About Us

Our board represents a cross-section of our community and has a passion for our organization and those we serve. The members work hard to ensure long-term sustainability of the organization and oversee that the funds raised directly affect those in need.

  • Board of Directors
  • Dianne Sawyer, MD
  • Clint Weaver -Immediate Past Chairman
  • Chief Financial Officer, Providence Hospital

  • Former Vice President, UBS Financial Services

  • Tammy Shefa
  • Rich Chatmas-Secretary
  • Sarah Kendrick-Vice President
  • Bricker Bruner-Chairman
  • Ellen White
  • Harold Refuse

Our staff has a strong commitment to serving the many constituents of our organization. But first and foremost, they focus their energies on those who take the opportunities to utilize our programs and services.

  • Founder
    Horses for Warriors Program Director
    Director Emeritus
    Instructor

    Larry Barnett is the founder of REACH Therapeutic Riding Center which began operation in the fall of 2007. He is now Executive Director Emeritus and was responsible for starting the Equine Service for Heroes program, also known as Horses for Warriors. He has been working in the therapeutic riding industry for 14 years. In 2004 he became certified as a therapeutic riding instructor by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, (PATH) International. He worked as a volunteer and a riding instructor at two other therapeutic riding centers in central Texas before starting REACH. Larry is a retired USAF Officer, combat veteran, and ex-fighter pilot. He has made many presentations to educational, religious, military, business, and community service organizations in the Waco, Texas area for several years. His goal is to help the community understand the viable benefits of therapeutic riding for special needs children and adults. He holds an AAS in Financial Accounting, a BBA in Marketing and an MBA in Aviation/Airway Management and Operations.

  • Executive Director
    Staff Management
    Marketing & Fundraising

    Shannon started as a volunteer here in 2011. Her love of horses and desire to help others made volunteering at REACH Therapeutic Riding Center the perfect fit. Shannon is a native of Waco. She rode Hunter/Jumper and Cutting Horses competitively until 2002 when she decided to devote her time exclusively to raising her children. In 2015 Shannon became the Volunteer Director at REACH. In 2018, she was ready to take on a larger role here at REACH and became the Program Director where she remained until the opportunity presented itself and she is now our Executive Director. She has 5 children and 3 dogs.

  • Program & Equine Director
    Barn Manager
    PATH Certified Riding Instructor

    Chelcie is from Gatesville and married her husband, Doug Ayers, in December 2015. She graduated from Texas Tech University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Animal Sciences. She also received an Equine Certified focused in Equine Assisted Therapy. She became a PATH International Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor in 2014 and worked for Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding Center for 3 years before moving back home to Gatesville. Chelcie joined the REACH team in the fall of 2016 as an instructor and has since become our Equine Director, taking care of our four-legged therapists and their management.

  • Volunteer Coordinator
    Barn & Equine Assistant
    PATH Certified Riding Instructor

    Catherine began volunteering at REACH in 2019 and took on the role of Volunteer Coordinator in 2022. She is also a PATH Certified Riding Instructor. Catherine’s love for horses started when she was in elementary school, riding eventing ponies and competing in a few local shows in the DC area. She started volunteering at Lift Me Up Therapeutic Riding Center in Virginia when she was only 12 years old and realized that was where her passions for teaching, helping people, and horses could all come together. After moving to Texas in 2010, she discovered reining horses and began showing at NRHA shows most weekends through high school. Catherine holds a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Science in Sports Pedagogy from Baylor University, where she was a member of the Equestrian Team. She met her husband, Jackson, during her years at Baylor and they live in the Waco area with their two dachshunds.

  • Program Administrator
    Barn & Equine Assistant
    Social Media Contact
    Instructor-In-Training
    2019 Recipient of the Matthew Nassab Volunteer of Excellence Award

    Megan started as a volunteer here fresh out of high school in 2017 and became the Program Administrator in January of 2022. Her love for horses began before she could even walk, competing in local barrel racing shows from lead-line classes on up until she started college. In May of 2021, She graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor's in General Studies with minors in Physiology, Psychology, and Health Professions. Her plan was to continue on to become a physical therapist; however, she has temporarily put her studies on hold to focus on training to become an instructor. She was born and raise in small-town Bruceville-Eddy where she still resides today with her 3 horses, dog, and 3 cats.

  • Dytrun Thirkill

    Accounting
    Bookkeeping

  • Lexi Assenheimer

    Barn & Equine Assistant
    Instructor-In-Training
    ESMHL-In-Training

  • Jacob Burleson

    Barn & Equine Assistant

  • Bowman Smith

    Barn & Equine Assistant

  • Maggie Winarick

    Barn & Equine Assistant