Gideon Goodheart

I have never met a horse more consciously connected to humans than Gideon. In the course of our many years together, he has taught me every bit as much as I’ve taught him. Gideon truly cares about humans…and not just the ones he knows. He cares about humanity, and has made it his mission to help us realize that there is so much more to the world and its inhabitants than we’ve been led to believe.

The Gray grew into his role of Master Teacher. Gideon was born into it. He is about as gentle, careful, and helpful as a horse can get on the ground, and it carries over into his teaching and coaching of students.

Photo by Helen Gallager
Photo from Kim’s Personal Collection
Photo by Tom Yetter
Photo from Kim’s Personal Collection
Born almost two years after Andy’s abduction and murder, Gideon is the third generation of my breeding, all descended from The Gray Goose’s sire. His dam, The Lady Destiny, ended up carrying him for twelve months, and I stayed nightly in the old West Virginia “Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco” barn for each of those extra thirty days. Of course, she picked the morning I went home to take a shower to have him; however, she also waited for me to return before lying down and giving birth on May 25, 1993. Since she was far more peaceful and confident during the birth when I was in the stall, I sat down with her in the straw rather than my normal practice of staying outside unless there was trouble. Her cheering section also included The Gray Goose with his head over the open Dutch door holding the space of calm support, and two friends of mine keeping watch from the wooden aisle slightly above her.

“Release the fear of being cast out of your herd for being different in the way you relate to us…for being who your heart asks you to be.”

— Gideon Goodheart

The moment finally arrived. This new being slid partially out and while his mother took a break, I broke the sac and cleared his nostrils. He threw his little wet head around, opened his eyes, looked straight into mine and said into my brain, as clear as a bell, “Here I am, and I’m here for you.”

To say I was stunned would be putting it mildly! Then he put his head down, and Destiny finished the birth process. He named himself Gideon that first day, and a good friend of mine came up with “Goodheart,” which he has certainly lived up to.

I had a list of things I had prayed that this foal would be: a good size for my older years (luckily I bred his 16:2 h dam to a 14:2 h Connemara pony, because he turned out to be a little over 15:3!); an unusual color that also did not show dirt (after twenty-five years of cleaning The Gray Goose that was important!); a great temperament; and a mare. I got all but one. I was dismayed to see that he was a colt and not a filly, for I planned to keep this bloodline going. I had to think long and hard about this, for I could tell right from the beginning that Gideon was not going to be like other youngsters and take until his second or third year to become stallion-like in his behavior. He was a herd protector right from birth, and obviously was an old soul who knew exactly what he had to do to fulfill his duties.

Photo by Linda Bayne
Photo by Sal Paradysz
Photo by Sal Paradysz

I was with him daily for his first seven months. He had what I call “wild” instincts, which were quite strong. He would buck if you laid your hand on his croup (because one day it might be a mountain lion up there), was very aware of everything in a calm way, and had a clear sense of what he considered to be right and wrong. If what you thought was “right” (like picking a foot up for cleaning) was something he considered “wrong,” he was quite clear about it! Luckily, he was not a big colt, and we could persuade him that perhaps there was a good reason for these things we were doing “to” him. I quickly learned that I had to be very clear and confident when with him. Most foals are pretty malleable, but not this one! I had thought I was skilled in working with foals, but Gideon had a whole lot more to add to my “toolbox.”

Quite early on my inner voice insisted that I ride Destiny with him alongside. I had the feeling that he was going to label that as “wrong” and protest, and I was correct. Sure enough, after staring at us a moment and taking in the fact that I was astride his mom, he came right over, reared up, and tried to knock me off with his front legs. He was too short and small to do any damage, and I let Destiny be the one to tell him that that was inappropriate behavior.

I had no experience whatsoever with stallions, so I bought any book I could find and began to look for articles and asking people questions. Alas I found nothing that agreed with my training philosophies. The only line that resonated with me was this: “An aroused stallion is a force of nature.” I could feel that in my bones. I also knew that keeping a stallion would be a huge responsibility, and that Gideon would have to be boarded and thus extra reliable and safe to handle. Here I was at the age of 45, yet again, embarking on an entirely new path with horses and once again having to navigate on my own. Not exactly what I had envisioned when I set out to breed my mare to get my elder years’ horse!

Photo by Linda Bayne
Photo by Deb Persson

Right from the beginning, Gideon stepped into his Teacher role. The Gray Goose had prepared the way, but I was in whole new territory with Gideon. If Gray didn’t like something, he would try to run away from it. Gideon approaches anything he doesn’t understand head on and pushes both mentally and physically on it…including me. I quickly learned to become a calm and fair Lead Mare, and thankfully he responded well to that. I also learned how to put into words the gestalt messages he would “download”… awarenesses that came from scenes he would plant in my head that were multi-sensory and had strong feelings. Mr. Goodheart has pushed me into a whole new world and way of being, and I’ll be forever grateful.

When Gideon turned seven months, I had to return to Pennsylvania from West Virginia. I could find no place to bring The Gray plus a mare and foal, so I found a large farm in Virginia that kept horses in a huge field as a herd, and brought them there on my way back. Gideon spent the next several years roaming free in various situations, always with a companion gelding so he would learn horse manners. I would visit with him several times a year to continue his basic education of leading, human manners, and how to handle himself with balance and alignment on unlevel footing and over poles on the ground. The owners of the farm made sure that his feet were trimmed, he had his injections, and that he was daily checked for any injuries.

He was four and a half before I found a place that would take both a now twenty-seven year old Gray and a young and rowdy stallion. As fate would have it, my dad had to have unexpected six-bypass heart surgery the day I traveled by myself to Maine from Pennsylvania to pick him up and turn right around to bring him back. Poor Gideon, and poor Tom the stable owner. After this long journey, I had to just drop him off in this strange place with people new to him, and immediately take off for North Carolina. I said a lot of prayers that everyone would make the transition well; especially since I ended up being gone for a whole month.

By the time I was able to return, Gideon had become adjusted to living in a stall at night, but his manners had taken a nosedive. No one would turn a horse out with him, and he was confused why he could not join others. I tried with The Gray upon my return, but Gideon wanted to play and Gray felt too vulnerable for that. It was a tough adjustment for both of us. Being around Gid reminded me of my days of raising my children when they were toddlers…only I was now forty-nine, and I didn’t have the stamina of those years! The barn was a round trip of an hour and a half, and I would be so exhausted after working with Gid that I would have to take a nap.

Photo from Kim’s Personal Collection
Photo from Kim’s Personal Collection
Photo from Kim’s Personal Collection
Gradually, however, we both made progress, and it was not long before I was riding him. Before mounting for the first time, I did a lot of confidence building with him on the ground, which also reinforced his focusing on and trusting me. I had to do all my work with him surrounded by others riding, and sometimes there were mares. There was an indoor to use, but the outdoor was our favorite, and it was not enclosed. Previously when I’d worked with foals and young unstarted horses I’d had help. This time I was solo except for the times I could talk someone into giving me a hand with something. Gideon loved our sessions, though he also had to teach me new ways of interacting with him. He sent me to audit many clinics, I would come home and try what I’d seen and learned with him, and he would either approve or send me back out for further education. How wonderful! I felt like I had a whole new lease on life with all these new skills.

Over the years, we did some low level Eventing (he did well, but his heart was not singing), then embarked on a career of Dressage. Gid either won or placed in the top three in all his classes right through Fourth Level. He loved the precision of work done correctly, and the learning of how to move and carry his body differently. On his own, he became quite the Tai Chi Master, applying what he learned in our sessions to situations when he was by himself. Now that we are both in our elder years, we have shifted our focus to helping others understand what it is that horses need from us, both on the ground and in the saddle.

Photo from Joan Summers
Photo from Sal Paradysz
Photo from Kim’s Personal Collection
Photo from Patti Klein
Photo from Janet Cohen
Mr. Goodheart has always shone the brightest in Life Coaching sessions with me interpreting for him. I will let Gideon finish his story in his own words:

“I’ll never forget the day when Kim realized that I had a greater purpose with her than riding and competition. I was seven years old, it was The Gray Goose’s thirtieth birthday party, and I was having fun giving “pony rides” to the boarders and their parents as a party favor. Patiently, I lined up on the mounting block as each person mounted up and Kim led me around the arena. The very last person, however, was a mother of one of the boarders, and I absolutely refused to move when Kim began to walk away. She stopped and turned around, questioning me, for it was a very cold January day and the humans were getting tired by this point.

Photo from Deb Persson
Photo from Patti Klein

I could see her looking the situation over and not understanding why I was not complying as before. She could tell I was not upset or hurting, and I had a calm expression. I knew she did not understand at all, so I “spoke” into her mind as I do when she is really confused. “She is afraid,” I said. I could see surprise and some doubt register in Kim, but she came back over to the lady, put her hand on her knee, and began to talk to her. The lady softened as the truth came out, and eventually she was ready to move. At that point I willingly went forward at a calm and supportive walk around the ring, and the lady was beaming when she dismounted.

Kim came to me afterwards, and told me that she now saw a very different side to me. I told her this was my main mission, which she not only heard but totally honored. Five years later I insisted she go to Life Coaching School so she could better interpret and partner with me in my desire to help humans remember and live from the Truth with which they are born.

Photo by  Patti Klein
In addition to helping humans heal their hearts, I also educate folks that stallions, when treated with dignity and respect, are the essence of kindness coupled with power, and that we put a high emphasis on protection, clarity, and teaching. Most humans I meet have really separated themselves from Nature…from the Connection that all other beings share with one another. We non-humans are way more intelligent than you have been taught, and we understand far more than you may believe. We are reaching out to you…can you hear us?”
Photo by Linda Bayne

Gideon’s Messages

An Introduction to Gideon’s Messages

Gideon showed me very early on that he was very attuned to not only the physical world, as a stallion should be, but also to humans and their emotional states, not to mention that of the world in general. It took quite a bit of getting used to, and he was patient yet...

On the Subject of Mud

While sitting in my meditation chair, an image of Gideon came into my head, stepping high as he mindfully and carefully walked through the unbelievably deep mud we are experiencing at the moment.  As I was wondering why that image popped in, he began to expound on his...

On Being a Champion

Kim and I have both been champions in competition, and it sure feels good to know that we have done our very best. However, that is not the type of champion that I am talking about here. I mean the word in the sense of an action: to champion another. To hold the space...

The Blossoming of Hope

These are times of Change, during which we are being asked to make significant choices during our daily lives.  I’ve noticed that Hope (most definitely spoken with a capital H!) is a word heard, seen, and felt more often .  I’ve also noticed that no matter what the...

“Love is misunderstood to be an emotion; actually, it is a state of awareness, a way of being in the world, a way of seeing oneself and others.”

— David R. Hawkins

Learn from Kim

One of my greatest joys is passing along the vast array of knowledge I have received from amazing teachers in my life–both equine and human.

Photo by Marshall Thacker

Contact Kim Now

Reach out through this form!

13 + 12 =