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!
Randy - Ranch Manager
Randy is one of our ranch managers. He left Pennsylvania when he was 17 and flew to Wyoming. He knocked on a few doors and has been working for cattle outfits, guest outfits, guided for hunters and packed up to 55 horses on 100-mile trips into the Yellowstone area. He even rounded up wild horses for the BLM! Listen to some of his stories and you’ll be rolling with laughter or dropping your jaw in awe.
He heads up the cattle, the fencing, the haying…he always seems to be working on some sort of project to better the ranch.
Of course, guests love it when he has the time to ride with them as well. Nobody can come up with off-the-wall nicknames like Randy can!
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 beseeched 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 100+ head of ranch horses! Brenda is also quite the writer and her short stories are featured in our monthly newsletters. 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!
Willy- Ranch hand
Willy has been here at the ranch for many ears 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 🙂
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!
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!
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!
Sami - Wrangler & Office
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.
Alex - Wrangler
Alex has a passion for horses since he started riding at age 13. He’s explored a few different styles of riding in both english and western disciplines while living in several states from coast to coast. Although Alex spent a few years pursuing a career as a personal trainer in the fitness industry, he never lost his passion for horses. Alex began to learn about the California Vaquero style of horsemanship and Buck Brannaman’s methodology while volunteering at a local horse rescue. As he began learning and practicing these new riding styles, it was evident that he was well on the way to a new journey. Alex came to McGinnis Meadows as an intern working hard to be a part of the program at the ranch. His enthusiasm and willingness to learn and contribute led to his hiring as a wrangler following his internship. Alex now works seasonally in the summer and fall, while the winter and spring is spent at home in as a personal trainer. Alex is always working towards improving his skillsets with each horse he rides and each rider he has the pleasure to meet. His commitment to share lessons learned with riders helps to help them gain confidence and success in their journeys. He strives to be the best horseman and cowboy he can be to help horses and people along the way.