Gillian Larson and her equine partners have accomplished numerous long distance solo rides on remote wilderness trails in the U.S. Together they have traveled from Mexico to Canada three times: twice on the Pacific Crest Trail (2014 and 2016) and most recently on the Continental Divide Trail (2018).
Gillian has also completed the Arizona Trail and the Colorado Trail in 2017 and rode from the Grand Canyon across Utah to Wyoming in 2019.
Since embarking on her first thru-ride at age 22, Gillian’s main goal has been to learn how to mitigate the many challenges of wilderness riding through proper planning and preparation, and to share this information to help others safely explore backcountry trails on horseback.
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- Growing up in a horsey family
- Leaning to ride on a shetland pony
- Her passion for reptiles
- Going on her first overnight with the horses
- Going on the Pacific Crest Trail as her first challenge
- Why the PCT?
- Studying biology and going to grad school fro ecology and evolution with a focus on reptiles
- How to thru-ride with horses
- The logistics of the challenge
- Why its so hard to thru-ride the PCT
- The costs involved
- 2 trucks and 2 trailers
- Having to wait for the snow to melt
- Figuring out the resupply and keeping your horse well fed
- Why horses need quantity of food and not just quality
- To have a dedicated support person who drives the truck and meet you on the trail
- Why June is such an important month on the thru-ride
- Dealing with the wildlife on the trail
- Her horses - Shyla and Dakota
- Learning her craft
- The difference between hiking and riding
- Making sure you get the right saddle
- Relaxing ?
- Averaging about 25 miles per day with 2 days off per week for the horses
- Magical moments on the trail
- Loving camp life
- Snuggling with the horses?
- How horses sleep
- Earning a living
- Being an egg donor to fund her lifestyle
- Turning 29 and going back to grad school
- The dream list of thru-riding
- Final words of advice