(© Kim Walnes 2018. Photographs are captured from the documentary film Riding for America: The Olympic Equestrian Team, directed by David Hoffman. NOTE FROM KIP MISTRAL: Please see details about the proposed new documentary film project about Kim’s remarkable career “The Mother Goose Project” on its Kickstarter campaign page. Only 15 days to go to successfully fund the campaign by Monday February 12, 2018! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/932529734/the-mother-goose-project-wrkg-title-for-film-stage)
Whenever I sit down to watch David Hoffman’s brilliant and still applicable documentary Riding for America: The Olympic Equestrian Team with other folks, I always have them pause the DVD at the point where we are beginning Phase A. In the YouTube clip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgPuXg75ISk&feature=youtu.be ), it is the opening scene. I feel it’s essential for people watching to understand what is taking place when The Gray Goose dances during the countdown and I begin to talk to him as we cross the Start Line upon the word “Go!”.
(© 2108 Kip Mistral. All Rights Reserved.)
One soft spring morning long ago, air perfumed with the fragrant blossoms of our home’s citrus orchard, I stood with my back to the living room screen door I had left open as I concentrated on a phone conversation with my mother. Yes, I assured her; I had finished vacuuming the house and was now shaking rugs on the back porch. Suddenly, I felt warm breath on the back of my neck. I froze in fear—I knew I was alone in our house! Dropping the phone, I shrieked as I whipped around to face the intruder.
(© by Kim Walnes 2017. Photograph by Elizabeth Preznikoff.)
I have always loved this photo. It speaks to something in the heart…that dream all us horse girls have had of the winged white horse who comes to us, invites us to mount, and carries us off through the air to the fulfillment of all our wishes.
The Gray Goose might as well have had wings…I’ve never sat on such immense yet smooth power. His long back made the ride comfortable, and he didn’t have any trouble jumping over pretty much anything that came in his path. When he left out strides, which we both loved to do, it truly was like flying.
(© Kip Mistral. First published in Equine Journal, August 2009. This article won a Second Place for Personality Profile in the 2010 American Horse Publication Annual Awards Program. Photographs courtesy of Sheila McLevedge.)
No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of our knowledge…If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.
~ Kahlil Gibran
An elegant silver-haired man and his silver horse proudly advance across still-green autumn grass, rusty-golden fall foliage rimming a field in the background. Rein gently slackened, the powerful horse in beautiful balance and collection, together they present the image of the quintessential ride… a moment of grace, of union between man and horse. The picture draws us in, symbolizing the quest so seductive to equestrians through time who have sought to share a moment of grace and union with their horses.
(© By Tye MacDonald 2017.)
I don’t remember the first time I saw a horse. It was probably before I could talk, as their look, smell, and feel has always been familiar. I remember watching horses running in a pasture as a little boy and feeling something hard to put into words. I wanted something with a horse, perhaps to be a horse, or to be part of a horse. I would guess many of us as children first see a horse, watch it running, recognize its beauty and feel its excitement. As children, our hearts and our imaginations are still wide open and so we are left with an inexpressible want. Not a desire to go fast or to dominate, rather it is as if we see the face of God in a running horse and feel something almost like a longing for home.