Although he does some modelling, Gill is one half of team A in Equestrian in Madrid and spends most of his time travelling around Europe giving lessons and offering training workshops. The other half of Gill is a businessman and model.
Lucky for me, Nicholas and I have become “virtual” friends. He graciously consented to appear on the covers of two of my books, and he answered some questions for BSHome.net
How old were you when you started riding, and who taught you?
I was 19 when I started at a riding school in Spain. I rode there for three years and then I got my own horse, Hugo. It was always a lot of fun!
You’ve ridden dressage, jumpers, and even field hunted. How did you get started with the liberty training you’re currently doing?
Riding wasn’t always easy and I was really struggling, so I started doing little tricks and my teacher Alma was incredible. After the tricks I realized that a different way of learning existed, learning from the horse and having fun. So I continued, and I found my balance. Still so grateful!!
You’re one half of the training and performing in competitions all over Spain how did you meet all these people in the horse industry, your fellow trainer? How long have you been working together?
I’ve worked with Alma since August 2019. We met each other through contacts, which was similar to how I got into my competition career while living in Spain. We had a lot of fun as friends and I started doing small shows together, and we’re still going. Super fun to be able to show that anyone can do it, with any kind of horse.
What are your goals as a trainer?
As a trainer, first of all, I really want to do good to the horse. I want to keep learning from the horses, and to share my experiences with people. And because I’m working with a lot of people and horses, I learn more and more every day. I also really want everyone to remember the reason why they started working with horses. FUN and passion! Never forget that, and never let expectations ruin that! Enjoy the fact that we are able to work together with such a special animal.
What do you consider the most important element of training (if there is one)?
Work positively with your horse. Trust them. Try to let go, think less, and feel more. Positivity works much better. You’re asking your horse to do things for you, but if they won’t give you the right answer straight away, try to explain it better. Find your way to the right answer together. There’s nothing like the feeling of being in it together. Take all the time you need with it. You will forever be grateful!
Have there been any special challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have to overcome new ones every day (laughs). Every day I know that I can do better, or listen more, or try different options. Be creative and open-minded. For me it’s a good thing to always remember that frustration is human, and don’t blame it on your horse. Take a deep breath and stay positive! Hold on to the good. Also, there isn’t just one way. There are a lot of ways!!
You obviously have a very special relationship with your mare Andorra. Can you tell us a bit about her and your other horses?
Andorra is my amazing, wise, and extremely special horse. Look in her eyes and you will never argue with me about this. She taught me so much and she never lets me down. In the beginning, it was really hard and she tried to tell me that I had to respect her, and let her speak as well because otherwise it was a “no.” She made me realize that, and if you think about it logically it makes perfect sense! Horses love to do many different things and to get the best out of everything. Andorra is really special and means a lot to me!
I also have a very sweet Thoroughbred and a German stallion Hugo, and is completely different from Carbon. He is more busy, and really funny as well! He loves to play and have fun!
Before Carbon, was really intense but now he’s getting better and I’m understanding him more. He came from Spain and everything was new to him. When he acted crazy, I just needed to relax and show him that I wasn’t mad and wouldn’t fight him. He needed to realize that I want him as a friend! I’m very excited to walk this path with him. Every day I learn so much from all of them.
I also ride three other German horses. A mare and two geldings. I train them for dressage and jumping. It’s really good for me to learn more in riding; I think that doing a lot of different things helps everything get easier. They are all very different, sweet and beautiful I’ve tried many ways of dealing with them. They really want to work, but sometimes we need to relax, to just stick to one thing and not try 100 things at once. I love them to pieces!
What are your dreams for the future?
In the future, I hope that I’ll be able to continue doing shows, meeting amazing horses and people, and be a part of this lifestyle. I have been fortunate to be sponsored by ….. every day, I’m grateful I can do this, and I hope to continue for a long time but of course business sometimes takes over. Maybe one day with a property that would allow me to do things in the best possible way!
Nicholas Gill is most active on Instagram, where you can discover more of his work. @nicholaspgill