The HIghline Blog

End of season, new beginnings!


October 19, 2019, Volume 14, Issue 40

Greetings everyone!

This week we had a mix of fantastic horsemanship combined with lots of cattle work. We had a small but very fun group with five returning guests and one first timer.

Calvary- Working on accuracy and precision! Lorie, Janice, David and Carolyn.

Michele came to us from the east coast and stated that she was a beginner rider. Well, she really dived into this horsemanship and she made so many improvements this week. Carolyn and David returned and continued to focus on improving their riding skills. Carolyn in particular, made great progress towards gaining confidence horseback.

Lorie and her sweet mare Tilly joined us again as well. Lorie has done a fabulous job with Tilly starting her several years ago. We always love to see their progress each time they return. Carol also joined us again after a visit last summer- she got to ride her fav, Chief again! Each of them were such good students, not to mention loads of fun!

Carol and Twizzle moving the boys

I was lucky enough to be able to teach several horsemanship classes this week, one of my favorite things to do here at MMR. I’ve learned so much from Shayne, Des and Roby about progressions and teaching effectively. It is really rewarding to help folks see the possibilities not only within themselves, but within the horses too.

We covered a lot of ground (in more ways than one!), and worked our way through lots of walk, trot, walk, stop transitions working from their seat, cow turns, backing, soft feel and balancing exercises. The highlight is always the Calvary exercise! Here you need to think on the fly while maintaining proper balance and position in horse and rider. Riding to music during this exercise is an added bonus!

Cattle + scenery. Can’t beat that!

You know for sure the seasons are changing when we are getting focused on sending off the cattle. Next Wednesday we will say goodbye, and in the meantime they are contentedly munching on lots of quality hay and mineral. Like the horses, they also provide us with many learning opportunities. Driving and sorting cattle at MMR is all about keeping stress on them to a minimum. It requires using your mind more than your physical strength’s. Knowing where to position your horse, how little pressure to put on the steers and when you need to step it up—without getting steers bothered. I’ve learned a lot this season and look forward to sharing this info with all of our future guests!

Kevin, Scott and Anna have been managing many of the ranch hand duties, delimbing the new pastures, getting vehicles winterized, and general maintenance. Willy has been working his magic with the excavator, scraping clean all the holding pens, and the driveway now has a new layer of dirt to smooth it out.

Another rainbow!

In a few weeks the herd will return to the winter pasture but for now they are still in the North piece eating all of the hay that was left uncut! There’s been so many colors this week, from trees to rainbows and sunsets and sunrises!

Our staff responsibilities all change a bit this time of year. It give us a chance to become more well rounded with ranch and general work. You can never have too many skill sets!

Michelle has been heading up our housekeeping this season and will be leaving us tomorrow. We are happy to report that she will return next season. It is wonderful to have her around and we are looking forward to seeing her back here. She intends to spend a lot of quality time with her family back in NY during her time at home. Ahna and Ash will be helping in housekeeping until we close in December, so be sure to thank them when you see them.

We’ll also be missing Des riding the next couple of weeks as she just had surgery yesterday and will need to take just a couple of weeks off of riding- nothing serious thankfully, but she will need to rest for bit. Knowing Des and how active she is, we suspect Shayne will have his hands full keeping her in check :-). We are looking forward to seeing her back in the saddle and send good thoughts her way to wish her a speedy recovery.

It won’t be long now before Anna Banana and Scott start pulling shoes off of the horses in preparation for the snow to come 🙂  (Yes, I am looking forward to xc skiing and if our winter guests want to bring some gear with them I am always up for teaching a lesson or two!) As you can imagine, life at the ranch this time of year seems to be just as busy as our peak summer season, and we love it!

Lastly, but not least- we wish Roby BEST of LUCK roping at the Pro-Am!

Full moon over meadow

We look forward to seeing those of you who have signed up for a winter session. If you haven’t yet, I highly encourage you to think about it. There is nothing else like it for digging deep into this style of horsemanship.

Happy trails,


Jasper! Such a handsome boy.

Wow! So much color this week!

The gang! Michele, Maddie, David, Carolyn, Lorie and Carol

Cattle and more cattle

4 Before 12

October 13, 2019, Volume 14, Issue 39

Well hello everyone,

What a week we have had here at the ranch! Productive? No doubt about it. Exhausting? Perhaps. Absolutely fantastic? You better believe it!

Amy and Scott

This week was chalked full of old friends with whom it is wonderful to reminisce and get to know better as well as new friends that offered such great variety and joy to our week. We got to welcome back Trent and Julie as well as Kathleen and Brian who are not strangers to the happenings on the ranch. In addition, Amy and Scott were able to stay for another week! All of these wonderful people are no longer guests but are considered members of our little family here at McGinnis Meadows.

Li, PC, and Mike

We also got to welcome a great group from China! They were delightful. And they did everything- a lot of horsemanship, cattle drives, trail rides, groundwork, and roping! While it is always challenging when there is a difference in language between groups of people, we all got along very well and had a great time. We are sincerely hoping that they will come back for another visit.

Mike moving steers across the meadow

This week was the last week of our fall gather as we tracked down and moved all of the steers back down the mountain and to the Belgarde pasture. At the top of the week we had 11 steers left on Davis Mountain. The week got off to a great start as seven steers were found on Monday and moved to the Belgarde. Only four lonely little fellas remained. Keep in mind that Davis Mountain is approximately 7000 acres so finding these boys could prove difficult. Our teams set out regardless with high hopes and expectations of success. We searched on Tuesday and found nothing. We searched on Wednesday and found nothing. Thursday was going to be our day! Kathleen came up with our mantra for the day “4 before 12” which meant we would find the four last steers before 12:00 because it was so bitterly cold that everyone was just a bit anxious to be back cozy in front of a fireplace. Well, on Thursday we found nothing. But we were yet determined! After setting out of Friday there was great rejoicing over the face of the mountain when Roby called over his radio that he had found the steers everyone was looking for. His call came through at 12:35. It was decided that we could still hold fast to our motto from the day before- even though it was technically 24 hours past its expiration date.

Sue and Sprocket

With the finale of this week comes the ending of many things here at McGinnis Meadows. Our fall gather is over as all of our steers are now off of the mountain. Our peak season is over as it gives way to fall and winter horsemanship. And finally, many of our people are moving away. This past week we have said goodbye to Alyssa, Emily, and Yaz. Tomorrow we are saying goodbye to Rachel and Michelle is leaving next week. However, for all of these lovely ladies there is a joy in knowing they will be returning in the spring. But for one very dear individual it is a bit of a longer farewell. Sue is moving away. She is going back to California to start a beautiful life with her husband, and, of course, she is taking her horse Rowdy with her.  To know Sue is to love her. She will be dearly missed by everyone back here at the ranch and as she is going away she takes with her the promise that she is always welcome back home.

Here comes the winter

With that, I will bring this highline to a close. Next week will bring many great lessons in horsemanship- we’re diving deeper into our horsemanship program as we head towards winter!

Happy trails,





Beautiful colors!

PC and Dandy

“Roping dummy” gets a whole new meaning when you start trying to rope one another

Anna and Scott hard at work



Gotta weigh ’em all!

October 5, 2019, Volume 14, Issue 38

Well Howdy Folks,

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Our fall gather has continued to be a great time of learning and growth.

At the top of this week we got a taste of the coming winter as the ranch was covered with a blanket of snow. Everywhere you looked was just completely covered with snow leaving the entire ranch looking clean and quiet.

The Mahaffey family in horsemanship

Starting on Monday, while the snow persisted, everyone huddled in Shayne’s newly built indoor arena for horsemanship. Everyone that rode this week improved exponentially through their time in the arena and then were able to apply their skill while riding out and moving cattle.

Curtis and Paco

Carl and Wayne stayed with us for another week and we got to welcome back our wonderful friends Amy, Scott, and Chad. In addition, we got to ride with some other great guests! Jack and Verena came from Tennessee and were the biggest help moving cattle. In addition, Curtis, Larry, Deb, and the Mahaffey family were all great! They learned so much and helped us to move so many steers. Finally, we cannot forget Barb and Diane; Barb knows Shayne from Buck clinics many years ago and brought Diane along with her for a visit to the ranch.

This week at Graze we continued to gather our herd of steers off of Davis mountain and bring them back to the ranch. We would gather them from Davis mountain and put them in the Elk Creek pasture overnight. The next day a group would bring them all the way from Elk Creek back to the ranch to be weighed and then brought to the Belgarde pasture where they are currently residing where they have plenty of tall grass to munch.

Wayne and Chief in the scale house weighing steers

Friday was the grand finale to our week. Here’s what happened: we weighed and reweighed all the steers. We all quickly learned that when Roby says, “Lets take ‘em all.” He means that we will be taking them all, weighing them all, and returning them all safely before the day is through. Long day! But of course, it was a good day 🙂

Verena moving cattle across the meadow

At the time we had 147 steers in the Belgarde pasture, 25 steers on their way back to the ranch from Elk Creek, and 6 head in a pasture behind Shayne’s arena. Everything needed to be weighed. First, we brought the six head from Shayne’s over to the scale and then scooted over to the Belgarde to bring in the bulk of the herd.  We brought them into the middle pasture in front of the lodge and would cut off groups of 20-30 head to be brought up to the scales at one time.  As one team brought the steers up to the scale, another team would be ready to take the freshly weighed steers back to their pasture. It was a huge production! But we did it all! It’s safe to say that everyone earned their dessert that night!

At this point we only have a few steers left on Davis Mountain. Only 18! The hunt will continue next week as we try to get those last stragglers back home. Hopefully they won’t be too much trouble to find- however, in a mountain pasture that covers approximately 7000 acres, there are quite a few places that they could hide! But that’s just what makes it all the more rewarding when we find them.

Carl and Anna C. after a good day on Davis mountain

Well, I suppose that’s all I’ve got for this week. Hope everyone has a safe and happy start to their October!

Happy trails,





Riding off into the sunset

Verena and Brumby

Barb, Diane, and Carl enjoying the snow

Jack and Bob

Staying warm in the indoor arena and getting ready for a trotting exercise

Max and Chief

Clay on Dually, Terri on Roanie, and Curtis on Paco at the lookout

Boone <3

Sorting, Weighing, and Snow!


TJ and Amigo in the pasture

September 28, 2019, Volume 14, Issue 37

Well Howdy,

Another week at McGinnis Meadows in the books. A good week. A productive week. And a fun one to boot.

Loose horses! But its okay, they’re headed out to their pasture 🙂

This time around we continued to gather our herd of steers off of Davis Mountain and take them to the Belgarde pasture. For those of you that have not yet had the experience of driving cattle across our many mountains and pastures there is really nothing like it; exciting when you think of how far you’ve come with the steers and how far there is to go. A little bit of pressure is taken off with every piece of land you get through successfully. It is also admittedly frustrating at times when the steers start to stray from the path they’re meant to take. But goodness, what a rewarding experience to have moved so many steers so far at the end of the day.

Angelo on Catman and Laura on Mighty

Perhaps one of the best feelings at the end of the day, as well, is to come in to find a delicious hot meal prepared and waiting for you to enjoy. We are so blessed to have a great and conscientious kitchen staff that pour themselves into making each meal wonderful.

This week we got to welcome back a number of friends as well as some new faces. The Greenwoods and the Mackeys found their way back here for some cattle fun. Arnold came back, too, and brought along his wife Sabrina and friends Evan and Jessica. And then we got to see such wonderful friends as Wayne, Bob, Carl, and Ray. First time guests, Angelo and Laura came all the way from Italy to ride with us- the two of them as well as Ray spent the week in horsemanship with Shayne and Des and did absolutely wonderfully! Their dedication is truly appreciated and we hope they come back soon!

Ray on his colt Dusty

To be honest, the week went by far too quickly! On Friday a group of us went out to sort the cattle that we had holding in the Belgarde pasture. Roby went out there and led the charge. Sue and I both were armed with sheets of paper that listed the ear tag numbers of all the steers that we had already weighed. The goal of the morning was to gather out a sample for reweighing and then to gather out a specific 19 head that had yet to be weighed. It was a lot of fun! Especially with Roby there to show us the ropes. And once we got those steers we took them straight to the scales- some of those hefty boys clocked in close to 1000 pounds!

For a word of horsemanship wisdom, please enjoy some words from Des:

“Last year I started Buzz and Chupa, two of Shayne’s personal horses and the last pure colts on the ranch.  I prepared them to the max, and Shayne and I had a goal that neither horse would ever see trouble from horseback.  The colt starting then, as you can imagine, would have been pretty boring to watch 😉

Roby on Leroy

As things go, I got super busy and after last fall I was not able to ride them again until this month.  I wondered how much of their short education from a year ago would carry.  The short answer is, all of it!

It’s been such a pleasure the past couple of weeks to get on these horses and pick up where I left off last year.  Both of them are very different, but so much fun.  This week, I was able to get both Buzz and Chupa on the cutting machine for the first time, and I was able to ride out on Buzz to gather cattle and he worked his first steers!  He LOVES cattle…or he just loves to push them around!

Roby has also been able to start camping on some youngsters.  He started a colt named Monty last year, and another named Leroy.  Both of them also picked up right where they left off and Leroy is nearly ready to start heading out to graze!”

Well folks, that’s all we’ve got for now. The week has come to an end and the snow has started to fall. Coming from a girl who has longed for a true winter for the past 10 years living in southern Virginia, it is a great excitement. Although it may not stay long, this brief winter wonderland is a glimpse into what the coming seasons
could bring- and it is beautiful.

TJ, Nancy, Lisa, and Travis on Davis Mountain

Happy trails,






Lisa moving steers across the meadow

Evan, Arnold, and Sabrina at the lookout

Our portrait worthy view

Cahill <3

Can’t beat that view!

Fall gather is in full swing!


Fancy and Pecos

Hello friends,

Mid-way through September, we are really getting into the swing of our fall gather! Slowly but surely we are moving groups of steers from Davis mountain to Elk Creek Pasture, and then on home to the Belgarde pasture. It’s a long drive- but so much fun!

We even had the opportunity this week to weigh a number of the steers to get an idea of how much they have gained over the course of the summer season. One of our heftiest of steers clocked in at close to 1,050 pounds! All of the guests really enjoyed getting the chance to practice their sorting as we cut off groups of five steers at a time to be taken to the scale. Once in the scale corral, one at a time the steers had to be sorted off to be weighed. So. Much. Fun.

Julia, Dottie, Laurie, and Karen

So many familiar and dear friends have come back to ride with us this week- Karen, Laurie, and Dottie come every year to help gather our steers. This year, Dottie brought along Julia who has proved a great help moving cattle. She also has a natural skill for the cutting machine. Kim and Neville Yates brought their personal horses to join in the festivities. They specifically asked to be challenged on their rides- so we made them ride with Scott. Just kidding! Scott is a great teacher and they had an absolutely wonderful time riding with him up and down Davis Mountain moving steers.

The perfect day!

This week was also particularly fun because many of our guests came together as a large group! Coming from various corners of the world, from Texas to the Netherlands, this group of friends has made our week so much brighter with their laughter and jokes.

The weather is quickly cooling off around here and starting to feel like autumn. I could not be more excited! Loving every moment is an understatement. And it will only get better from here! Before closing this edition of the Highline, enjoy this quote from the beloved neighbor, Mr. Rogers:

“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”

What a great group we had this week!

Although this may seem like an obvious statement, it is important for us all to remember as we transition out of the summer and into the earlier nights and colder mornings of fall time and winter. This is not only a change, but an opportunity. I know I can speak for the rest of the McGinnis Meadows staff that we will continue to strive forward in our horsemanship and our work. We hope the same for you! And if you’re interested in coming our for our fall or winter horsemanship programs, please do not hesitate to reach out to us- we would be delighted to share this season with you at McGinnis Meadows.

Well, friends, that’s all for now.

Happy trails,


Moving steers through Elk Creek

Quite the busy watering hole!

Pileated woodpecker seen in Shayne’s yard

Catharine pushing steers down the road


Winter prep projects!

September 14, 2019, Volume 14, Issue 35

Hey Everyone,

We have been very busy this week! As part of this ‘off week’ we have had the chance to catch up on a lot of projects around the ranch!

Kevin hard at work

One of the major projects to be completed is cutting wood! Many of our staff cabins around the ranch have wood burning furnaces; in order for us to stay warm and cozy all winter long, time must be taken now to chop up all of the wood that we will need come the long winter months. Kevin, Anna, Scott, and Rachel have all been working hard to get the wood all cut and stacked around the cabins. Their work is very much appreciated.

In regard to other winter preparations, Ash, Alyssa, and I have all been helping Brenda prepare the gardens for the coming cold. We have been pruning down a lot of plants that have lost their summer luster and color so that they do not freeze. Also, we have spread a palate of mulch to help insulate the ground and add a clean finish to the garden. The upkeep of this beautiful place is a labor of love.

Obstacle course!

Perhaps our most interested project this week? An obstacle course! Roby has designed an obstacle course in one of our outdoor pens where horses can come in contact with large tires, moving objects, ground tarps, and oversized soccer balls! It is going to be something really cool when it’s all completed. I was told a teeter-totter might also be added to what is quickly becoming our mini McGinnis circus ring. I can only imagine how confident and brave the horses that are able to work through all of those obstacles are going to become! Kevin has been helping to construct the course quite a bit and even took Kate, his dog, through the course! She approves

Well, its time for another highline highlight! Our staff are some very special people and deserve a bit of recognition once in a while. Our highlighted staff member this week is: Alyssa! She is a part-time intern and part-time server as a member of our kitchen crew.  Her riding has improved exponentially since she got here and even when she’s not riding she is game to be a big help to others. For example, she was unable to ride for a couple of days this week because of a minor injury so instead has volunteered to help us in the garden as we prepare for winter! What a gal. We’re grateful for her 🙂

The best sight in the world

That’s all for now, folks. Next week we’ll be back to our usual rough-riding routine with plenty of guests to join in the festivities!

Happy trails,




No place like home

There might be a bit of a size difference

Misty morning ponies

September kick-off!

September 7, 2019, Volume 14, Issue 34

Quick and Dude out at Graze

Hey there,

We had a great September kick-off this week! We practiced horsemanship, we moved cattle, and as a grand finale we had live music on Friday night! To join us in the fun McGinnis Meadows had the pleasure of welcoming back many old and dear friends. Pat and Phil from the UK were here and delightful as ever. Pat rode out to Graze everyday to adventure and look for cattle while Phil travelled around with Kevin.

David and Chief moving steers

We also had Sharon and David as well as France and Gill who all trailered out with us to Graze to explore the vast country and check on as many steers as possible. It was wonderful to have them back and get to know them better. We also had a dedicated horsemanship crowd this week: Anne-Catherine, Joy and Susanne all were able to ride with Shayne in his newly built indoor arena. When the weather was too hot or rainy they had the luxury of a controlled environment to best focus on their riding. In the arena Shayne continued to teach them about their timing and balance as everyone working on their posture in short serpentines and their straightness as they later moved their horses out around the arena.

New intern alert! Welcome to McGinnis Meadows, Maddie! She’s already learning so much in horsemanship and will be with us for three months. Sadly, we do have to say goodbye to Flora this week; she’s been with us for the month of August as Des’ apprentice and has proved to be a great help around the ranch.

Phil and Kevin with the picnic they brought to the mountain

As part of our great week we had a wonderful picnic on top of Davis Mountain! In the morning all of the riders and wranglers saddled up and trailered out and started riding up- up to the top of the mountain where you can look out over the east side of the valley towards Thompson Lakes and out over the west side towards the Cabinets. When everyone met at the top, Kevin and Phil were there with a great picnic spread complete with cheese, fruits, and wine. Following lunch we all took a group photo to commemorate the day. It was delightful.

Dinos dancing to the music!

To wrap up the week we got to welcome back to the ranch Dave Blackburn’s band who never fail to give us an enchanting evening with their lively music. Everyone went to the tent after dinner to participate in the festivities and mirth that arise whenever a fiddle and banjo start playing together. As the music was starting we pulled out the dinosaur suits for a round of dancing and races. Yes. We know it may be silly 🙂 But its so much fun to see our wranglers and interns inside these giant inflatable suits! Everyone inside the suits had a great time too- what started as a race among the dinosaurs quickly turned into a game of chasing Des around the meadow! And, soon enough, the ropes were pulled out and everyone not dressed as a dinosaur was trying to rope the dinosaurs. No such thing as a boring day around McGinnis Meadows!

Racing in the meadow!

Thanks to everyone that was here for helping to make it a memorable week! Hopefully we’ll be able to see them again soon.

Happy trails,



Group shot at the top of Davis Mountain

Cahill wanted to join in on the picnic 🙂

Gill on Brumby and France on Catman out at Moose Pond

The view that never gets old

Pat and David on the way back from a great afternoon

Our steers are looking great

She’ll be coming ’round the mountain…

August 31, 2019, Volume 14, Issue 33

Howdy folks,

Hope you all have had a great week!

Brumby overlooking Graze

Once in a while around here we have a week that is different from our peak season- during this time the staff is all charged
to complete their various projects around the ranch. Although we usually all find ourselves just as busy during the ‘off’ weeks, it is a nice change of pace and a great opportunity to get some good work done.

At the beginning of this week many of the wranglers were sent out to Graze to learn the country! It was a blast!! Anna drove out Brenda, Janice, Ash, and Anna (other Anna- that’s me 🙂 ) and when we got there all five of us hopped on our horses, grabbed our map and set off in different directions. We explored as far as we could finding mineral tubs, water tanks, gates, and trails. The more we rode out the more comfortable we all became with the terrain- knowing where it would be best to bring steers and guests. There is so much freedom in having the opportunity for individual exploration – to ride out alone, to get a little bit lost, to navigate your way back home again. There is nothing better.

Misty meadows

As Labor Day approaches, everyone here at McGinnis Meadows would like to express our gratitude. Living on a working cattle and horse ranch, we have an idea of what it is to work and are, therefore, very appreciative of the effort and sacrifices made by others before us. Since 1894, we as a nation have celebrated Labor Day to remember the day-to-day toil and struggle of individuals and families as they fought for their livelihoods and existence. Although for many today it usually means that summer is coming to a close, for us it allows us to get excited for what the fall will bring- horsemanship, cattle drives, changing weather and vibrant colors. Labor Day is a great opportunity to be thankful for the lives we are able to lead and look forward to the adventures to come.

Jenny and Quick out at Graze

Before bringing this Highline to a close, we need to give a shout-out to a couple of members of our staff! #1: The beautiful, vibrant, and wonderful Emily. Emily is a working intern here at McGinnis Meadows and during this week has taken on the challenge of making dinners for everyone every night. Boy has she fed us well! From chipotle night to Chinese food and even breakfast for dinner! Not a single person leaves with an ounce of room in their stomach. Another person that deserves a bit of recognition: #2: Jenny! Jenny has been an intern here at the ranch for about a month and has been helping Brenda with all of her doctoring responsibilities. While talking with Brenda it is evident what an asset Jenny has been to her the past weeks- she is always reliable, hard-working, and enthusiastic. For our third and final shout-out: Janice. Everyone who knows Janice loves her. You will never find someone more dedicated to the days tasks; I have the joy of working with her in the office every day and am just so grateful for her and the help she ceaselessly gives me as I learn the ins and outs of the office.

Ranch family dinner

Alright, I’ll stop gushing about my ranch family now 🙂 Hope you all have a wonderful week and a very restful holiday.

Happy trails,



Checking on steers at Graze

The herd says “hello”

Lynn and Jenny look on as Sue checks gate #12

See you down the road!

Games galore- From ping pong to pony races

August 24th, 2019, Volume 14, Issue 32

Howdy folks,

Well, I’m not gonna lie, for everyone who was not able to be with us this week: you missed out! It was an absolutely wonderful week!

A perfect Montana morning

We got to welcome a great group of new and old friends to the ranch. Betty and Tanja came back to McGinnis to continue their horsemanship education. We also got to welcome a new group from North Carolina! Their friendliness and willingness to learn quickly made them beloved by all the staff here at the ranch. Finally, all the way from England we welcomed Autumn, Laila, and Hannah! We had a great time with them comparing all the differences between the UK and our own USA. This group was so much fun that almost every evening there were grand tournaments of pool and ping pong going on in our game room!

Cahill being his handsome self

In horsemanship this week we all went back to our very favorite exercise: short serpentines! (For some people this statement is genuine and for others it is excessively sarcastic). However, all the practice that we had with it during the week really impressed upon all of the interns, guests and wranglers just how important they are in the education of the horse. Getting the horses to travel united through all four quarters really helped them to achieve balance and softness through every movement. We will be doing a lot more of that in the future!

After all the horses were well balanced and prepared following the short serpentines, Shayne allowed some of the staff and interns to have a couple races 🙂 And race we did! The new indoor arena is the perfect amount of space and footing to really open up the horses and allow them to stretch their legs. What a joy it is to be able to push yourself and your horse and then dial back to come to a full stop with a soft feel- our ranch horses are serious athletes!

Lorraine, Erin, and Tanja

…Speaking of horsemanship, do you want a learning adventure like no other? If you are looking for a way to ride and study at McGinnis Meadows the fall and winter seasons are spectacular. With eye candy fall colors and horsemanship to fuel your soul we still have just a couple of openings available the week of October 13th. If winter is more to your liking,

We like to think of these programs as a classroom on horseback 🙂 There is no other place that offers this level of detail for learning, with all the amenities. With possibilities to ride outdoor in the meadows in the fall and indoor in our NEW larger
state of the art indoor arena in the winter, there will be a multitude of things to work on in your pursuit of horsemanship.

Group shot!

For Winter Program, we move into the indoor full time – About the only place you’ll need a coat is to walk to and from the lodge from your cabin, or from the shuttle to the NEW heated indoor arena! The non-riding hours are low-key and relaxing, enabling guests to unwind and have some quiet time in a peaceful setting.

There are many reasons to reserve your spot – too numerous to mention here, so if you are serious about improving your riding and want to spend time in a beautiful setting, contact Janice for more info or to reserve your spot(s)– stay for two weeks if you’d like! (406) 293-5000.

We were also able to do a lot of cattle work this week- Lorraine, Erin, and Laila went out a lot with Sue (who they nicknamed Sunshine) and Ash (who they called Dimples)- they all had a great time traveling the country and finding the cattle.

David, Preston, and Beth- good friends and wonderful people

To top off the week we had a great campfire- we had the pleasure of introducing s’mores to Hannah, Autumn, and Laila. We all had a great evening filled with music, campfire snacks, and conversation. I know I speak for all the staff here at the ranch that the guests that have become our good friends this week will be missed.

That’s all for now… but there is much more to come.

Happy trails,

Anna and Janice


Scott (sort of) teaching Hannah how to rope 🙂

Max, Cahill, and Nemo

Bunny and Trouble

Some moments are just perfect

Cookie and Monty





Preparation and focus lead to advancement

August 18th, 2019, Volume 14, Issue 31

The beauty of a peaceful evening

This week was originally dubbed as an “off-week” by Shayne and I.  Off-weeks are dedicated to re-riding through the string, catching up on ranch projects and tending to various odds-and-ends.

However, when we were notified that there was a chance that the ENTIRE Seattle Mounted Police Unit might be able to come out that week, with ALL of their horses, the week was opened up!

And since it was officially opened, we started filling it up with more and more really neat people—We had stayover guests Rainer, Genna and Diana from Germany.  We had the Binninger family.  We had former employees and interns, Brooke, Eden and Nathan (with his better half, Marianne).  AND to top it all off, we had two members from the Army Caisson from D.C.—Robert, their civilian trainer and all-around program director, and Staff Sgt Adam, one of their riders.

So basically, our off week went from zero guests to our busiest week of the season thus far!

Roby working the Unit’s colt in our round pen

It was actually a ton of fun, working with so many dedicated students of horsemanship and (in the case of the Mounted Unit) working with their horses too!  Stephan, the head trainer in the Unit, was even able to bring a new horse, and get it re-started and ridden with the help of Roby!

Since everyone was super dedicated on the horsemanship end, we created multiple “stations” for the guests to rotate through.  Roby covered groundwork in the old indoor arena and horsemanship outside.  I covered cantering exercises in the outdoor arena and lots of refined soft feel work.  Shayne was in his NEW arena of course!  He covered all aspects—from short serpentines, the hind and front exercise and leg yields, to cantering arcs and beautiful straight lines on correct leads to work on the cutting machine.

Chief Diaz and Shayne

Janice bounced around getting a few of our greener riders up to speed so that they could come into the larger classes with confidence.  She did an amazing job!  This was the first time that we had the mounted officers out here withthe full support of their superiors.  Sgt Kevin had never ridden before, but he came out and entered up so that one day he could deploy with his men to “lead from the front!”  Speaking of leading from the front…CHIEF DIAZ from Seattle surprised the Unit by ALSO showing up at the ranch to learn to ride!  Both men showed their leadership and focus and blew our minds with how good they got in such a short amount of time.

Robert was a guest at the ranch 9 years ago, and came here at that time to go back to the Caisson with tools to take back to their training program.  It’s been a long stretch away, but he was finally allowed to come out again for more training.  We think this is the start of many more training weeks ahead!

Des’ apprentice, Flora with Trump

This was the Binningers 3rdtrip out here this year.  They are the most dynamic family I’ve ever known!  How much of a blessing to have an entire family of dedicated horse-people!  This trip they are leaving behind one member—little Flora is going to be my personal apprentice for the next three weeks!  I’m not sure who is more excited about it between the two of us.  It is certainly going to be a fun, fun experience!

And my goodness…I cannot even begin to describe how good it felt to have Brooke, Eden and Nathan back “home.”  These people are family to me, I love them to pieces!  Riding horses with them every day made this week so special.  Just thinking about it gives me all the warm and fuzzies J

It was a big week but it paid big dividends!  We are excited to see how the training this week translates into better riders, better horses and (for the Mounted Police and the Army Caisson) better overall training programs that are sustainable.

Have a great week everyone!



Genna getting a soft feel on Paco

Nathan, Marianne, and Chad- what great friends to have back with us for the week!

We will all miss our Josie <3