Adam Goodfellow, Monty Robers and Nicole Golding
“At the heart of their journey, as in mine, lies a burning desire to do what’s right for the horse.”
– Monty Roberts
Born in 1969, Adam Goodfellow and Nicole Golding met while studying at Cambridge University in 1988. Nicole’s lifelong ambition to own a horse was finally fulfilled when Adam bought her Sensi during their second year, and his interest in horses was mildly kindled. He learned to ride and in the early 1990’s they started Sensi’s School, probably the smallest riding school in the world.
Meeting Monty Roberts in 1996 changed everything for both of them. Nicole was able to turn her back on the dominant methods taught in her childhood that she’d never been happy with, and Adam suddenly found that communicating with horses in their own language was immensely more rewarding and interesting than knowing the difference between various types of bit!
Nicole was one of the first ever (1996) students on the Monty Roberts Preliminary Certificate of Horsemanship, and went on to help Kelly Marks with these courses, becoming a teacher in the methods almost immediately.
As well as their degrees in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge, both Nicole and Adam have a qualification in Teaching Adults in Further Education. Their expertise in teaching has been greatly enhanced from studying in Mary Wanless’ Teacher Training courses. Adam also has a qualification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, which he used to good effect for several years as a teacher in a Japanese school in Milton Keynes. Both love to read, Nicole being especially interested in psychology, Adam in history. Her pastimes include knitting, cooking, cats, tea, piano and Strictly Come Dancing; his include playing guitar in his rock band SCSI, Manchester United (strangely enough!), and trees including ancient trees, planting and felling for the wood burner.
Since completing their Monty Roberts Preliminary Certificate of Horsemanship Adam and Nicole have gone on to help literally hundreds of people and their horses, solving seemingly insurmountable problems. In 1998 they moved to Gloucestershire, where they set up a yard in the picturesque surroundings of Moor Wood stables. They were among the first of Kelly Marks’s students to become Intelligent Horsemanship Recommended Trainers.
In 2001 Nicole and Adam were approached by Ebury Press, and asked to write a book about what it was like being “horse whisperers”. The result was their first book, Whispering Back, which has been continuously in print ever since, and has sold about 20,000 copies. Described as an autobiography with horses, it describes their journey into horsemanship, meeting and working with Monty and Kelly, and many of the wonderful horses they have met. [click here to buy signed, discounted copies of both their books, or subscribe to the newsletter to download sample chapters]
Their second book, Born to Whisper, takes up their story from 2003- 2009. Always intrigued by different approaches, they have continued to be avid students. As well as Monty, other influences, notably
Craig Stevens and Mark Rashid, have contributed enormously to their understanding of horses and horsemanship, and Adam and Nicole have developed their own unique blend of methods and techniques, integrated into a cohesive approach, that they feel offers the most optimal and ethical training system. Along the way, they have learned rather more than they wanted to about the effects of poorly fitting saddles, unbalanced feet, and compromised movement.
Becoming parents – another major theme in Born to Whisper – has made their lives even more hectic and fulfilling, and not surprisingly they have some not entirely mainstream views about parenting, too! Both their children (Marley, 2007, and Layla, 2009) were born in the barn at Moor Wood, and have been home-educated.
Very sadly indeed, Sensi died in 2016, after 25 glorious years in our lives, aged 28. Cobweb died a few weeks later, at the stunning age of 41. Misty died in 2022, and Finn in 2023, leaving Karma as the sole survivor of the original herd, although she is also somewhat aged, being in her mid-twenties or so!
In 2018, Adam and Nicole received 6 months notice to leave Moor Wood, their home and business base of 20 years. This was devastating news for them and the little community for whom the Moor Wood magic was a haven, but they were able to find some stunning land for the horses, and continue to help owners, albeit without the option to take horses in.
Nicole and Adam are so pleased to have an exciting new way to share their knowledge and expertise with as many people as possible. Whispering Back Online is an interactive library of information and learning, documenting just about everything they have learned (and continue to learn) about horses in the last thirty years or so! Click here to find out more!