Gillian Larson grew up in the canyons and hills of Topanga, California, where she began exploring the outdoors on her first horse at age 7. By 13, she had acquired a spirited Quarter horse mare whose boundless energy greatly expanded their 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 person 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—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.
Since that first thru-ride adventure, 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, an Arabian mare, and three Morgan fillies, but she maintains her 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.
Her 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 towards the next trail.