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Things That Really Matter....

            "Whatever happens to the water,
                           happens to the people."

Floridians want to preserve and protect Florida

Editorial, Tallahassee Democrat:  November 12, 2014

Floridians spoke clearly, with three-quarters of all voters approving of the constitutional amendment


The 2014 midterm election exposed some sharp divisions among Floridians. Gov. Rick Scott won re-election by drawing fewer than half of the votes cast, only 1.1 percentage point ahead of challenger Charlie Crist. Gwen Graham knocked U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland out of office by just a little more than 2,000 votes. Even in the one-sided CFO and agriculture commissioner races, Jeff Atwater and Adam Putnam each got less than 60 percent of the vote.

Then there was Amendment 1.

Floridians spoke clearly, with three-quarters (74.95 percent) of all voters approving of the constitutional amendment to dedicate money for conservation and recreation. We might be divided on medical marijuana and Obamacare and any number of other issues, but Floridians realize the importance of land and water to our health, to our tourism industry and to the quality of life we enjoy in the Sunshine State.

Protecting Florida’s natural resources has been a bipartisan concern since 1963, when the Legislature created the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to support the purchase of parks. Over the years, the state’s land-purchasing efforts changed in name, funding sources and approval processes. Yet, as the pressures to develop lands increased, so did the state’s efforts to protect them — through Preservation 2000 and then Florida Forever.

But with the start of the recession in 2008, that effort ground to a halt. And even as the economy rebounded, the spending on conservation did not. Florida now has more than 6 million acres of protected land, but it also is losing about 165,000 acres of land to development every year, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Floridians were not happy, and Amendment 1 — a citizen initiative — was born.

Amendment 1 directs that the state dedicate 33 percent of net revenues from doc stamps on property purchases over the next 20 years to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, to acquire and improve forests, wetlands and other sensitive habitats. The money can be used only for these purposes and may not be “commingled with the General Revenue Fund.” Translation: No more raids.

              The language that will now be part of the Florida Constitution says these acquisitions will include “lands that protect water resources and drinking water sources, including lands protecting the water quality and quantity of rivers, lakes, streams, springsheds, and lands providing recharge for groundwater and aquifer systems.” It’s a powerful mandate.

What Amendment 1 does not do is change behavior.

Nearly 20 million people live in Florida, and short of kicking them all out and building a fence around the state, we and our neighbors will continue to have an impact on the environment.

Every time we flush a toilet or scatter fertilizer on the front lawn, we add to the pollution that is strangling our springs and rivers and even poisoning our drinking water. In his exhibition “Springs Eternal,” photographer John Moran has documented the ill health of Florida’s springs, from out-of-the-way spots to tourist destinations such as Ichetucknee Springs.

Mr. Moran calls for a new “environmental patriotism.” That can be simple, for example refraining from fertilizing or watering your lawn. It can be expensive, when forgoing septic tanks for central sewer systems. It can be politically dangerous, when it’s time to put pressure on big agriculture to clean up its act.

              But we can change. Mr. Moran points to the way recycling has become an everyday activity or the way littering, once common, now is frowned upon. And we have success stories, such as cleaning up Tampa Bay and Lake Apopka.

At stake is not just the beauty we Floridians love but the tourism industry that attracted 90 million visitors and $65 billion last year. If sunshine alone were enough, Mr. Moran points out, then the Sahara Desert would be a prime tourist destination. In a 1972 speech, Gov. Reubin Askew said, “Ecological destruction in Florida is nothing less than economic suicide.”

It’s wonderful that three-quarters of those who voted last week don’t want our state to commit ecological or economic suicide. It’s a significant step. But keeping our waters clean will require a lot more than just checking “Yes” on a ballot.

- Tallahassee Democrat is a Gannett newspaper -


NO WATER - NO JOBS ______________________________
Implicit in Susan's crusades

Read more here

And, here, a separate link to Susan's
FALDO page!


Re: more mundane matters:



            Judging and teaching both at home in Central Florida and all around the country, Susan and Bill Woods each acknowledge over thirty-five years of experience that can help you better understand and train your horse.

            They have been active on the national dressage scene since 1980, their dressage specialty arising from broad backgrounds in balance-seat work, both on the flat and over fences.

            Both are known for their ability to outline sound, classical goals and to communicate effective techniques to riders of all levels. They carry on the ideals and principles they learned at the American Dressage Institute and the USDF-sponsored Violet Hopkins National Instructors Seminars and which they, in turn, were tabbed to spread to hundreds of teachers and dozens of groups throughout the US at USDF Regional Instructor Workshops.

            Susan and Bill are each USDF Bronze and Silver Medalists. They've each trained and shown many horses from Training Level to FEI, and they continue to coach students both at the Florida shows and those whom they meet at clinics and then send off to competitions, ribbons, and medals in their own areas. Their students show at every level through Grand Prix.

            Over twenty and nearly thirty years respectively of dressage judging give Susan and Bill a special perspective to help you understand what all judges are looking for and what it takes for you to succeed in the show arena.

          In recent months Susan has for medical reasons had  to reduce her workload in both the equine and environmental areas. She remains actively committed to the philosophies and principles she has espoused in both these fields over the years. As Bill can testify, she remains a force to be reckoned with.


            Find out more about each of them on the tabs to the left.  


Recent Video from Bill:


Schooling Grand Prix movements
Gail Redinger and Mitras have appeared in many videos on this site. Here they school GP movements at Bill's September clinic prior to their trip to the Region 6 Finals. Mitras is, by the way, available for your husband or S. Daddy to purchase for your Christmas present.

A judged USEF Test for the 4 Year Old Horse:
See how these tests are evaluated differently from normal dressage tests.

A judged Adult Amateur Grand Prix Freestyle:

Eventors-- Two "new" archival videos:
     1976 Olympic 3 Day from Bromont.
Filmed by Bill at the time as a Super8mm movie, recently converted to video with an added voice track. See the US gold medal team and top riders of the 70s from around the world. 37 minutes. Click below:

1977 Ledyard International Horse Trials. Created
as above. With narration, the top US riders plus the Brits. Germans, Canadians, and riders from 3 other countries. 26 minutes. Click below:
The Ins and Outs of Haunches-- with examples and diagrams this new video helps you sort out the differences among all the basic lateral movements from leg yielding to shoulder in to travers, renvers, and half pass. Click here: 


Berlin Quadrille featuring Reiner Klimke
This is a reproduction of a VHS tape given to me more than 25 years ago by Gen Jonathan Burton. He thought it was done in Berlin, probably sometime after the '84 Olympics. The lead rider is Olympic gold medalist Reiner Klimke on Ahlerich. Second in the line, I believe is Gabriella Grillo. General Burton said he thought the riders had barely any rehearsal before the performance, but it is great fun to see these 12 international riders all working together.



Fran Harris and all 1700 pounds of McCallan, her husband's Percheron field hunter who is exploring a second career as a dressage horse.

NOTE: If you have your choice of web browsers, this site plays much better if you use Mozilla or Safari rather
than Internet Explorer!

Here's a brand new little bit of Social Media Mischief from Equine Ed's Cid Kent. Bill appears in his shy mode as usual.

But don't stop yet!

Shawn Kuester and Cat on the way to their Silver Medal, achieved with two smashing 64%s at Suncoast Dressage in Tampa the weekend before Thanksgiving.


Looking for a holiday gift? You can procure a signed copy of Dressage Unscrambled by emailing to or by calling 352 208-7394. Cost is $20 plus postage. And Bill will sign it as anyone you request, from Old Joe Stalin to the Pope! What a country!

The new 2015 Tests are out and will go into effect on December 1 of this year. Here's how to find them:
Here's Bill take on all the changes and what they might mean to you. Click the link directly below:

230A Test-ifying.pdf
178.3 KB


And a little more on the new tests? Click below:



If you need a point of view to un-selfconsciously
adopt as your own, or if you'd just like to be annoyed all the time . . . .

atest entry: 12/20/14


AND NOW . . .

More Opinions, Warranted or Not



Next Month's Question

I am looking at 5 horses tomorrow. Is it easier to teach a good minded horse from the hunter/jumper world with good experience or easier to teach a greener type horse with less experience but with the same brain? Kathy, IL

         Stay tuned for Bill's explanation
Meanwhile, keep your questions coming!
                   EQUINE ED
an educational  webchannel created by Cid Kent and available thru FaceBook, YouTube, and Vimeo. Each month Cid and her panel of experts take on a different aspect of horse management or training.
Link to all the programs here:


A summertime feature on Equine Ed is
"A Day in the Life"
A half hour "up close and personal" look
at Bill and all he does.
Find some evening time and a glass of wine
link to it through the Equine-Ed website.

Announced recently: Equine Ed will be offered on the national cable channel RFD-TV. No start date has as yet been set.

Find out what's buried in
Bill's tome!

"If dressage were this funny, more people would be doing it!"

CLICK HERE for details, a sample,
and how to order it


The USDF Connection says:

"Much as I love our sport, there aren't too many dressage tomes I'd consider taking to the beach... DRESSAGE Unscrambled is the rare exception.

"[Bill] also happens to be an astute observer of foibles both human and equine and a writer with a wry sense of humor.

"DRESSAGE Unscrambled distills a lifetime of memorable experiences and 'aha' educational moments into one unassuming paperback...

"Younger dressage enthusiasts will get a glimpse into how our sport has evolved, and those of a certain age will surely chuckle at some memories. And you'll probably learn something along the way, too."




And trace, if you dare,
the treacherous path to

DRESSAGE Unscrambled's


One click  will do it


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