You may ask yourself what is a long rider. By definition, a long rider is someone who has ridden 1,000 cumulative miles on horseback. I’ve read a few books by authors who’ve ridden across the country and it is no small feat. Then there is Bernice Ende, who not only tackled a cross-country ride, but then, just kept riding, creating a lifestyle of long riding. After her first cross-country trip, I guess you could say; it got into her bones. In fact, she rode over 30,000 miles total.
In the midst of space-age, high-speed technologies, a band of humans has slowed down the earth and sky sweeping past them by seeing the world from the back of a horse They are called long riders. – Quoted from The Long Riders Guild
About the Author
Bernice Ende November 16 1954 – October 2 2021
What a rare and beautiful person Bernice was. As I read her book Lady Long Rider, I was in awe of her grit and tenacity, but also her gentleness and curiosity. She had a way with words-despite her admittance of not being a writer. I found she wrote with eloquence and prose.
My only regret is that I didn’t read more about her when she was alive. I think I first came across her when I saw a video of her on the internet. As well as seeing pictures of her and her horses in ads for Tucker Saddles.
Lady Long Rider was on my reading list for a long time, but for some reason, I hadn’t gotten around to reading it. When I saw Bernice had passed away in October, I knew it was finally time to read her book. Boy, I was not disappointed.
Trips Bernice ende made
1st Long Ride – 2005
Montana to New Mexico, 2,000 miles, May-September 2005
Quote from book: I remember thinking “how will I ever return to a normal life?”–Well I guess I never did. – Bernice Ende
2nd Long Ride – 2006-2007
Roaming the West, 5,000 miles, April 2006-September 2007
Quote from book: “The map tells me what places are ahead, but it does not tell me what lies ahead.” Bernice Ende
3rd Long Ride – 2008
3,000 miles, February-October 2008
Quote from book: “What most of the world accepts as truth I question.” – Bernice Ende
4th Long Ride – 2009-2011
Down Texas Way and Around the West, 6,000 miles, March 2009-June 2011
Quote from book: “Be devoted to your journey Bernice, no matter what journey that may be, be devoted to it.” – Bernice Ende
Vacation Ride – 2011
600 mile vacation ride around Montana
Quote from book: “Where and how did I come to embrace the solitary nights so alone and unprotected? With my horse, of course. It’s no mystery, it was my horse. – Bernice Ende
5th Long Ride – 2012
April 2012 to October 2012 Canadian Ride, First International Ride
Quote from book: “Slow down, be in the present of every minute, and be grateful at the end of each day.” – Bernice Ende
6th Long Ride – 2013
Started in April 2013 – 1,500 mile trip through Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming
Quote from book: “Most importantly, I no longer take for granted this country I live in and the freedoms we enjoy.” – Bernice Ende
7th Long Ride – 2014-2016
8,000 miles ride from Montana to Main and back to Montana, April 2014-June 2016
Quote from book: “Dust your heart off and hitch your wagon to something greater than you. I do hope with all my heart that my rides will impart encouragement to those longing to reach beyond their fears for more.” – Bernice Ende
Some Take Aways from the Book
The Long Riders Guild
I learned Bernice was a member of the Long Riders Guild. It exists to further equestrian exploration and travel worldwide. To be a part of the guild, you must travel 1,000 miles on horseback.
The Long Riders Guild website has three-thousand plus pages. Not only that, but they have a publishing arm- Horse Travel Books is the world’s premier source of equestrian exploration wisdom. (Information taken from Long Riders Guild Website)
The Ride is romanticized
The idea of riding your horse across the country and leaving behind the bustle of the real world sounds appealing to many people. A lot of folks Bernice ran into said they envied her and what she was doing. But what they don’t know is how hard it really was. Bernice made it pretty clear that she worked hard every day to live the life she was living. Dealing with all kinds of weather and life-threatening situations. It surprised me to read about how much work it was to make camp and to break camp each day- 2 hours! Bernice was one tough cookie.
you Don’t just do it for yourself
When asked why she rode, the first reason she listed was to encourage female leadership. In the book Bernice dedicated her ride in 2014-2016 to women’s suffrage. She visited many sites on her ride to pay respects and honor to the ladies, such as Susan B. Anthony, that worked hard for the rights women enjoy today. I find Bernice’s story inspiring because she took a cause that meant something deeply to her. Then, wielded it into her own life so profoundly that she became a heroine herself.
You rely on good people
Bernice emphasized she couldn’t have done it without the kindness and generosity of strangers that passed her on her journey. Whether it was food, shelter, kind words, or directions, trail angels were everywhere. That is what she often called them, those who helped her. She often even made lifelong friends she would visit on future rides.
Ways to Learn More about Bernice Ende
- Her website: https://www.endeofthetrail.com/
Unfortunately, the website will be closing down in the near future. Therefore, you had better go check it out for yourself before it does.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ladylongrider
Lady Long Rider Book: available on https://www.flickr.com/photos/75190479@N05/albums
Information on Film made about Bernice
Unfortunately, the DVD is no longer available for purchase, but hopefully it will be available to view soon.
YouTube Videos – search for Bernice Ende
Thank you for being here and thank you to the brave men and women equine travelers. May we always remember the skill, knowledge, and grit that it takes to be a long rider.
There are many reasons why I ride, here are four. To encourage female leadership. To discover, learn and grow. – Bernice Ende
Thank you to endeofthetrail.com for the information and to the longridersguild.com
If you’d like to stick around and learn more about the Narrow Trail. Head on over to the Blog page to read more.