“Having been a guest at McGinnis Meadow Ranch since 2014, I knew long before I was able to be do it that I wanted to find a way to be an intern. Coming from Vancouver, BC, there’s very little influence of Buck’s horsemanship, and certainly no one that could teach me with the caliber, talent, and skill of Shayne, Des, Robbie and all of the other staff who have supported my horsemanship journey so far. I don’t have my own horses at home and I stopped riding with other trainers soon after I started coming to the ranch, which means that I go for long periods without any opportunity to practice. As a result, my progress is slower than it should be, and I’m often starting at square one with muscle memory when I come back, but all of those challenges are worth it to stay true to what I know is the only way to truly be honest and fair to the horses I feel so privileged to ride.
As an intern who was only able to spend 1 month in this role, I wanted to make sure I got the very most of out it. That meant no distractions, no visitors, and a 110% focus pretty much all day every day. Not only did have have the opportunity to ride 2-3 different horses per day, but I also got the chance to see the inner workings of the wranglers and the rest of the ranch. We were responsible for a myriad of tasks from maintaining the hospital, feeding and catching the horses, general barn maintenance, tacking horses, and supporting our guests in anything that they may need. As an intern, you will work hard, but you will also have the opportunity to get trained by Shayne, Des, and the team daily. I was able to put on average 6 hours of riding in per day.
If you want to get an unparalleled foundation for this style of horsemanship, there is no where else to go, or even consider. Aside for the sheer beauty of the location matched with a large herd of some of the most well-trained horses I have ever known, you will find a safe place to explore this style. It’s not easy, it requires focus, concentration, and a humble spirit, but it changed my life for the better and I know it will only continue to help be grow and improve, as long as I put in the work.”Brooke
“During my time backpacking in New Zealand in 2016, I visited one of Buck´s clinics for the first time. After 3 days of camping at the show grounds and being overwhelmed by this different style of riding, I decided to walk up to him and ask him where I could learn this kind of horsemanship. He immediately came up with one name – McGinnis Meadows. And so I applied for the internship program.
Half a year later I found myself working on this ranch in Montana. I felt like I had to start from scratch although I have been around horses since I was a kid. There were so many things that I heard for the first time and never even considered thinking about. This experience changed my whole perspective on horses and life in general.
This year in August I came back for another month. Shane had us do different exercises to get our horses balanced what reflected a lot in the horses´ expression. He also told us that it is important to ask for 10% more and measure if you got it – that was something I really struggled with. What amazes me is that the teachers at McGinnis Meadows are not only constantly working on improving their own horsemanship skills but also their teaching. With their help I had my best ride – galloping, stopping, doing cow turns and bringing my horse down to the trot and walk from the canter without touching the reins.One day we had a guest asking Shane how hard he had to think while riding? To show us what focus means, he had us calling out all the different adjustments we needed to make in order to do a certain movement. In the beginning it might have sounded silly talking to your own body but you would not believe the change in the riders and also their horses. I think I now understand what Buck meant when he said that people would be better off if they rode with 90% mental and 10% physical.
It is not only the horsemanship that made me come back but also the people. I enjoyed getting to know all the guests every week and I was happy to see some familiar faces. Doing chores with the other interns and wranglers turned into a lot of fun and it was nice to make some new friends.
McGinnis Meadows is a unique environment to work in, you could not ask for a better team, everybody is supportive and so passionate about what (s)he is doing. If you want a job that makes you fall into bed exhausted but completely satisfied – this is the place to be.
Thanks for this unforgettable experience!
Looking forward to riding with you again!”
“My internship at McGinnis Meadows has not only taught me the fundamentals of Buck Brannaman horsemanship, but also about life, and about myself. Back at home in Thunder Bay Ontario, I was searching for something more in my riding. I wanted a better understanding of where the horse is coming from, and to get handier in my groundwork as well as in the saddle. I couldn’t have found a better place to come as McGinnis Meadows. They give you the opportunity to be a part of a team where everyone is at different places on their journey of studying horsemanship, but we all share a common goal of one day riding with the fineness and refinement of a true horseman.
Having the chance here to ride every day with people that have worked their whole life to achieve fine horsemanship is such a privilege and an honour. Shayne, Roby, and Des always challenge you to be the best that you can be, and sometimes it even seems that they believe in us more than we believe in ourselves. There are days it feels like things are making sense and coming together, and then other times it feels like things all fall apart, but the beauty of it is that you always get to wake up in the morning with a fresh start. Because the horse only cares what you have to offer right now this second. They don’t care about yesterday, or even an hour ago. They only know how to live in the moment, and that’s just part of what makes working with them so incredible.
The study of horsemanship is a journey that will never end, but it’s one I consider myself lucky to be a part of. It’s so much more than just mechanics, it’s a way of life that gets you finding things within yourself you never knew existed. McGinnis Meadows has opened my eyes to what riding and horses are really all about, and my time here has taught me more than I could have hoped for. It is an experience I will take with me forever.”Sydney
“When I came to this internship I was looking for more horsemanship, learning how to ride outside and about stockmanship. This internship has shown me more than that. It has taught me responsibility and made me more humble. It has showed me that horses can be the best teachers in the world because they teach you how to ride correct, and show you what you are doing wrong. They are also the most forgiving teachers too and when you ride right they show you how much you and they can do.
During this internship I have learned more about the horse and riding outside than any other place. Here it teaches what you can achieve with a horse doing jobs on the ranch.
I really like how the teaching here in the summer is more outdoor riding orientated even though you ride in a large outdoor arena. I got to learn more about branding in the spring and how to set a loop on ground crew. Learning the lay of the land was very helpful with riding and figuring out where to go, how to get around and not where to go. The stockmanship I continually learned from spring to fall when I got the chance. Going out to the grazing allotment was helpful as well as weighing and moving cattle.
The winter horsemanship side is strictly learning how to ride and refine even more learning your seat, how to set your hands to keep them steady and learning how to use your legs and body correct. It is intense but what makes it very helpful is that Shayne wants everyone to succeed and become a better horseman for the horse and the person themselves. This has helped me significantly and has shown me patience.
This internship has made me a better person and I highly recommend it.
It has made me more knowledgeable and more situationally aware of how to ride a horse for my future career with them. I look forward to more of this journey of a lifetime and I hope you come here too.”
During my two month internship at McGinnis Meadows I worked side-by-side with some of the best horsemen and women around. I spent 6+ hours, five days a week, riding or working horses on the ground. My riding received a complete overhaul and I was forced out of my comfort zone in one way or another almost every single day. I improved my roping skills, learned to work with a tarp and flag, and ground worked and saddled colts.
As a result of my internship I look at horses in a completely different way. I used to be one of those people who would stereotype a horse. I would assume just because I could only get a horse to go slow that it was a “slow horse”. I even used to complain when I wouldn’t get along with a horse (I even did this when I was a guest!). I was amazed at what horses I had written-off as one thing or another could do once I actually learned how to ride them.
One of the unique things about the internship program at McGinnis is that you have a herd of 60+ guest horses from which to learn. As I learned how to ride in ways that fit each horse in my string I found myself seeing the best parts of absolutely every horse. Guests would be assigned their horses on Sundays and talk with us interns to get the scoop on who they were riding. Every time someone would ask about one of the horses I had ridden I would find myself talking at length about the great attributes of each horse. I also am confident I would go to bat for ANY of the horses on the ranch.
The things I learned during my internship have greatly translated to other parts of my life. During my interactions with guests I learned how to converse with all sorts of people. I have found I can apply my new knowledge about balance, feel, and timing to all sorts of tasks. Every task we as humans do requires feel – from playing an instrument to scooping manure. Most things we do based on feel are things we don’t even notice. How could we walk upstairs without looking at our feet for every stair if we didn’t have a feel for how high we needed to raise our foot? Perhaps this is why the best horseman look so effortless when they ride – because for them many of the things less experienced people struggle to feel require no more effort than walking up stairs.
One of my biggest hobbies outside horses is training and showing llamas. Every time I work with my llama I try and integrate what I’ve learned. From asking for no less than the best in manners to helping new owners get their inexperienced llamas handle-able and acclimated to new experiences and obstacles.
Recently, in a show in Colorado I heard the judge mention that my handling of the llama I was showing (who was a yearling with NO performance experience whatsoever) was excellent. The main reason for this, in my opinion, was my improved understanding of pressure and release and how to support the animal I was showing. Even then I gave credit for our successes to the llama. Just because we learn how to set our animals up for success, doesn’t mean the success is ours.
Of all the things I learned during my internship perhaps the most important is to not take myself too seriously. Riding is a journey. On this journey you will make mistakes, you will feel like giving up, and you will feel fear. But for every time you feel as if you could have done better, you will experience moments of prosperity, you will have success, and you will do something to make your horse better.Jessie
The year 2016 was all about exploring the world, following my dreams, experiencing new cultures and finding myself – McGinnis Meadows Ranch represented a major milestone within this development. There is no doubt about saying this stay influenced my life and the life I am going to live from now on. I am always looking out for people that inspire me and the people I met at McGinnis Meadows Ranch showed me that it is worth joining them on the journey of horsemanship.
AWARENESS, FOCUS, PATIENCE, FEEL, TIMING, CONSISTENCY – these were all skills that I needed to learn/absorb in order to be able to learn about horsemanship and to improve my skill set. All these things are also needed in life to be successful.
Being a student in Shane´s and Roby´s classes showed me that horsemanship is not only a science but a fine art and requires you to be absolutely present – mentally and physically – every step of the way and even before in order to prepare your horse for the next movement. I was always a person that enjoyed the ride and the possibility to daydream and still get from A to B without being aware of everything that was happening in the middle. This can be nice as long as you have a gentle horse that keeps you safe and you don´t expect a lot of it but once you start doing a job with the horse that requires it to be attentive and light to your aids it gets difficult. Becoming a horseman means total awareness of everything the horse does while you are with it whether if it is its expression, body position or movement.
When you start recognizing changes in these things and knowing how to influence them in the way you want to, you might find that thing that I think we all are craving for – softness. And there is no better drug to stay high on.
And once you tried it there is no way you don´t want to experience it again – and the journey begins…
I want to thank the people who opened my eyes and provided me with the knowledge to let me go with them on this journey even when I will not always have the chance to ask them for help as to the fact that I live in Germany and there are only a few people that are familiar with this style of working with horses but I was provided with enough skills and knowledge to pursue this dream and the confidence and motivation to research and learn by myself.
Cannot wait to ride with you again. Thank you for everything.Valerie
My name is Bree and was an intern from Australia for 3 months over the summer 2016.
I came here with little experience with horses, and no idea of this style of riding. The only thing I came with was a love for the horses, so my journey began at the very start.
I watched horses mimic me–my strengths, my weaknesses, my fears, my baggage and my personal struggles were real and something I never knew I had.
This internship for me changed my life in so many ways. Aside from the fact this style of horsemanship grows bonds, trust, respect and understanding between you and the horses, it shows you exactly who you are.
With the constant support, truths, and guidance from the whole crew at McGinnis, I found my way with the horse through a feel. When you learn to let go, listen and feel the horse, you start to communicate through silence, you both start to learn from each other and a team starts to form. I will never forget this FEELING nor the horses that became my teachers.
I cannot begin to explain what or how much I learnt, what I got out of this or how it has really changed my life, except for saying this…
This place is just magic, there is no place in the world you can get an experience like this. To learn from people as passionate about horses and the respect they deserve, a place more dedicated to doing right by them, nor will you ever get to learn more about who you are.Bree
I was an intern at McGinnis Meadows during the summer of 2016. This internship was a great opportunity for me to become a better horseman and change the way I think when handling horses. When I arrived at the beginning of the summer, I did not know anything about timing or getting a horse in balance and had a lot of bad habits to break. Now, however, I know and have gotten better at reaching a foot or leaving in proper flexion for the path I’m going to take. If you are serious about riding and want to get both you and your horse better and more together, then McGinnis Meadows is the place to come and learn.
In Buck’s documentary, he say’s that horsemanship relates to other aspects of life. I’m still not sure I understand all of what he was saying, but through my time at McGinnnis Meadows I have come to see how horsemanship can be related. There is timing and a feel in everything we do, and the better we are with our timing, the more successful we will be.
Possibly the biggest thing I got out of my internship is that horsemanship is a journey. I am constantly finding other aspects of life where this applies. It’s not about what level you are at or even the end goal, but the path taken and what you learn along the way. It’s about working through the ups and downs of life to become better. It doesn’t matter where you are now, but rather what you’re learning there to grow and move on to the next level.Chris
I was an intern at McGinnis Meadows for 3 months and had an incredible experience. I started with 3 strikes against me: I am a senior citizen, have health limitations, and very little experience with horses. And yet the staff were very willing to let me try and do as much as I could with much patience, accommodation and kindness on their part. I had many breakthroughs in each of the 3 areas of limitation and have a whole new outlook on life. To be honest, some things were truly miraculous for me….
I came away with a great foundation on which to build and improve my adventure into horsewomanship and learned many jewels to contemplate about life in general as well. Like ” Always get a soft feel between transitions”…..how do I create a ‘soft feel’ in my life in all my transitions? Can I be softer with myself and others? Another challenge was learning to sit properly with most of the weight in my feet…..so when the horse gets startled or loping I don’t go flying off…..how do I walk through life in a more grounded way so I don’t get ‘thrown’ by surprise stressors? Creating life and rhythm in the horse before you do anything else is instrumental in becoming punctual and particular in any other move…..so how do I go through life with more energy and rhythm instead of being jerky and out of step with life’s rhythms?
In my life I try to see everything as connected to the whole and do practices to become more aware on many levels of my being. I don’t think there is any separation between what we learn in horsemanship and how we treat ourselves and others and the earth. I found whole new levels of being unconscious and unaware of what my body was doing and what I thought it was doing…and whole new levels of frustration of what I thought I understood and what I could actually perform. I learned to accept that there is a unique process of how what we know in our head actually gets translated into our body experience….and to accept its timeline with patience and not try to impose my own will or control on it. Its a dance that needs to be respected with kindness and curiosity….
And lastly, I’d like to say a word about ‘peace’. There is a sign in the lodge by the door that says ‘Peace to all who enter here’. What happens with the human and horse when the dance and rhythm flow together creates more inner and outer peace. This ranch and its very unique mission in getting this philosophy of horseman/womanship into the world really contributes to ‘world peace’ in a very specialized and unique way….I hope you get to go there and experience it for yourself…Debra
From January to the beginning of April, I had the pleasure of being an intern at McGinnis Meadows. During the winter the focus here lies on horsemanship. 5 till 6 hours per day I could improve myself in doing groundwork and riding horses in a well-heated indoor arena. With their different styles of teaching Des, Eden, Roby and Shayne helped me to get a fundamental understanding of treating a horse like a horse should be treated and riding it in the tradition of Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt and Buck Brannaman.
Every day they created different learning situations, in which I could extend my horsemanship skills–for example riding through cones, with a tarp, roping a dummy or imagining working a cow. This kind of dry work forced me to focus on the art of riding, being soft and punctual and at the same time being for the horse and with the horse.
When I came to McGinnis I already knew a tiny bit about this kind of horsemanship but during my stay here a got a profound insight and the feeling how refined it can be to ride a horse. I also owe this insight and feeling to the almost 30 horses I was allowed to ride. Every one of them has its own character and history. In their uniqueness they taught me always something different, but in general I learned from them to be aware and sensitive of their way of communication and being. While I think of them every one of them makes me smile.
Last but not least I learned quite a bit about ranch life during wintertime. Sorting, grooming and saddling horses for the guests, doctoring horses, feeding them in the meadow from a bumpy truck & doing all the little every day chores became second nature to me. It gave me a perspective on how it is to work on a ranch. I can say that I loved it… even when it was chilly or muddy outside. I am grateful for this unique experience! Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and your life with me for this short while! I promise I will be back.Meike
My two months as an intern at McGinnis Meadows were a truly life-changing experience: spending all day with horses and horse-people offers priceless opportunities to gain knowledge, understanding and experience in the Buck Brannaman style of horsemanship.
The work is sometimes tough and the days are long on a ranch – but when working alongside the wranglers on horsemanship, cattle work and roping, the hours just fly by. You sure quit every day with a big smile on your face! The whole team at the ranch is just awesome and more than happy to teach you in all various aspects of ranch work: be it ground-work and riding, colt starting, cattle management, roping, shoeing, doctoring horses and cattle and much more. You can become part of a great team, get your own responsibilities and really learn what teamwork is all about. Besides being able to attend the classes on ground-work, horsemanship and cattle work, the opportunity to help the guests with their horsemanship elevates your own learning experience to a whole new level.
The internship at McGinnis has changed me and my work with horses forever – I cannot thank Shayne and his team enough for this outstanding opportunity and the great experience!Clarissa
I was an Intern at McGinnis Meadows for 2 months this summer. I worked alongside the Wranglers every day riding horses, working cattle and helping guests; it was by far my best summer yet. I learned how to improve my horsemanship, which in turn helped the horses I rode. I think just that alone has helped me progress immensely but one thing that has changed me for the better was learning how to help other people help horses. Being the introvert that I am, working with people all day, giving them pointers and actually talking to them has made me more confident in social environments than I ever was before.
In addition to all the riding and people I also learned how to work cows, check for injuries and herd cattle with beginner riders. I know all of this will assist me throughout the rest of my life and help me achieve my goal of becoming an Equine Sports Therapist. I would like to thank everyone at McGinnis for all their help and making the ranch feel like my home away from home.Mady