Pioneering horsewoman Muriel B. Gill ’46 believes there is much to be learned in the connection between horse and rider.
It is a belief that began at the age of five, when Muriel began riding horses. Her formal training began at the Oakland Riding Academy where she became well-known among the horsing circuit for her skill at riding hunters and jumpers. At 14 she was the youngest rider among a group of international competitors to ride at the 1939 World’s Fair at Treasure Island.
When she came to UC Davis in the 1940s, her love of horses only grew as she worked in the barns with the animals while studying animal husbandry. Gill’s studies were interrupted during World War II when the UC Davis campus closed to house the U.S. Signal Corps. During the interim of Davis closing, Gill continued her education at the University of Idaho. During this time she boarded her horses in Dixon and met her future husband Robert Gill. She returned to UC Davis and finished her degree in 1946 and has remained a dedicated Aggie ever since. She is a lifetime member of the Cal Aggie Alumni Association and attended many UC Davis Picnic Days and athletics events over the years.
To give UC Davis students the same transformative experience with horses that Muriel had, the Gill family made a donation to name The UC Davis Equestrian Center Main Barn in honor of Muriel. Their support will help cover the cost of riding lessons allowing more students to use the center.
"My wife, Muriel Butler Gill, and I are pleased to make this donation to the UC Davis Equestrian Center,” said Robert, “in the hopes that future generations will have the opportunity to learn to ride and have the same appreciation and passion for horses that she has."