The Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015 is all about “Meeting the Guides” – in fact that’s what we called the event when we first ran it in 2007. It’s a chance to learn about wonderful riding holidays all over the world, directly from the people who will be guiding you day by day. As well as an opportunity to renew friendships and chat about past experiences.
We thought it would be interesting to run a series of profiles of some of the people who will be at the Riding Holiday Show and here is another legendary guide, Andrew Gillies from Namibia Horse Safaris.
- How long have you been guiding at Namibia Horse Safaris?
I started with NHSC in 2011.
- Where did you guide before this?
Before this I guided for The Conservation Corp and Wilderness Safaris in Namibia and also Equus Trails (as a riding guide).
- How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?
Peter Starke has been my biggest inspiration. Author of “The White Bushman”, he spoke fluent San and was the most respected conservationist in Namibia (in Etosha). Peter Starke was my Commander in Chief in the Cavalry, and I went on to become an instructor in the Cavalry.
- If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?
There was never a Plan B – guiding is my life and love it.
- People coming on a riding holiday often think you have the ideal job – what do you love about it? And what are the downsides?
It is the ideal job – out in the environment in beautiful Namibia. It’s the best place to be, especially with horses. Every day is a surprise and there are always unexpected experiences to be had. There is no downside except perhaps time spent away from family.
- If your favourite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?
Winston Churchill – no nonsense, just get the job done!
- What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?
My saddle! I don’t need much in life; perhaps nice people and being in nature.
- What has been your most memorable safari?
Very inspired by some of our riders who in their 70’s and 80’s are still living life to the full. Some rides in Damaraland with encounters with big game are pretty memorable. During one ride we spent a half-hour watching an unusually relaxed Black Rhino. On another occasion we rode with a herd of Elephant. These experiences are rare and exciting; remember that Namibia does not have the tourist-habituated game one finds in Botswana and Kenya.
- How do you relax after a day in the saddle?
With a beer, grooming horses – it’s very relaxing.
- What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?
Learn to do everything from the bottom up. You need to experience everything.
- Where do you go on holiday?
Mainly the beach or the bush.
Thank you Andrew for the fantastic images and another insightful article.
You can meet Andrew from Namibia Horse Safaris at the Riding Holiday Show in London on 12 December 2015. Space at the venue is limited so you must obtain a ticket in advance. The event takes place at the Royal Overseas League in SW1 just off Piccadilly from 10 am to 6 pm.
38 different riding destinations will be represented at the Riding Holiday Show. All part of the In The Saddle portfolio of worldwide riding holidays.