Gillian Larson grew up in the canyons of Topanga, California, where she began exploring the outdoors on horseback at age seven.
By the time she was 13, she had acquired a spirited quarter horse mare whose boundless energy greatly expanded her horizons. She later bred the mare and raised the colt, taking both horses with her to college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. After graduating with a degree in biology, Gillian became the youngest woman to solo thru-ride the Pacific Crest Trail, covering the 2650 miles from Mexico to Canada alone with her horses first in 2014, then again in 2016.
After that, she went on to ride the Arizona Trail and the Colorado Trail in 2017, then completed another Mexico-to-Canada route on the Continental Divide Trail in 2018. She was the first person to thru-ride both the PCT and the CDT—eventually accumulating more than 10,000 backcountry wilderness miles with the same two horses.
Gillian has embraced an ethos of long-distance wilderness equestrian travel that blends a love of the outdoors with respect and care for her amazing equine partners. Her herd has recently evolved to include a Percheron-cross mule and an Arabian mare. She maintains a focus on learning how to navigate the many challenges of wilderness riding and sharing this information with others who long to explore backcountry trails on horseback.
Gillian’s passion for the animals she works with and her love of the outdoors and seeing nature from a different perspective keep her always looking ahead toward the next trail.