McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch
Working Cattle & Guest Ranch in Northwest Montana
Internships at McGinnis Meadows Cattle and Guest Ranch

Internship Opportunites



Achieving great balance with this colt

McGinnis Meadows has internships available for interested students and adults throughout the year. Internships provide successful applicants with hands on experience in all aspects of the Buck Brannaman style of horsemanship, cattle working, roping, large animal care and general ranch duties.

The Intern Program at MMGR is unique in that it is the ONLY program available which specifically teaches the Buck Brannaman/Ray Hunt style of horsemanship in a ranch setting, with real world experience. Interns will have the ability to see the progression of a horse in its learning from colt starting, up to the snaffle bit, hackamore, the two rein to straight up in the bridle. Interns will learn how we re-start horses that are troubled or spoiled and how we work through individual braces. Interns will ride different horses each day, since each horse provides a different feel for its rider. With 90 head of horses, there will be much to learn!

  • Loping in the meadow.

    Loping in the meadow.

  • Interns ground working colts

    Interns ground working colts.

  • Working on roping shots in the indoor

    Working on roping shots in the indoor.

  • Driving cattle to a new pasture

    Driving cattle to a new pasture.

  • Working on using legs better by riding with a neck rope only

    Working on using legs better by riding with a neck rope only.

  • Leading colts back to be turned out

    Leading colts back to be turned out.

  • There’s an art to throwing a saddle

    There’s an art to throwing a saddle!

  • Taking a break with the horses

    Taking a break with the horses.

  • Interns do a lot of teaching too

    Interns do a lot of teaching too!

  • Cattle work with class

    Cattle work with class!

  • Learning the finer aspects of trimming and shoeing

    Learning the finer aspects of trimming and shoeing.

  • Working the Cow

    Working the Cow.

Our program starts from the ground up as we find that it is necessary to prepare each horse to maximize our effectiveness in spending time with him.

Interns can expect to learn to become handy with a rope, flag and a tarp in their groundwork. They will become adept at maximizing their effectiveness in working with a horse on a lead rope, from the fence and in the round pen.

While horseback, the possibilities are dependent on the individual. A strong work ethic and perseverance without frustration is key. You can expect to learn how to ride horses through all transitions, pick up correct leads, leg yield, haunches in, turnarounds, flying lead changes and much, much more. Our ultimate goal is to accomplish our time on the horse using 90% mental effort and 10% physical effort.

Our learning is not limited to “dry” exercises, however. We believe that horse and rider cannot be complete in their horsemanship foundation if neither is able to successfully get around cattle and be handy with a rope. Interns will learn the subtleties of reading cattle, cutting, sorting and driving cattle with class, and roping cattle for the purpose of branding and doctoring. Interns will also learn to doctor cattle while on the ground (i.e. setting ropes, giving injections.)

Call 406-293-5000 or email us at for more specifics on our program, including cost.

Testimonials from Previous Interns

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.


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.


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.


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.


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"… 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… when the horse gets startled or loping I don’t go flying off… 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… 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…


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.


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!


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.

Top 50 Ranches
Top 50 Ranches

Top 50 Ranches
2013 Best Ranch
We use all Frecker Saddles
at McGinnis Meadows
We use all Frecker Saddles at McGinnis Meadows
Let them know we sent you!
Copyright 2007 - 2017 McGinnis Meadows Ranch, All Rights Reserved
Website Design by: NW Montana Web Designs