This summer, a familiar face will welcome campers. Greg Gill, who has been with the Horsemanship Program for several years, has taken the reins of leadership as Horsemanship Director. Past Director, Mark Skipton has accepted a call to a Camp outside of San Diego where he will be closer to kids and grandkids.
We sat down with Greg Gill, the new Horsemanship Director, and asked some of the questions we thought our campers would be dying to know. Greg, ever the bright-eyed cowboy, let us have a glimpse into his past and his hopes for the future.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: Aberdeen, Washington, which is right next to Cosmopolis. Actually, you just head down to Olympia and hang a right till you hit the beach.
Q: What kind of kid were you?
A: I was kind of a wild kid. I’m the youngest of three. I jumped off things and tried to rope things off my bicycle. That was how I learned to rope. Off my bicycle.
Q: What got you into horsemanship?
A: I always wanted to be a cowboy ever since I can remember. My sister had a horse and my dad loves horses. I really didn’t think being a cowboy was going to be probable after we sold our horse. So I went to auto mechanic school. The summer of 2009, I had a free summer and my dad suggested I be a wrangler here (Warm Beach Camp). I sent in an application and got a call from Skip (Past Director, Mark Skipton) and he asked me some really simple questions about riding and I didn’t answer them correctly and…he didn’t hire me as a wrangler. So the first summer, I was a horse camp counselor. It was fun but I spent all my free time at the horse barn. I finished auto mechanic school and came back in 2010 as a wrangler and then stayed on as an intern, and then as the Assistant Director of the Horsemanship Program.
Q: Do you have a favorite horse at the camp?
A: Yeah, his name’s Eban. He’s pretty cool. When we got him, he was pretty crazy. You couldn’t even keep a saddle on him. Now we can use him in the trail string. He was how I learned to ride. Skip just put me on him and put me in the round pen and said, “Go for it.”
Q: Do horses have a sense of humor?
A: Yeah, I think so. We have one horse that when you let him out into the arena, he’ll pick up one of the ground poles and start whacking the other horses with it. He really enjoys doing that. He does it with traffic cones too. But they like playing with him. The other horses will get in a tug-of-war with him. And I think they think it’s funny when you fall off.
Q: Do you have a most embarrassing story?
A: Oh yeah, a bunch. I was on this trail ride with a bunch of high schoolers and I turned around talking to them about some stupid movie and three kids ran right out in front of me and scared Eban, my horse. He spun around and started running the other direction and I flew off into the bushes. All the other kids stayed on their horses. It was kind of embarrassing.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about working with Warm Beach Camp’s Horsemanship Program?
A: I enjoy doing the chapels a lot. Especially when you can tell that, wow, this is really clicking with people. This time of year, I also enjoy spending time with the volunteers at the barn.
Q: Heading into the future, what is your focus for the Horsemanship Program in your new role as Director?
A: I’d like to develop a bigger English riding program, and just a bigger lesson program in general, maybe some bare back and jumping as well. I’d like to add more riding time to the summer camp schedule and put in more diversity of riding disciplines to the camp program, especially the upper levels.
Q: If you weren’t in horsemanship what would you be doing?
A: Well, I like surfing a lot but I’d really like to be a pastor. So, I’d probably be focusing on that.
Keep an eye out for more insights into this summer’s Horsemanship Camps. Space is available for summer sessions now! Horsemanship Camps