Meet the Windwood Equestrian Staff
William is the visionary behind Windwood Equestrian. He fell in love with jumping during the 1996 Olympics and immediately started training, first in the discipline of Eventing where he found success on a preliminary level. William switched to Show Jumping to peruse more opportunities. William has trained with: Mike Winter, Canadian Olympic rider, eventing, Kyle Carter, Eventing, Peter, Coach of Canadian Olympic team, Joe Farrgis Olympic Gold Medalist, Ronnie Beard (Olympic Committee), George Morris, former Chef de equip, Jason Canton, Grand Prix, Dressage, Oded Shimony, Israeli Equestrian Team, Dressage, And with numerous European Grand Prix riders in Europe.
William competed with success in 1.30m in show jumping in A shows such as: Winter Equestrian Festival in Palm Beach , Atlanta Classic, Hits (Horse Shows in the Sun), Ocala, Kentucky, Charleston, Brownland, Biltmore Classic, Louisiana, Tunica, Mississippi as well as many other local, regional and national shows.
William built Windwood to become a nationally recognized equestrian facility in his home state of Alabama allowing riders of all abilities the opportunity to house and train horses locally. His mission is not only to help develop horses and riders to compete on a National and International level, but to educate the community about the benefits of equine sports for all ages, all abilities, and all walks of life.
Katie is an essential part of the day-to-day operations at Windwood. Katie provides scheduling for the proper feeding and care of the horses under the direct guidance and supervision of William Upton and the head trainer. Katie oversees customer relations for existing clients and offers facility tours for potential clients. She handles accounting duties, coordinates barn events, manages horse shows along with her many other daily and weekly duties.
Katie is working with her Oldenburg horse, Brody, with goals of competing in Hunter Derbies in the future. Katie’s motto is “if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough”. She considers her horse to be a great companion and best friend.
Handley McCrory joins the Windwood team as the Senior Event Coordinator for Windwood Weddings. Handley is a Birmingham native. Over the years, Handley found herself drawn to event planning, and it was during her freshman year of college, at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, where she assisted in the coordinating of sorority parties that she truly fell in love with the event planning process. Handley also attended and graduated from the University of Alabama where she majored in Human Environmental Sciences with concentrations in Interior Design and Event Planning. It was while assisting Sybil Sylvester at Wildflower Designs that Handley realized that event planning was not only the perfect career for her, but also something she genuinely enjoys. At Windwood, Handley oversees the relations with potential clients, gives tours of the event space, and handles the marketing and advertising. As the Senior Event Coordinator, Handley makes herself always available for brides, families, and vendors to contact. Handley is very excited to assist you with your wedding or event at Windwood.
Jill Dean has over 35 years experience in training, competing, and coaching Hunters, Jumpers, Equitation, Combined Training and Dressage. Jill began taking riding lessons as a 4 year old, competed in the hunter ring on the A circuit and then moved on to combined training where she competed and trained with the Young Riders Team throughout high school and her college years. Jillbegan her own lesson program in Starkville Mississippi, to help pay her way through college where her love for teaching and coaching began to evolve. After college, and getting married to her husband Steve, they made their home in Fayette Alabamawhere Jill began Hunter Creek Stables and has had tremendous success over the years training horses and riders to win in the AHJA circuit as well as the USEF circuit.
Jill takes time to evaluate the student’s confidence level, age, maturity, aspirations, & ability, and then lessons reflect the individual’s goals in an atmosphere of fun and safety. Jill understands the unique relationship between horse and rider and matches horses and riders to achieve their goals.
Jill has coached countless Champions over the years, from the Local, State, Regional, and National Levels. She has professionally coached riders to finish in the top ten in the nation for Pony Hunters as well as Equitation. Jill was given the Honor of being named the 2006 AHJA Trainer Of The Year, which is an award given to the trainer with the most Year End State Champions for the State of Alabama. More recently, in 2008, 2009, and 2010, Jill coached 3 riders to win Gold Medals at the Southern Regional 4H Championships. Jill also coached her son Cooper Dean to be ranked top five in the nation in the WIHS Pony Equitation rankings for 2011!
Jill has served on the Alabama Hunter Jumper Association board of directors for 10 years, and manages AHJA local shows, as well as, brought USEF “B” rated shows to North West Alabama to bring affordable National shows to the state of Alabama.
Whether you are interested in learning the basics of riding or ready to challenge yourself in competition, you will find a family friendly atmosphere with world class training and coaching under the instruction of Jill Dean.