William Upton

Founder & Owner

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.

Jill Dean


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.

Jason Canton, Head Dressage Trainer, International Grand Prix Rider

Jason Canton- Head Dressage Trainer

Born and raised in California, Jason began riding in 1979. As luck would have it at the age of 14 Jason meet and started his dressage training with world renowned rider and judge Hilda Gurney. In addition, to training with Hilda during his teens Jason rode with Olympic team rider, Gwen Stockebrand. With this exceptional foundation Jason started down what would become his lifelong passion of dressage. While riding with Gwen, Jason was given the opportunity to ride Bao, Gwen’s 1980 Olympic mount and 1978 World Champion horse. Riding Bao was a life changing experience and it was on Bao that he rode his first piaffe, passage, tempi changes and pirouettes. With this experience Jason continued his training with Gwen on his own horse, Brighton.

In 1984, Jason became the working student for US Dressage Team Coach, Melle Van Bruggen.