Shayne - Ranch Owner
Hi I’m Shayne, the ranch owner. I spend much of my time on the ranch teaching horsemanship and cowboying both in and outside of the arena. I started the ranch in 1998, inspired by the idea of a guest ranch that could share the grandness and excitement of the cowboy way, whilst using Buck Brannaman horsemanship, to all levels of riders. Many doubted that such a feat could be accomplished but here we are, now at the 25 year mark! What we do here is unique and we have a passion for horses and horsemanship and sharing it with you all. This passion also shows itself in every horse, wrangler and guest who comes here. I have been riding with Buck for 28 years. He has been my only mentor and he is also my best friend. I cannot even count the number of clinics I’ve ridden in over the years, but I can tell you it’s never enough! I am a dedicated student and I look forward to sharing all I’ve learned with everyone who comes to visit McGinnis Meadows.
Please let me introduce the rest the crew who you will meet on your journey here…
Des - Ranch Manager & Head Wrangler
Des is originally from Southern California but has really adopted Montana as her home these last 14 years she’s been at the ranch. She started riding horses when she was in college and was hooked immediately! She never had formal lessons before coming to McGinnis but knew there was a better way to work with horses than she had seen thus far. Luckily, she made some friends who introduced her to Buck. Buck told Des that if she really wanted to pursue this horsemanship journey, McGinnis Meadows was the best place to do it! So to McGinnis she went and it has been an incredible journey thus far!
Des rides many of the colts, future guest horses and a handful of client horses in addition to assisting Shayne in teaching horsemanship to the guests. That’s in addition to keeping the ranch running like a well-oiled machine!
Holly - Chef
At an early age, Holly began cooking with her mother and grandmother where she grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. She and her aunt co-owned a ranch in Arizona and she cooked for guests there. In 1999, she moved back to Birmingham and in 2000, she began the culinary program at Culinard, The Culinary Institute of Virginia College as she wanted a more formalized culinary education. She graduated from the Culinary Arts program as Valedictorian in 2002 and did an additional baking and pastry program afterward. She was a private caterer after graduating, but then opened her own tearoom in 2007 called “The Ruby Radish” in a small town outside of Birmingham called Remlap.
Following Covid-19, Holly wanted to see if she would still enjoy returning to ranch cooking as much as she did earlier in her career, so she applied for the head chef position at McGinnis Meadows and began this new experience in August of 2021. Holly loves interacting with the guests and doing cooking demonstrations. She is happiest when guests enjoy their meal, so be sure and tell her how much you love her cooking because we know you will!
Sami - Office Manager & Farrier
Sami has been riding since she was little and has always had a passion for horses. Once a senior in high school, Blue Skies Riding Academy, her home farm was formed. She began teaching professionally as a sophomore in college in 2010. Sami is passionate about students having correct, safe, and educated riding skills. She specializes in retraining off the track thoroughbreds for the hunter and jumper disciplines. Students have been successful at the local and national level qualifying for local and national medal finals. She has now ventured to McGinnis Meadows, leaving her home farm in good hands, to continue her education as a trainer and further her horsemanship skills. She’s hoping to learn all she can from Des and Shayne about Buck’s methods so that she can continue to help more horses and riders on their horsemanship journey. She’s excited to be expanding her knowledge and wisdom in this area of her horsemanship so that she can become well rounded. The hope is to bring more of Buck’s methods to the hunter and jumper world so that more horses and riders can be successful in their journey.
Brooklynn - Head Housekeeper
Brooklynn joined us in 2023 after completing our working intern tryouts. She may not have had as strong of a riding background as other applicants but her can do attitude and work ethic shined through. We hired her on as our housekeeper for the 2023 season. She could be seen dabbling on the horse side of things every chance she got. She is staying with us for 2024 and hope to see her on the equine side of the ranch more frequently as she keeps our hospitality side running smoothly.
Jenna - Wrangler
Jenna grew up in the suburbs outside of Seattle, moving to eastern Washington a few months before coming to the Ranch this past March. What started out as a three-month internship turned into calling the mountains of Montana home. Growing up, she played soccer on a premier team so spare time to invest in her love of animals was minimal until eighth grade. She never grew up around horses other than an occasional summer visit to a dude ranch, but when a friend invited her to come watch a lesson at a local horsemanship barn, she could not resist. That is where her passion for it all began! After dabbling in a few different areas of riding, Jenna discovered the Buck Brannaman style of horsemanship when auditing a clinic at a local horse rescue she was interning with as a part of their herd health team. From then on, she has been working hard to learn with the goal of developing something to offer a horse. There is no doubt it will be an endless journey, but she is excited for every second that lies ahead!
Brenda - Wrangler & Vet Tech
Several years ago, Brenda found out about the ranch and was mesmerized by the message we taught, the country where the ranch was located and the treatment of our large horse herd. She reached out to us for an opportunity to become one of the crew and was initially hired on as a ranch hand/gardener and as a personal assistant to Shayne. Over the years she has been given more and more responsibilities and now has grown into the position that she wanted all along—she is now a wrangler and when she isn’t riding, it’s because she is the primary caretaker of our 80+ head of ranch horses! Brenda is also quite the writer and stories are featured on the Highline from time to time. She’s super smart too—she has a Master’s Degree in Education! And she may be one of the kindest people you’ll meet!
Max - Wrangler
Max joined the McGinnis Meadows crew as a working intern for 2023. He has decided to stay on for 2024 as a wrangler. Max has a passion for the horses, enjoying most of his time trail riding his personal horses and working for North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine. While working for the college he was able to learn all aspects of horse care and management but still wanted to pursue higher horsemanship in the saddle as well. Due to a string of fortunate events he found out about the internship tryouts at the ranch. He gladly accepted the offer to join the McGinnis Meadows team. He’s hoping to refine his skills in and out of the saddle and looks forward to the 2024 season!
Noah - Wrangler
Noah has been riding for 10 years and is passionate about his horsemanship journey. Noah worked for Mortenson Performance horses in Washington where he learned about starting colts and riding reining horses. He is hoping to better his knowledge of horsemanship and develop a better understanding of groundwork to help become a more well rounded horseman. The intern program is an exciting new adventure where he hopes to become handy on and off horses at the ranch while learning from Shayne & Des. The future goal is to eventually have his own equine training business down the road. In the meantime he hopes to learn as much as he can.
Janice - The Remote Wrangler
Janice initially came to the ranch to study horsemanship and ranch life. It must have agreed with her because this season marks nine years she has made her home here! Starting as an intern, she was then hired on as a wrangler and later also took on the position of office manager. Recently home events have dictated that she return to the east coast, taking a leave of absence from her job at the ranch. You may still see her bumping around the ranch at times though, and if you do, please take a moment to stop and say hello- she would love to visit with you!
Nolan - Ranch Foreman
CJ - Ranch Hand
CJ returned to the family ranch after a 7 year hiatus. He’s excited to be back working at the ranch for his dad, Shayne, and enjoy all the McGinnis Meadows has to offer. He loves being out in nature and working with his hands, so coming back seemed like the perfect fit. You’ll catch him fixing fences, feeding horses, fixing just about anything that is broken, and generally trying to keep all of the parts of the ranch in working order. He can usually be caught driving around in our blue ranch truck ‘Smurfette’ with a menagerie of tools for the job. Cj is probably the most boisterous of us with a good sense of humor. If you need a good laugh, CJ is your guy.
Zach - Mechanic
Hi my name is Zach. I’m coming from down South with experience in large machinery repair, so working here in the mountains of Montana is a big change for me. I work as the mechanic here at the ranch and do my part to help keep the ranch running smoothly and help keeping it as beautiful as it is. I’m loving every minute of it, even when the parts and tools don’t want to cooperate. I can be found working at the shop keeping all of the ranch vehicles, equipment, and machinery in good working order.
Willy- Ranch hand
Willy has been here at the ranch for many years and although he works behind the scenes, he is an integral part of the operation. A hard worker and really handy, he also has many talents that are so important for keeping a ranch running. Willy can be seen on any given day, fixing fencing (or adding new ones), repairing equipment, clearing and keeping our pastures pristine looking, and keeping track of things out on our grazing allotments. His creativity does not go unnoticed either. As you are riding along be it on the ranch, or 5000 feet above in the Davis Graze pasture, don’t be surprised if you come across some cool stone art that will have you asking “How in the world did that get there?”…we know the answer 🙂