Richard Winters Horsemanship - Based In Reno, Nevada
As other grade school boys dreamed of being firemen, astronauts, or race car drivers, this horseman thought of nothing other than being a cowboy. Not the most convenient dream considering he lived in town with parents who had no ties whatsoever to the equine community.
During those early years the boy wore out several bicycles peddling seven miles to a stable across town where he was a self confess "Stable brat." Opportunities to be involved with horses were few and far between, but they did come! Cleaning stalls, learning to drive the single horse feed wagon, and helping to saddle the dude string, little by little, desire was intersecting with experience.
Four summers, as a teenager, spent wrangling dude horses in the mountains added to this experience. He then had the opportunity to work for the late, great bridle horse trainer, Troy Henry, of Clovis, California. This was Richard's first introduction to higher levels of horsemanship. Troy introduced the idea that horsemanship was only about ten percent mechanics and ninety percent psychology. It was there that this high school kid had the privilege of riding some true bridle horses. Though he couldn't duplicate it, he knew there was a feel with horses that could be obtained.
During this same time, Richard enrolled in a nine month farrier program, giving him the skills that financed most of the obligations a seventeen year old boy could accrue. Graduating from hight school a year early he was college bound, however not necessarily for scholastic opportunities. Rather, Hartnell College, in Salinas, California, had one of the most outstanding varsity rodeo programs in the country. Two years of roping calves and riding saddle bronc horses was a lot of fun, however it was self-evident that there wasn't much future in it for this aspiring horseman.
It was in Salinas that he met Cheryl, the girl who would become the cornerstone of his success. This pretty strawberry blond has spent twenty-eight years raising their two children, running their business, filming and editing their weekly TV show as well as being the number one supporter of Richard's ongoing adventures. Over the years, shoeing clients recognized the horse handling skills of this young farrier and training opportunities began to present themselves with more frequency.
In the late eighties and early nineties horsemanship clinics were gaining in popularity. This is where Richard has shined. A strong horsemanship foundation, balanced with unparalleled people skills, has been the perfect combination for the outstanding clinician he is today.
In 1997, Richard and Cheryl, along with their two children, Joseph and Sarah, moved to northeastern California to develop a 1,000 acre ranch and Horsemanship Center. The ranch was a great experience and an ideal place to raise their children. However, the remoteness of the ranch made it difficult when Joseph and Sarah entered high school. Cheryl was commuting two hundred miles, five days a week, just to get them to and from school. This is when The Thacher School became a integral part of their lives. Thacher is a private boarding school with an extensive horsemanship program, situated on a 400 acre campus, in Ojai, California. Richard had conducted horsemanship clinics for the school in the past and had always been impressed with the Thacher community. After brain storming with the headmaster of the Thacher School, the Winters moved their family and business to "Sunny Southern California" Richard held the unique title of "Artist-in-Residence in their horse department for ten years. Richard made himself available for special horsemanship projects, faculty training, and was considered Thacher's ambassador-at-large" to the horse industry.
The opportunity presented by The Thacher School, along with the changes in the Winters training business, allowed Richard more time to focus on his own performance horsemanship skills. It was an added blessing that the school is located just up the road from the NRCHA million dollar rider, Ted Robinson. Ted has been a tremendous help in bringing Richard's horsemanship and show skills to the next level. Richard has been quick to say, "I probably wouldn't be showing reined cow horses today if it wasn't for all of the help and guidance that Ted has given me." Since that time Richard has earned a World Championship Title in the NRCHA Limited Open Hackamore, along with Reserve World Championships in the Limited Open Bridle divisions. He is also a NRCHA AA Rated Judge and Road to the Horse Colt Starting Champion. Richard's teaching and communications skills have been a tremendous advantage to other horse show enthusiasts as well. He has helped Non Pro clients garner Regional, National and World Championships over the last few years.
Richard and Cheryl are very proud of their daughter, Sarah, who won the NRCHA Youth Limited World Championship in 2005, the Youth Open Bridle World Championship in 2005, and is now an Open rider with major Championships to her credit. After having worked two years for Jon Roeser and one year for Carol Rose Quarter Horses in Texas, Sarah returned home to work in the family business. She was honored to compete in the Road to the Horse Colt Starting Competition in 2013. Sarah has since moved on and in 2014 married an amazing horseman who was the Reserve Champion at the 2014 Snaffle Bit Futurity. The Winters' welcome Chris Dawson into the family with open arms!
Although not an avid horse enthusiast their son, Joseph Winters, graduated from The Thacher School in 2007, married a lovely young lady in 2014 and he is now serving our country in the United States Coast Guard. A physical fitness expert, Joseph is a Rescue Swimmer, currently stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas. 2014 was an exciting year as Joseph married Lorin, an amazing young lady who is a Neonatal Nurse, whom the family adores. His parents are equally proud of both of them as well!
Richard and Cheryl consider themselves blessed to have been involved in the horse industry for all of these years. Richard has been able to fulfill his passion and has become an International Clinician, Road to the Horse Colt Starting Champion as well as having earned a World Championship Title in the show pen with the NRCHA. They have enjoyed amazing adventures and met some tremendous friends during their travels. It has been said, "Find a vocation you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life." For Richard, this is a truism and his horsemanship journey gets more exciting with each passing year!
In 2012 Richard and Cheryl purchased a home in Reno, Nevada and in 2013 relocated to Reno. They are enjoying their ranchette and continue to stay busy conducting horsemanship clinics, presenting at horse expos, and showing Reined Cow Horses as well as judging horse shows.They consider themselves to be very blessed!
Richard and Cheryl look forward to you being a part of Richard Winters Horsemanship in the months to come!
About The Thacher School
Photo credit: Chris Land
In 1887, Sherman Day Thacher left Connecticut and settled in the hills of beautiful Ojai, California. When a New England friend asked Mr. Thacher to tutor his son for admission to Yale, he accepted – as long as the boy could come to Ojai for his lessons. The friend agreed and Mr. Thacher’s school was founded.
Along with academic excellence, Mr. Thacher knew that there was “something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a boy” - and now, girl!
Horsemanship has not just been a part of the Thacher tradition but truly the centerpiece of its program. The horses, the equipment and the facilities all speak of The Thacher School’s commitment to quality horsemanship.
The Thacher School’s commitment to Horsemanship has been reflected in the clinicians it has hosted over the years. Monty Forman, Ray Hunt, Buck Brannaman, Bryan Neubert and Richard Winters are just a few who have shared their horsemanship philosophy with the Thacher family.
We encourage you to learn more about The Thacher School and its rich traditions of horsemanship and academic excellence.