He was born an Aragonaise (from Aragon in Spain), and entered the Templars at a young age. He stayed in the provinces of Provence and Aragon, where he took part in the battles of Reconquista, and became Grand Master of the province until 1190. In 1193, after the death of Robert de Sablé, he became Grand Master of the Order, and in 1194, Pope Céléstin III gave the Templars more privileges.
Horal was known for wanting peace between the Christians and the Moslems, though some disagreed and thought that this showed treason and collusion with the enemy.
During his leadership the quarrel between the Templars and Hospitaliers increased. The arbitration of Pope Innocent III was in favour of the Hospitaliers because the Pope could not forgive the Templars for making the agreements that they had with Malek-Adel, brother of Saladin.
Another of Gilbert Horal's accomplishments was that he took the time to organize and consolidate the possessions of the Templars in France and Apulia.
In Spain, the Templars took an active part in the Reconquista, and were given the fortress of Alhambra by Alfonso II of Aragon as a reward for their efforts in the battle.