30 Years Later: A column

Most people remember Kim Walnes from her glory days in the ’80s, when she piloted The Gray Goose to international eventing success. On the 30th anniversary of her 1982 Rolex win, Kim has agreed to write a column for HN about horses and life.

Rather than forcing the ever-humble Kim to sing her own praises, we’ve asked Helene Gallagher, the mother of one of Kim’s students, to lead off:

From Helene:

Mention the name Mother Goose and most people fondly recall the childhood books full of nursery rhymes and fairy tales. The image is usually depicted as a maternal white goose with a comfy bonnet on her head. But if you were a follower of world-class eventing in the early ’80s that name took on a whole new meaning. Kim Walnes was nicknamed “Mother Goose” by U.S. team coach Jack LeGoff because she was a mother of two at the height of her riding fame. She and her equestrian soulmate, The Gray Goose, took the eventing world by storm in that decade and built a legendary partnership. It’s hard to believe that this year will be the 30th anniversary of their dynamic win at Rolex Kentucky event.

Kim & The Gray Goose. Photo by Peter Gower.


My daughter is lucky enough to board her horse at the same barn where Kim now stables her current mount, Gideon Goodheart, a descendant of Gray’s TB sire. An amazing horse in his own right, Gideon not only competes in upper level dressage, but is also a gentle school master and patient teacher for many of Kim’s current students. He is a stallion, yet the most well mannered boy in the barn–even among the geldings! He is so well behaved and obeys so many verbal commands of Kim’s that my daughter and I swear he’s human!  Gideon is the third generation of Kim’s breeding and she presided over his birth some 19 years ago. Kim and Gideon have formed a dynamic teaching team that helps riders of all levels and disciplines.

Kim teaching a Helene's daughter, Riley.

In the several months that Kim has been there she has shared some of her amazing memories, photos and videos of those glory days in the ’80s. What I find extraordinary about Kim is that she has transformed her talent, perseverance and commitment from her eventing career into becoming not only an excellent teacher, but a life mentor to many around the country. She is definitely not content to rest on past laurels. Kim uses all that she has experienced, the good and the bad, to help her clients move forward in their lives. Horses are therapeutic for her and Gideon is a great physician of the mind and soul, helping to heal many a rider than has been lucky enough to sit in his saddle. Kim logs in thousands of miles traveling around the United States giving clinics and is currently welcoming new students to attend lessons with her at her current location at Groveland Farm in Pipersville, PA. 

If you can’t get out to Pennsylvania for a one-on-one with Kim, you can still benefit from her expertise as she is poised to become a regular contributor to HORSE NATION! Make sure you look for Kim’s inspiring advice on life in and out of the saddle in the future. You can contact Kim directly, as well as read more about her amazing career and equestrian partners at her website www.TheWayOfTheHorse.com.

Kim & Gideon

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