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 Rafuse

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.

  • 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.

  • Equine Manager
    Instructor-In-Training
    Equine Specialist in Mental Health And Learning-In-Training

    In 2017, Lexi began volunteering at REACH while she was an undergraduate student at Baylor. REACH became her second home, and she has been here since (except when away on archaeological digs). She became the Equine Manager in December 2022. Her love for helping others began early; in elementary school, she started as a voluntary peer mentor in her school’s special education program. She has continued in this field since, tutoring children with learning and other developmental disabilities throughout high school and college, working with Baylor Buddies, working at Baylor as an academic tutor, interning in the Emergency Room, and volunteering at Mission Waco’s Clinic. Lexi began riding at a young age and primarily competed in Western speed events such as barrel racing and pole bending, and she also participated in trail classes. Over the last ten years, Lexi started learning English disciplines and is currently focusing on dressage and eventing with her two wonderful horses. She is a medical, hospice and severe behavioral animal foster and currently has four dogs. Her current research goals are in zooarchaeology, veterinary forensics, equine and canine behavior, and human trauma and PTSD.

  • Dytrun Thirkill

    Accounting
    Bookkeeping

  • Bowman Smith

    Barn & Equine Assistant

  • Maggie Winarick

    Barn & Equine Assistant

  • Donna Santen

    Barn & Equine Assistant