Category Archives: Owners VS IH Club

Indian Hammock Hunt and Riding Club’s Manager Office

About two years ago, I tried to get information and learn about the Indian Hammock Hunt and Riding Club’s (IH) Manager’s Office.

I could not find Work Descriptions for IH employees in the Manager’s Office.
I found a big folder containing many documents covering “Manager’s Responsibilities” and tasks, practically making the Manager responsible for “all that may happen in this world.”

IH Management Office can’t have one individual responsible for Legal Compliance and Law Enforcement, Managing the maintenance of IH facilities and Projects.
These two different tasks require individuals with different qualifications.

I am calling for a change in the Manager’s Office.

There should be two appointees:
1. Work Manager
2. Legal and Enforcement Manager

Work Manager
The Work Manager should have experience managing maintenance, construction, project, and accounting skills.
The Work Manager should manage the Facilities and Projects in the Common Areas, utilizing IH employees, equipment, and subcontractors.

Legal and Enforcement Manager
The Legal and Enforcement Manager should be an experienced lawyer specializing in Homeowners’ Association Law.
The Legal and Enforcement Manager should supervise the Club’s Board of Directors (BOD) and Members’ meetings and restrain BOD’s members from acting in contradiction to the Club’s documents.
Should ensure that claimed violation will be dealt with per the procedures in the Club’s Documents.
Should supervise that Club’s Rules and Committee’s SOP will align with the Club’s Declaration of Restrictions and By-Laws.

IH doesn’t have a Legal and Enforcement Manager, and IH Work Manager is not qualified to and cannot carry out the Legal and Enforcement tasks.

The Legal and Enforcement Manager should be “appointed by the people” (The Owners), not the “Local Government” (The Club’s BOD). He can be proposed by the Club’s BOD or any Owner but must be voted in and approved by the owners and can’t be dismissed or replaced by the Club’s BOD without the owners’ approval.

Unless done, the Club will accumulate more court cases and legal costs.

Indian Hammock Homeowners Group

The Indian Hammock Hunt and Riding Club, Inc (the Club) is a Florida corporation formed on December 20, 1973.
In 1973 the Club filed Three governing documents:

  1. Articles of Incorporation.
  2. Declaration of Restrictions. (Amended and restated later, on November 2, 1998)
  3. The By Law.

These three documents established a governing system (the System) for the operation and governing of the Club.
A Forth Document, The Book of Rules or Club Rules, appeared much later.
It was not created with legal expertise and was changed and rewritten at will by the Club’s various Board of Directors.

The System was created to govern members utilizing the Club amenities like Hunting, Horse riding, Shooting, and Flying small Airplanes. Those members were camping on the bought lots or in weekend retreat bungalows.
No one can purchase a lot or a home in Indian Hammock without joining the Club.

About a quarter of Indian Hammock’s 3,600 acres was sold to members. The Club owns the remaining three quarters, with an obligation to manage the common areas for the benefit of all the members.
The members have “Ownership” of the common areas and the right to use them via their memberships in the Club.

Things have changed in half a century; we are now primarily a Residential Community of Homeowners, many living in Indian Hammock full time.
The System is unsuitable for Homeowners living in Indian Hammock full-time or part-time.

Over the years, the System developed a Club’s lawless culture, creating injustices like:

I am calling for forming an Indian Hammock Homeowners Group (the Group), consisting of homeowners who are ready to work together to change the existing System while following and obeying the three documents of 1973.

Until the System is changed, the Group will finance obtaining legal advice and take legal actions whenever the Club acts illegally or unjustly.

The Indian Hammock “Condo Commando”

I was one of the recipients of chain of emails sent today by Ashley Zito.
I want to share it with Indian Hammock owners.

Dear Sandy,

FYI: I am glad that you finally decided to read IH Declarations to see the definition of what constitutes “Family” and what family can access in the community of Indian Hammock. This is what Stephanie Barnes and others have been saying to you all along. For the last year, I have been told that I am not allowed at the stables when I show up to feed my own horse and have recently been told that I am not even allowed to come to a stable committee meeting. My family has been verbally harassed by one of Indian Hammock’s own board members regarding me not being able to operate a side by side in this community, despite the fact that my husband of 13 years and mother whom we currently reside with both own properties here. Not to mention, there are countless other family members of this community that have been utilizing Indian Hammock amenities for years before you and I ever moved here. I do not think I am alone in saying that more than just myself want family to enjoy amenities in Indian Hammock. The inception of this community centered on that very purpose. Your verbal and written threats to send us violation letters regarding us breaking the rules for me driving to the stables to feed my own horse, were completely uncalled for. You certainly owe me and my family an apology as we continue to advocate for fair and just treatment for all members and family that hope to continue to enjoy Indian Hammock. 


 Ashley Zito 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the last few weeks I have had several questions/requests to allow family members (as defined in the Declarations and the rules) to go to the stable without being accompanied by the boarder. Most of the requests have been for adult children, but the Zitos would like for us to allow spouses also.
The SOP does not address family members at all. My proposal to you is to include a category for family members in the SOP. I am proposing that we allow adult family members who live with the boarder access to the stable to ride and care for their horses.
I have added the family category to the SOP that is attached to this email. See what you think. We can discuss it on Saturday.

In the Declarations, Article 1  – this is the definition of a family

(h) “Family” means a natural person, his or her spouse, the children,
grandchildren, parents and the grandparents of each and their spouses.

The rules further define family and what they can access.

1.6.12. “Family”; is what is defined in the Declarations of restrictions and living with the
owner/member and the owner/member has given written permission for Family to
use roads and certain amenities and/or activities.

From: “Sandy Steinruck” <>
To: “Joe Zito” <>
Cc: <>
Subject: Re: Subject: Re: Permission Granted for (Boarding Horse) “Galahad” Zito
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2021 12:26:25 -0700

Joe, I submitted the violation.

Talk to you soon,

Sandy Steinruck
Indian Hammock Hunt and Riding Club

— wrote:

From: “” <>
To: “IH Manager” <>, “Sandy Steinruck” <>
Subject: Subject: Re: Permission Granted for (Boarding Horse) “Galahad” Zito
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2021 05:41:35 -0700

Sandy,Based on the information that you shared with me at yesterdays board meeting you stated that the reason that you are not able to appoint me as a stables chair is because of the fact that my wife “Ashley” is in violation of the rules because she has been visiting the stables as a guest. If that is true and your sure of this I ask that you please file a formal complaint against us for this violation. That way we can resolve this and move on with it. If she is not in violation of the rules then I ask that you drop this issue entirely and appoint me as co-chair as you previous stated that you would at the close of our July 3rd stables meeting. This is really a simple issue and if you stand behind your words and decision now is the time to back it up. I eagerly await a prompt response back on this.

Joe ZitoBOD2021 

Joe, I am sorry if I hurt your feelings, as that was not my intention.Julio is very familiar with the horses and the stable and since we have had very few issues lately I think he will handle it just fine. As you recall I said I was concerned about having someone who did not live here and that was when you volunteered. Since I have gathered lots of information I think Julio will do fine, I don’t think we need co-chairs. There is not that much to do.

Unfortunately as you are aware we have this on-going issue with Ashley going to the stable as a guest. The rules clearly state that guests must be accompanied by a member at all times at the stable. I know you don’t like it. As a Board member it is our job to enforce the rules. Several people have had this same issue in the past. Each of them has fixed it by either being added to the deed or becoming a contractor with a license and insurance. Everyone else has followed the rules and several other stable boarders have complained about this, asking why she does not have to follow the rules. The answer is that she does have to follow the rules. We can not just change the rule because one member does not like it. It is the Committee Chair’s job to ensure others are following the rules. You can’t do that if your wife does not follow the rules.

I had the same issue with the Hunt Committee this year. The gentleman I wanted to chair the committee had cut a gate in the south fence line. Since he did not respect the rules I could not make him the chair person. How could he tell others to follow the rules when he was not following them?
Keep in mind that the role of the stable committee does not take much time and is very different than the role of the owner/manager of a stable. The owner/manager of a stable manages the employees and their work everyday. Our Stable Committee does not manage the employees or Bob. The employees do not work for the Stable Committee. I understand the confusion and several people have misunderstood the role of the Stable Committee. The Committee only makes recommendations regarding the horses and their quality of life. We don’t worry about how the employees do their jobs or what they do. That is Bob’s role. The stable committee is a group of boarders who can make recommendations to Bob and the Board on topics such as we discussed in the meeting on July 3. They look at items such as the facilities, communication, horse feed, fly spray, and how excess money is spent. They have no power, just lots of opinions relating to the health and safety of their horses. They also let Bob know if a boarder is not following the rules. In the last few years the Stable Committee has spent the excess stable funds from previous years and made several improvements at the stable. We added large pads in the west pastures to give the horses high spots to get out of the water, improved the drainage in the west pastures, planted 12 trees in the east pasture, provided shelter for the horses in all the pastures, added water and wash racks at the different barns, put concrete and mats in front of the tack room, put lights in the arena, put power and lights in the barns and bought hay for the last few years. This last year the Stable Committee recommended that the Hammock rebuild the paddocks at the horse hospital and at the east and west barns. At the last Finance Workshop I lobbied for the Arena, the fence around the north pasture and the bathroom in the Tack Room based upon the committee’s recommendations.

We don’t need co-chairs on the Stable committee, where we really need help is on the Equestrian Committee. That committee has a much larger role than the Stable committee. We talked about a Dressage ring – it would be the equestrian committee who would create that. We also need to increase the equestrian community involvement to encourage them to contribute money to pay for the arena improvement. The arena project will be led by an equestrian on the Equestrian Committee because it is for all equestrians not just the stable boarders. The Finance Committee offered $6000 via matching funds to purchase clay or other dirt to improve the footing in the arena.The employees with level and disc the arena for no additional cost. (That may change as we go through the approval process.) I think you offered to lead the effort at the meeting to define what needs to be done and to lead the fund raising. We need your help here and this is a better opportunity for you since you know something about arena footings and it gives you and opportunity to make a difference in the Hammock for all the equestrians. What do you think?

Sandy Steinruck
Indian Hammock Hunt and Riding Club

— wrote:

From: “” <>
To: “Sandy Steinruck” <>
Subject: Re: Permission Granted for (Boarding Horse) “Galahad” Zito
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2021 12:11:33 -0700

Sandy,Thank you for sending me that correction.Regarding the issue of non-boarders or Family members the SOP currently states that if Ashley adheres to one or any of the listed provisions stated in section #3. she has permission to care for our horse. It does not say that she has to obtain additional insurance. She is not an outsider and/or an additional liability to the hammock. She is a family member or in this case a “non boarder”. I’m not sure why this is such an issue? Maybe you can explain why my wife’s presence or her use of the stables is such an issue with you, Bob or anybody else?   Regarding your motion to remove me as co-chair,  I find this to be truly unprofessional, and utterly disrespectful. I personally show you and others the utmost respect regardless if I agree with your point of view or not. However, if I or somebody else doesn’t agree with your point of view or interpretation you are going to assert your authority and make changes to what was previously agreed to from our last meeting? I have been asked by many to Chair or Co-Chair this committee as I feel qualified and ready to help the stables to improve and to continue to approve in the upcoming months. I ask that you reconsider your motion to remove me as co-chair considering the way this has all played out. 
Joe ZitoBOD2021
— wrote:

From: “Sandy Steinruck” <>
To: “Sandy Steinruck” <>
Cc: <>, <>, <>
Subject: Re: Permission Granted for (Boarding Horse) “Galahad” Zito
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2021 17:12:22 -0700

Joe, In the Rules paragraph 2.3 states

2.3.All committee meetings shall be open to all Owners and/or permitted Family. Written minutes of each meeting shall be provided to the members of the Board monthly and kept on file at office. All actions of a Committee shall be done by recorded motion.

This means that Ashley is welcome to attend committee meetings even though she is not a member.

I apologize for the error.

Sandy Steinruck
Indian Hammock Hunt and Riding Club

— wrote:

From: “Sandy Steinruck” <>
To: “” <>
Cc: <>, <>
Subject: Re: Permission Granted for (Boarding Horse) “Galahad” Zito
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2021 12:59:02 -0700

Joe, i am sorry because you and I talked about this. It clearly says that no guest is allowed at the stable without a member accompanying them. The non-boarder statement does not contradict that. The non-boarder statement allows non-boarders to take care of other horses. It does not state that guests are allowed to take care of other horses.

This situation has occurred several times in the past. Joey Mohanna was added to George Abraham’s deed so she could keep horses at the stable and take care of them. Hilaire Hodgson and Katy Baker got their licenses and insurance so they could keep horses at the stable and take care of them. Eventually Katy’s name was added to the title on one of their lots. We have to be consistent and treat Ashley the same way we treated the other 3 ladies. Another option is for Ashley to get her license and insurance to care of horses at the stable.

Non-members are not allowed in any committee meetings or the board meetings. Because Ashley is not a member she is not invited to the stable committee meetings. The meeting we had a couple weeks ago was a meeting of the boarders and was not a committee meeting.

I am feeling much more comfortable with Juilio as the Stable Committee chair even though he is not a resident. At this point in time I don’t think we need a co-chair so Julio will be the Stable Committee Chair person. Thank you for volunteering.

Thank you,

Sandy Steinruck
Indian Hammock Hunt and Riding Club

— wrote:

From: “” <>
To: “IH Manager” <>, “Sandy Steinruck” <>
Subject: Re: Permission Granted for (Boarding Horse) “Galahad” Zito
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2021 07:04:33 -0700

Bob,I can see where it can be easily interpreted that any “non member” should not be given rights to the stables without written notice and supervision. However, Section 3 clearly states provisions for “non boarders” with any of the following qualifications (A,B,C,D) (ATTACHED)This SOP is poorly written, contradicts itself in places, and to be honest is not easily understood by many. That is why updating our current SOP is one of my agendas to clear things up to make all of our jobs easier moving forward. I hope this puts an end to any misunderstandings regarding my wife’s involvement at the stables for feeding and caring for our horses.

Joe ZitoBOD 2021 

— wrote:

From: IH Man;”””””””””””;’/ager <>
To:, Sandy Steinruck <>
Subject: Re: Permission Granted for (Boarding Horse) “Galahad” Zito
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2021 15:01:27 -0400

July 12, 2021Joe,On May 18th you sent to me a letter allowing your wife to care for your horses at the stables. After reviewing the stable sop, guests are not allowed in the stable area unless they are with a member border.
 The sop reads as follows, Under 1. b. All guests at the Indian Hammock stable and related equine facilities must have a signed liability release from the guest and written permission from the horse owner on file in the office. They must be accompanied by a Boarder at all times. Under 2.  .    The terms “visitor” and “guest” as used throughout these rules and procedures shall refer to anyone who is not a Member. 
The office has been trying to work with you and Ashley for some time now to have her put on the deed to approve her as a member. The last document we received from Ashley and Mrs. Sewell, was a warranty deed. This document looks to be filled out properly and all that needs to be done is to file it with the clerk of courts. Once that has been done we can then put her on the agenda for the board to approve her as a member. Until then unfortunately she is a guest/ family member. Stables, hunting, shooting sports are only allowed by members, and all guests must be accompanied by a boarder/member. 
If you have any questions or concerns please let me know.
Robert Baum,ManagerIndian Hammock Hunt & Riding Club, Inc.CAM41705

On Tue, May 18, 2021 at 12:17 PM <> wrote:
I, Joseph Zito,grant my wife, Ashley Zito, permission to care for our horse Galahad Zito at Indian Hammock Stables.Please keep this on file at the Indian Hammock Office for future reference.  Sincerely, Joseph Zito<Stable SOP V2 Updated July 2021.docx>