When Allison Gill, known as Alli, was six-years- old she wanted to ride ponies. Her parents signed her up for riding lessons and soon Alli was hooked.
She focused intently on her riding instructor, especially when given direction: keep your heels down, chest up, leg quiet. Alli spent months practicing her flat work before she ever trotted a crossrail. She soon began showing at Memphis- area Hunter/ Jumper schooling shows, and by age nine she was Megford Schooling Show Rider of the Year. Alli started fox hunting at age 10 with Oak Grove Hunt Club and then focused 100% of her riding on Eventing.
In 2020 Alli and her Chincoteague pony qualified for USEA American Eventing Championship, but sadly the event was canceled due to COVID-19. Alli focused and continued to train. The duo moved up to Novice and qualified for AEC again in 2021.
For the past two years Alli has been training her now seven-year-old OTTB. She trains tirelessly, attending clinics and shows and has progressed from starter to competing in her first USEA Training Level event in 2022. Lisa Gill, Alli’s mom, says, “This young lady sets goals and makes a plan to achieve them one step at a time.”
In this Q&A Alli reveals her love for the sport, where she finds motivation and how her trainers help inspire her to work towards each goal she has for herself and her horse.
How old are you and how long have you been riding?
I am 16-years-old, and I have been riding for almost 11 years.
What is your horse’s name and what breed is he/she?
My horse Tessa is an off the track Thoroughbred.
What is it about horses that makes you want to ride?
I love the unique partnership and team in this sport. It isn’t found anywhere else, and I ride for the little me that fell in love with everything about horses and my love for them now.
What is your biggest accomplishment with your horse?
Moving Tessa up to Training Level this season was a huge accomplishment, especially because I have trained her since she came off the track.
Tell us the biggest challenge you had with a horse?
Two years ago Tessa had an accident in the field and lost almost 600 pounds of blood, muscle, and overall body mass. It was a huge journey to get her back healthy, and it was a big setback in our training, but she came back stronger and better than ever.
Ten years from now you want to...
I want to become the best rider I can with the opportunities I’m given and use any chance I can to progress.
What is your short-term goal you have set for yourself?
I want to qualify for the 2023 AEC’s at Training Level.
How does your trainer help you reach your riding goals?
My dressage trainer adapts her training to help Tessa and I work on specific scores from shows and basic things to better our riding all together. My Show Jumping and Eventing trainers make realistic paths to help me get to my goals and aspirations, as well as looking to the next set of goals.
My Eventing trainer told me when I was going into the start box on cross country: “You’re sitting on the future kid,” and that, along with many other little quotes, has given me so much confidence and inspiration when going to a show.