Sheer Will and Determination: The Story of Eventer Kim Walnes and Her Extraordinary Horse The Gray Goose

By Doris Degner-Foster It seems like an impossible story: A young housewife in the 1970s with two small children had a dream of riding her horse over the highest cross-country jumps as a member of …


I first "met" Kim Walnes online, and later in-person last month, at my friend’s barn in Virginia. Kim felt like a kindred spirit, from the very first moment I met her. She inspires me, not just as the extraordinary rider and trainer she is, and with all she has accomplished as an equestrian, but equally as a human being. She has navigated glorious highs, and deep, tragic lows in her life. Like her, we lost a daughter, albeit in different circumstances. In spite of it all, she has remained positive, and she continues with warmth, love, and a huge, generous heart.

Kim is a spark of light and a gift to all who meet her:  horses, animals, people. She is my mentor. Like Kim, my father was in the military. We had limited means, and when we moved, I rode whatever horse I could find, and was given to ride. And today, like Kim was when she started many years ago, I am a Mom of two kids–and here I am at the age of 46, still dreaming of owning my first horse, and with little-to-no formal training and only years of catch riding under my belt, perhaps some day competing in Eventing, I want it so badly, I can taste it. Thank you, Kim!


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