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 . . . .
Lisa, whom DDC veterans may remember, reminded many of us of current club member Lisa Avila, only on 78 rpm.
Orphaned at an early age and left to roam the gutters of Darien, CT– forced to collect aluminum cans and discarded cigar butts to pay for his classical dressage education– Bill nonetheless rose rapidly in his chosen discipline. He went to his first Olympic Games in 1976, sitting near the top of the bleachers right behind letter S.
Bill attended many National Instructors’ Seminars through the 1980s, and when it became apparent he would never get it right, was made a member of its staff. Recruited by Lowell Boomer to head the born-again (it had croaked in 1978 after a brief and bloody false start) Instructor/Trainer Council, he spent seven years dutifully passing the ammunition as the USDF shot itself in the foot.
Now devoting much of his time to monk-like contemplation, judging, and other scholarly endeavors, he emerges from seclusion periodically to monitor the progress of his Texas students. Usually he sits quietly in a helium-filled glass booth, gazing serenely through his spectacles, occasionally summoning a rider to offer cryptic advice– sometimes in English, but more often in unintelligible grunts or in a high-pitched whistle audible only to dogs. His students report that their horses go lighter, with more engagement and self carriage. One woman swears that the lumps on her head have gone away.
Bill welcomes auditors at his clinics but requests that you turn off all portable electronic devices and leave any large magnets at home.