THE QUESTION OF THE MONTH IS  BACK! (Send yours to us for an answer) The Newest:

Can you explain this exercise to me? It’s not in any of the tests. (An exercise to develop lengthening)

BILL– A student found this exercise in Major Anders Lindgren’s book,Teaching Exercises. It had come out back in 1998, and I had a hand in editing it before publication, so I well know what he wanted to see.

The exercise looks like this:

 You come through the corner between M and C riding into the short end of the arena energizing, engaging, and building power. It’s a good option to do this part in shoulder in. Turning at the center line, you don’t proceed directly up the middle. The turn is more like 45° and takes you on a straight line towards the second letter on the long side, in this case S. The line is as though you’re cutting a tab off the corner of the arena. As you find that line, you take the horse’s stored up energy and express it forward in powerful, lengthened strides (or if the horse is of an appropriate level in medium trot.) As you approach S, you maintain that angle relative to the track and regather/rebalance your horse in leg yielding nose to the wall. This allows you to push him back into “collection,” re-engaging his right hind leg and allowing the wall to help you make rebalancing half halts without having to pull on the reins. As the rebalancing works, you then straighten the horse parallel to the rail.

The principal points of the exercise are these:

To make a successful lengthening, start with energy and balance before the fact. Don’t try to create that energy in the middle of the movement.

Do the actual lengthening for a relatively short distance so as to maintain the balance and throughness.

Regather before you lose those qualities and do so by re-activating and re-engaging from back to front, not by using a restraining hand. The lateral movement along the rail helps keep your horse supple and less inclined to brace against the hand in the downward transition.

In our current incarnation of dressage tests this is not a radical concept. We see lots of examples of lengthenings and mediums performed on a partial or short diagonal. This was much less the case back in the early 80s when Major Lindgren was writing his manuscript. I remember in the 1970s every lower level lengthened trot was asked for immediately after a transition down from canter, as though that was the only way a horse would have accumulated enough energy to produce one. The state of the “art” at that time meant that most of those lengthenings tended to hurry, lacked cadence, and petered out across the diagonal. In fact, when the 1979 tests came out and a third test at Second Level was introduced, we were shocked that right after the centerline entrance, the first movement was a medium trot. I wasn’t the only one who reacted, “How in the world can a horse be expected to do that?”

This exercise helps develop the mindset that the lengthening should always be alive within the working or collected trot just waiting to be tapped.


BILL’s On-Line Store — STORECRAZY — is here to provide you with items that Dover and John Nunn can’t offer. Here’s a quick sample.

CLICK HERE to find many more items you won’t want to live without!

A Note from Bill]

Let me introduce our new Associate Editor, Hayden Finch. “Sidd” worked with us back in the ’80s when Susan and I edited A Tip of the Hat, the New England Dressage Association’s newsletter. Prior to beginning his career in journalism, Sidd scratched his competitive itch with a brief foray into professional baseball. In his first stint with us, Sidd penned this alternative biographical sketch of me for the Dallas Dressage Club newsletter publicizing a clinic I did for that group:

Bill’s bio courtesy of Sidd Finch

            Bill Woods (not his real name) comes to the Dallas area several times a year. He and his wife, Onyx, are members of the Federal Dressage Witness Protection Program; thus, their true place of residence is unknown. Both train and compete most of the year in central Florida, often in disguise.

            Bill has been teaching in Texas since the mid ‘80s, having been brought here by Lisa Brown.They had met in New Hampshire some years before, drawn together by a mutual love of hybrid roses which they tended on summer afternoons at the institution.    


Remember Reiner Klimke and Ahlerich in the victory lap after their gold medal win at the ’84 LA Olympics? All those 76 one tempis in a row?  Well, for old time’s sake, click here for the instant replay!

The Horse Protection Association of Florida needs your help!

HPAF receives no state or federal funding and exists only through donations. The amount of neglected horses and horses whose owners can no longer afford to feed them has exploded recently and your donations make it possible for HPAF to continue the work of protecting and saving horses.


Quote of the Month

“We are all time travelers — just the really dull kind — ones plodding through the 4th dimension one pathetic second at a time.”
(Robert Smith on NPR’s Talk of the Nation)

Quote of All Time

“The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang onto, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.”
Chögyam Trungpa

Click to view an important cultural icon: “Bambi Meets Godzilla”


An audio treat for your dining and dancing pleasure? CLICK HERE


FEAST YOUR EYES ON THIS — A FANCIFUL VIDEO MONTAGE TO LEONARD COHEN’S “DANCE ME TO THE END OF LOVE.” The tango sequence is from the 1992 film Scent  of a Woman.

For the One Minute Version
of everything you need to know about – CLICK HERE



Our 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer’s is history. It was a beautiful day with thousands of people on hand. We shared our grief for those afflicted and our hope for the future. Thanks to your help our team, the Meadow Wood Memory Walkers, raised over $13,400 towards finding a cure. That made us one of the two top non-corporate teams at the Ocala walk. Again thanks to your generosity, I was personally able to raise almost $8,000 of that, tops on the individual list. The Ocala Walk has raised more than $100,000. There are Walks in 600 communities around the country so you can see how our combined efforts will boost the research that will make Alzheimer’s survivable.

CLICK HERE for a selection from Bill’s Photoshop endeavors
Below: To imprint in your mind. Harmony in the person of Col.  Kurt Albrecht von Ziegner. His mount unknown.


Carl Sagan speaks of The Pale Blue Dot. Please click below and watch this!

It’s another Monday!

If this August’s total eclipse of the sun worked for you (or if you were indoors at the movies), there’s a second showing. The date will be April 8, 2024. Visible in the US on a swath from Texas through parts of the Midwest to Buffalo. I am not going to miss it!



TUNY, the French Bulldog, has agreed to assume BRUCE’S role as the official Safety Coordinator of this website. If, as you’re reading, she issues the “Duck and Cover” instruction, please climb under your desk and assume the position until she issues her All Clear announcement.