the U.S. All my trees are wood covered with rawhide, and they come from Texas,” he explains. 

With 48 years of saddle making under his belt, Flower has learned more than a few tricks to the trade. 

“By building saddles and showing horses, I gained a lot of insight into building saddles that fit. As long as the customer stays with the same type of horse, the saddle I make for them should fit multiple horses,” he says.

Despite the role of the horse changing in the modern ranching world, Flower says some people still see a real need for the custom saddle maker. 

“Saddles need to be built properly using good leather. A saddle doesn’t have to be made from heavy leather for ranch work. It just needs to be durable,” he says. 

For more information, visit nilevalleysaddlery.com or find Nile Valley Saddlery on Facebook. Dan Flowers can be reached at 308-765-1020.

Gayle Smith is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Biosecurity starts by simply looking at procedures and management practices that can be done to limit exposure to disease, says Judy Marteniuk of Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“These practices can limit spread of disease-causing organisms from one animal to another or from one farm to another, as certain diseases can be extremely contagious,” Marteniuk says. 

Disease pathways

For disease to occur in an animal, three stages must be considered.

“First, we have our animal. We also have some type of infectious agent and the environment,” Marteniuk comments. “Without this triad, we won’t have disease.” 

For example, if the immune system is good and the animal is healthy, a much larger amount of infectious agent is necessary to cause disease. At the same time, if the environment is very stressful, whether as a result of weather or attendance at an event, smaller concentration of infectious agents are necessary because stress suppresses the immune system.

“It’s important we have our animals as healthy as we can to minimize exposure to infectious agents,” she explains. “Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about Mother Nature and the environment, for the most part.”

Diseases are spread by fomites, and one of the most common fomites for disease spread are people.

“We have our regular clothes and boots on when we go visit other facilities, which isn’t something we should do,” Marteniuk says. “We should change our footwear and clothes because organisms can live on our clothing.”

At the same time, if a disease outbreak occurs, it’s important for horse owners to remove their clothing to minimize risk to infect other animals or even people in the household for zoonotic diseases.

“Tack can also spread disease. We tend to share tack, brushes and other equipment, which can transmit disease from one group of animals to another,” Marteniuk comments. 

Water and feed are also possible sources on infection.

Whenever water pools or ponds on the ground, it can become contaminated with fecal matter, which increases disease potential.

“When we have grain, it should be stored in something rodent-proof,” she says, noting rodents are a big cause of disease. “When we buy bags of feed, make sure they are intact. Torn bags may be contaminated by rodents.” 

Prevention

To prevent disease, Marteniuk suggests starting with a current and robust vaccination program.

“The Core Five vaccines include eastern, western and West Nile Encephalitis, tetanus and rabies,” she says. “Even though these diseases are transmissible from horse to horse, they are transmissible through environmental agents, such an the soil and air. We should try and prevent our horses from contacting these infectious diseases.” 

Other vaccines that are not considered core vaccines may be necessary, particularly for horses that travel frequently. For example, flu, rhinovirus and Strangles may be a concern for horses that travel. 

In addition, when a new horse is introduced on a premises or a horse is returning from an equine event, Marteniuk says they should be quarantined, ideally.

“The equine industry makes true isolation and quarantine that would be practiced with other species much harder,” she explains. “Horses, by their nature of use, are constantly traveling and constantly being exposed to situations and disease.” 

“Biosecurity can be extremely challenging,” Marteniuk continues, “but if possible, it’s important to have a quarantine barn or a place to keep animals segregated from the main population for around 30 days.” 

To avoid disease outbreak, it is important to quarantine for longer that the incubation period, which is typically covered under a 30-day window.

New horses

“It’s also important to make sure new animals entering the farm are healthy,” she says, noting a veterinary exam, visual inspection and more are important. 

“We should make sure their vaccines are up-to-date on new horses, too,” Marteniuk adds. “Anything we can do to reduce potential infectious agents in a facility is really important.” 

Marteniuk continues that testing for contagious diseases, including equine infectious anemia tests, should also be used. 

At the same time, when new horses are brought on to a premises, it is also important to make sure resident horses are as healthy as possible so new horses aren’t more of a risk than is necessary. 

“The other thing we need to think about in terms of biosecurity is what other species are also on the farm,” Marteniuk says. “We don’t want species like rats or mice to contaminate grain, and cats and dogs going from pen to pen can also spread disease, as can birds.”

While some risks are inherent on the farm and the ranch, it is important for horse owners to be cognizant of challenges associated with other animals on the farm or ranch. 

Movement

“One of the hardest things for horse owners to control is when our horses travel because most of us don’t have isolation barns when they travel to separate populations,” Marteniuk explains. “We need to think about these aspects of how are we going to control disease and minimize the risk of disease.” 

One way to achieve a quasi-isolation is to group horses by their lifestyle. For example, broodmares should be kept separate from young horses, which should be kept separate from those horses that travel to equine events. 

“Young horses are like kindergarten kids,” she explains. “They are more susceptible to disease, and they should be kept away from other populations, particularly pregnant broodmares.” 

“If we have horses coming to our farm for a 4-H event, show or any other purpose, keeping those animals separate from the population on the farm or ranch can help to reduce disease spread, as well,” Marteniuk says. “We really need to try to keep those horses separate as much as we possibly can to improve our biosecurity and reduce the potential for disease.”

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Kaycee – Being a veterinarian isn’t for the faint of heart, but from the time Candice Carden was young, her career goal was to be a vet.  

Carden, who grew up on a ranch in Afton, said when she was 12, her father helped her request information from Colorado State University about what it would take to get into vet school. Years later, Carden received a bachelor’s degree in animal and veterinary science from the University of Wyoming and then graduated in 2005 from Colorado State University with a degree in veterinary medicine. 

Early start

The new vet accepted a job offer at a large equine hospital in Texas.

“The practice could hospitalize upwards of 150 horses, so it was a great place to get surgery, medicine and lameness experience,” she remembers.  

“After spending a couple of years at that clinic, I got married to a great man, K.C. Carden, and began my own mobile practice, working a lot at the racetracks in the area, as well as providing mobile veterinary services for folks with horses,” Carden says. “When our daughter was born in 2010, I really began to feel the pull to move back to Wyoming, so she could experience growing up here and we could be closer to family.”

The couple moved to Kaycee in 2011, purchasing the Powder River Veterinary Hosptial and Supply in Kaycee from Dr. Dwayne Christensen.   

She adds, “Dr. Christensen stayed involved with the practice, and we all very much appreciate his vast knowledge.”

Continuing to grow

Soon after moving to Kaycee, Carden’s husband found a place in Sheridan for his racehorses, so Carden started practicing in Sheridan, as well.  

“The practices in Kaycee and Sheridan have grown by leaps and bounds over the past six years, and they continue to grow,” she says. “I am so proud of what my team and I have accomplished.”

“So many people told me in the beginning that I would never be able to have the majority of my work be on horses, but the demand has definitely been there,” Carden continues. “I’m so grateful I had the knowledge base and experience to be able to offer high-quality equine medicine to this part of the state.”

A soon-to-be-completed, first-class facility in Sheridan offers a surgery room, indoor breeding facilities, spacious stalls and outdoor paddocks and runs. 

“The reproduction side of the practice has really put us on the map,” Carden explains. “We manage over 100 mares each year for breeding – including live cover, artificial insemination, embryo transfer; train stallions to collect semen off a breeding phantom; shipping and freezing semen for stallions; and foaling out mares.”

She notes that they also plan to have a board-certified surgeon on a regular basis to do joint arthroscopy, laparoscopy, joint arthrodesis, etc., which will make it convenient for area horse owners.”

She gives high praise to all of her employees, noting in the spring, long days are the norm. 

“Every one of my employees at both hospitals will stay at the clinic until all the work is done, and this time of year, we work 14-hour days regularly. Their dedication inspires me and keeps me going,” she says.

Veterinary work

Carden admits it’s difficult to narrow down the work she likes best because she enjoys everything about veterinary medicine.  

“It’s rewarding to get a bad laceration put back together – it’s instant gratification. Lameness work can be so frustrating, especially complex lameness where multiple limbs are involved, but there is no better feeling than being able to tell an owner where and why their horse is lame and make a treatment plan once we’ve figured it out,” she explains.  

Carden continues, “The reproduction side of the practice has grown so much over the past few years, and I really enjoy it. I love working on eyes, floating teeth, treating foals, doing acupuncture and even management of the practice.”

Advice

Carden advises horse owners to call earlier rather than later if they suspect a problem. 

“My top tier emergencies are colic, eye injuries, severe lacerations, especially those below the knee or hock, mares having trouble foaling, foals that are down and not eating and non-weight-bearing lameness,” she explains. “It is very helpful to know duration of the illness, previous history and treatments that a client has tried, if any, before calling us. If a client has an animal that is really sick or has a bad injury, we strongly recommend it comes to the hospital for treatment.”

New challenges

Carden explains another challenge was recently added to her life when she lost her husband to prostate cancer in February. 

“Along with everything else, the death of a spouse and best friend can do to a person, it’s made the work/life balance part of my job even more challenging. My seven-year-old daughter gets woken up and goes on every emergency call with me. It means she’s at the barn early in the morning until late at night,” Carden explains. “I’m glad she can see me work and accomplish hard things.”

She continues, “I hope one day we will both look back on this time and be proud of what we built and that we were able to survive and eventually thrive in the face of adversity and heartbreak. I have amazing friends and family members who have stepped up and are helping as much as they can.” 

“It’s a hard transition for me right now,” Carden comments. “I’m extremely blessed to have the support that I do, both personally and at work. It’s definitely taking a village right now, and my village rocks.”

Rebecca Colnar is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..