The Thacher Horse Program Changes Leads

As the Schryvers depart, the Winters return.
After 25 years as director of Thacher’s Horse Program, Cam Schryver has announced that he is heading to greener pastures. At the end of the current school year, he, Lori, and family will be moving up to Antelope, Oregon, to manage a newly acquired family cattle ranch.

For the 1,500-plus riders who have passed through the Horse Program during the Schryver era, it may be difficult to imagine the program under different leadership. But it may be less difficult than one thinks, given the fact that Cam will be handing over the reins to a successor familiar to many. Richard Winters, a world-famous clinician and prizewinning trainer of horses and their riders, served as “artist-in-residence” in Thacher’s Horse Program from 2004 to 2014. He and his wife Cheryl are looking forward to returning to Thacher where he will continue the Horse Program’s essential role within the Thacher experience.

The Schryver impact at Thacher has extended well beyond the Horse Program. “Could there be a more fitting next chapter for this horseman and cowboy and his rock-solid clan?” asks Head of School Michael Mulligan. “An Extreme Cowboy national champion; a distinguished horseman; a steady, stalwart, and deeply thoughtful member of the faculty; a mentor to generations of Thacher students, Cam has not only brought the most refined and accomplished horsemanship to Thacher, he has stood tall for clear-headed ranch values and honest citizenship.”

Working alongside Cam all these years has been Lori Schryver. Lori has worked tirelessly not only instructing horsemanship but also ensuring that the students do their work and do it well; together they have been a powerful team that has made the Thacher Horse Program a central pillar of this School. 

“Role models, mentors, leaders, and friends, Cam and Lori will leave behind legions of admirers and friends,” said Michael Mulligan. “This is the close of an era, and I know that the entire Thacher community will join with me in thanking Cam and Lori and sending our great good wishes to them and their adventurous offspring Carol, Conner CdeP 2005, Zane CdeP 2013, and Cora Mae.”

The Schryvers will depart, however, knowing the program is in experienced, capable, and familiar hands, as the new director will be well supported by Assistant Director of the Horse Program Mike Swan and the rest of the talented Horse Department faculty whose combined tenure at Thacher exceeds 100 years. 

“Richard is a man of the highest integrity,” said Michael Mulligan. “He is kind, generous, and thoughtful. His intelligence, experience, and high EQ bodes well for all of us here, human and equine.” 

For more than 35 years Richard has dedicated himself to honing his horsemanship skills and to passing this knowledge on to others. His credentials extend from the rodeo arena and high desert ranches of the West to being a highly sought-after horse trainer and horsemanship clinician. 
Among recent accolades, Richard won the National Reined Cow Horse Association world championship in 2005 and took top honors at the Road to the Horse Colt Starting Championship in 2005. He is also a top-five finalist at the Cowboy Dressage World Finals and the recent author of From Rider to Horseman, published in 2016 by Western Horseman Magazine. In recent years, Richard has been traveling the country and world helping horse owners—professionals and amateurs—learn how to train themselves and their horses for better outcomes.

Many Thacher students, parents, and alumni enjoyed working with Richard during his time at Casa de Piedra. His son, Joseph, is a Thacher graduate (Cdep 2007); and his daughter, Sarah, made many friends on campus when she was a high school student in Ojai. Richard and his wife, Cheryl, were also the faculty advisors to the Christian Fellowship Club and many students of various religious and spiritual persuasions enjoyed thoughtful and important discussions and home-cooked meals in their house.

“Given the departure of the Schryvers,” said Michael Mulligan, “this is the best possible news for The Thacher School and the Horse Program. The Horse Program has never been stronger. And between the knowledge and skill that Richard brings and depth of experience of our riding faculty, its future is secure.”
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