Kim Walnes and her horse-of-a-lifetime The Gray Goose overcame challenges to rise to the top of their sport in the '80s.
From the USEA Hall of Fame, into which The Gray Goose was inducted in 2012:
As a youngster, this seven-eighths bred Irish horse was not everyone’s cup of tea, at least not until Kim Walnes found him in a yard in Ireland and saw something very special in him. Despite many bucks and spooks and just plain naughtiness, Kim persevered and succeeded in producing the superstar event horse of the eighties. In 1982, The Gray Goose carried Kim to an individual and team bronze medal at the Luhmuhlen World Championships. In 1984, the pair placed third at the Olympic Selection Trials held at the Kentucky Three-day Event and were the reserves for the US Team at the Los Angeles Olympic Games. In 1985, The Gray Goose and Kim placed second at Boekelo helping the US Team to a first place finish. These successes and his performances at the national level created a huge following of fans for The Gray Goose and their loyalty to “Gray” continues to this day. Gray was also a movie star; next time you watch the movie Sylvester, look closely at the horse and rider on the cross-country course. That is The Gray Goose and the woman who had the faith, the love, and the ability to see his innate talent, develop it, and take him to the very top of the sport making a legend out of him along the way.
The Gray Goose passed away in 2000 at the spry age of 30 and was buried near the Head of the Lake on the Rolex cross-country course. Kim is still active in the equestrian community, writing, conducting clinics and teaching lessons at Groveland Farm in Pipersville, Pa.
HN's longtime friend Helene Gallagher, whose daughter Riley has trained with her, has only praise for Kim: “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.”
Kim teaching Helene's daughter, Riley.
Read more about Kim's amazing career and equestrian partners at her website TheWayOfTheHorse.com.
Go Kim, Go Gray Goose and Go Riding!
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