Time for an update! April 12, 2021

Be Devoted to Your Life

by Bernice Ende

In a time like this it is natural to ask ones self, what is the purpose of my life?

This pandemic long ride has been a twister for all concerned. I could not imagine going out with the Covid restrictions, riding up to someone’s house like a bandit and asking for food or water. The pandemic has, like so many, stopped me. In my stillness I have discovered the blessings of reconnecting with family after all these years of riding alone. I’ve had to address health issues long ignored. I have once again found enjoyment in living in one place. I also find myself dipping into the lessons learned from long riding. This is a time for me of re-examining what is important in life.

As a long rider traveling the past 20years with horses and dog, three questions inevitably were asked, “How old are you?” “ Do you carry a gun?” and “Aren’t you afraid?”

My age reply had a 10 year variation. A gun? Yes. Fear? Yes! Some of the questions filling my anxious mind each evening at 4pm were; How far will I go, what will happen, will I make it, where will I sleep, will I find water? Pandemic or not people will face a bombardment of questions whether your long ride is motherhood or being a teacher, a truck driver or student. Such thoughts were disastrous for me, at least I felt an erosion of myself with such thoughts.

Eventually I realized, “Hey look I am alive – this I know!” I have made it thus far and no one has not helped me. I would search my surroundings for something positive. I realized that if I did not find a way of getting clarity, of keeping my mind open to possibility, my journey would take my life. I breathed life into my journey by focusing meaning into my journey. I put devotion into each day and invested in the process of my ride thus eliminating the menacing doubts.

This process was essential when crossing lands like Eastern Montana, Wyoming or Kansas that sweep away thought and words before you can think or speak. I felt lost in the immensity of my surroundings. It was unnerving knowing how little I knew. A lone car or truck would slowly pull up beside me, a window rolled down and words were exchanged. As they drove away I realized I couldn’t remember anything we’d said. I was immersed in the world around me feeling like one very small unimportant creature on this earth.

Time is not ticking away – your life is ticking away. It’s important to know where you are going and why you are headed in that direction. But most importantly does what you are doing bring you a sense of purpose? These questions rise to the top if we are seeking a fully-fledged life. Three miles an hour is plenty fast as far as I am concerned. If you can, slow down, enjoy this time as a gift. Make this a time to discover, learn and know something new about yourself. If taking a fence apart is necessary to move forward – do it. But always respectfully put it back together. Don’t let fences, road blocks or any obstacles keep you from moving forward, find opportunity, not problems in these challenging time. If you make life a race remember what the finish line holds.

On my second year out riding south through Iowa, still very much a novice with 3000 miles trailing behind me. I made camp near an abandoned farmstead. As I broke camp the next damp morning I could not find my boot. Claire Dog, beloved, loyal companion had taken my nearly new boot and I could not find it. After hours of combing the thick grass we’d bedded in, I gave up and rode out wearing one boot. When I finally worked up enough courage to stop at a home for water I stepped down from my high horse, (his name…Pride) wearing one boot. Asking humbly and with much embarrassment if they might have a pair of shoes they could give me. Until you are in the position of needing to ask for help, you can not realize just how hard asking is. It’s the tough one. It will make you think less of how great giving makes you feel. Watching the long lines of people waiting for food on TV reminds me of this.

On my ride across Texas in 2009 I remember thinking as I set up camp in a ditch with my horses tied to a dangerous barbed wire fence. I felt like a homeless woman, I felt sorry for myself. Eventually I came to believe that what ever problem thrown at me, I would create “possibility” from it. It was important remembering that nothing but change awaited me. Life does not always work out the way we want, it rarely does. This lesson was shoved down my throat every day. Don’t forget only the living have “issues.” Embracing the difficulties of living reminded me I was alive!

Perhaps it came from the many extreme situations, always alone, so little money and the many snowstorms I survived. I came to learn that happiness does not come from an outward experience. Happiness is an inward experience, an expression of ones own human nature. No person, no comfort, no animal is responsible for my happiness or joy, anger or sadness. I could no longer yo-yo back and forth at the whim of others who ridiculed me with laughter or generously showed me kindness. For nearly fifteen years I lived in a tent, in every kind of weather in every kind of terrain. Living in every season with only my dog and horses adding to my existence. Only by finding peace in the absence of so much did I discover what mattered.

I rode year after year, camping at the door steps of the poorest of poor, knocking on the doors of the well to do. Never looking down on anyone, never looking up to anyone. It was a cornucopia of experiences, a hugely enriching time in my life. I came to realize that life without fear was freedom. I finally came to know the quality of life is determined not by the clothes I wear, what kind of home I live in or what kind of vehicle I traveled with. My quality of life is determined essentially by paying attention to what is inside of me. It comes from making the conscious choice to live fully in joy and appreciation making my way ever so slowly down a simple beautiful path.

Too many lives have been lost from the Covid-19 virus. Hardships for those already pressed against a wall of inequality has been exaggerated. Nearly everyone has been affected in one way or another. I have followed the news reports watching the loss. Watching essential medical workers placed in peril. Watching a nation straining from incompetent leadership. It has been heart wrenching, all of it.

But this time is also a wake-up call. A time to ask yourself what is important? How can I take better care of myself? How much do I need? What kind of life have I been living? What kind of life do I want to live?

Questions each of us must sincerely answer as we move through this pandemic long ride. We cannot always control the situations life throws at us but we can consciously choose how we experience them – making a more pleasant ride for all concerned.

Happy Trails,

Bernice Ende best known as the Lady Long Rider was born into a Minnesota farm family. From her father she got the “can do spirit” from her mother she got the ability to search for the horizon. From the influence of three aunts who were suffragist she developed the independence that led her to saddling up at the age of fifty and riding 2000 miles away to visit her sister. One ride led to another and Bernice has ridden over 30,000 miles alone. Bernice encourages women to have a voice, be independent and remember the great women who struggled as suffragist for the rights of women who exist today. She continues her rides today although shorter than the rides she once rode. Bernice was a recent inductee into the 2020 Montana Hall of Fame. She continues to share her story at speaking engagements and speaks plainly about the trials and tribulations in her book “Lady Long Rider, Alone Across America on Horseback” available at www.endeofthetrail.com , Amazon and local bookstores.

The 2020 Documentary “Lady Long Rider,” produced by Wren Winfield at WE1 productions is also available. Bernice can be contacted at or on Facebook.

Star of the show and boot thief, My beloved Claire Dog.
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Post ID 10225

January 26th, 2021 New ALBUM RELEASE

Music » Music Feature

The Long Road

3 Pairs of Boots hits the high trail in their new album, ‘Long Rider’

By j. poet January 20, 2021….

Andrew Stern, the songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist behind 3 Pairs of Boots, says the band’s new album, Long Rider, was inspired by the adventures of Bernice Ende, a woman who has been exploring the United States alone, on horseback, for the last 15 years. Stern and singer Laura Arias, his songwriting partner in 3 Pairs of Boots, met Ende when their friend, filmmaker Wren Winfield, was working on Lady Long Rider, a documentary about Ende’s travels.

“When she was 50 or so, she came to a crossroads in her life and started riding her horse, all alone, for months and months at a time,” Stern said. “She had a home, but being free, alone and on the road appealed to her. The documentary describes her travels, the wonderful people she met and the experiences she had. Laura and I are long riders in a sense, because we’re on a long musical journey. Like traveling, it’s difficult, exciting, fun and full of unexpected experiences. There are always new challenges and discoveries. Wren introduced us to Ms. Ende after we wrote a few songs for the film’s soundtrack—’I Am the Map,’ ‘Angels of the Trail’ and ‘Everywhere I Go.'”

Those songs and seven more original tunes make Long Rider, the duo’s second album, a gratifying experience. With the exception of the rhythm tracks created by Nashville session drummer Christian Paschall, Stern created all the music on the album—bass, electric and acoustic guitars, and hand claps. Arias supplied the vocals and multi-layered harmonies that give the songs their cinematic feel. The album opener, “Quittin’ Time,” sounds like a classic country hit, with a strong chorus, twanging electric guitars and a tearful vocal from Arias that intensifies the song’s message of frustrated love. “Devil Road” is a solid country rock tune, with overlapping lead guitars and a spirited vocal. The singer owns up to her self-destructive life, with a combination of pride and regret as she sings: “I’d like to say you made me, but my sins are all mine.” The duo takes a trip back in time for “Summer of Love,” a tribute to the understanding and harmony that once was the hallmark of life in San Francisco. Stern’s chiming guitars and the lush layered harmonies Arias supplies give the song a nostalgic feel.

https://www.3pairsofboots.com/shop

Thank you Andy and Laura, I love the album I am all smiles!! Bernice

Fido Friendly Magazine

WIN the Lady Long Rider book and DVD!

Thank you, Fido Friendly Magazine. Nice job!

Image may contain: one or more people and people riding on horses, text that says 'Lady Long Rider a film by Wren Winfield how far one woman went to find herself the story of Bernice Ende'
DVD Cover Photo

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Whitefish Pilot, Whitefish, Montana

Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame inducts ‘Lady Long Rider’

By Whitney England

Claire Dog on Essie Pearl, and Bernice on Hart.

Horseback riding thousands of miles across parts of the U.S. multiple times over the past two decades has given Bernice Ende of Trego, commonly known as the Lady Long Rider, experiences of a lifetime.

She took her first “long ride” in 2005 and since has been on eight major rides accounting to over 30,000 miles traveled atop a horse. In late October the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame announced the 2020 class of inductions and chose Ende as the honoree from the 10th district, which includes Flathead, Lincoln, Lake and Sanders counties.

Inductees are chosen from a field of candidates nominated by the general public.

“The Hall of Fame exists to honor those who have made an impact in their part of the state and represent Montana’s authentic heritage for future generations,” said MCHF and Western Heritage Center President Bill Galt.

Ende says she’s honored that the organization recognizes both the sacrifices she made and victories she celebrated with each pursuit.

“It’s a legendary romantic, iconic image — this horse and rider, riding across the country,” she said. “And I never took it for granted, I understood how fortunate I was to be able to do it. But it was hard, it was damn hard.”

Her journeys always began from Trego and she said Whitefish was a usual venue to pass through as she headed out or returned from each ride. She said there was never a truck and trailer for these 3,000 to 4,000 mile trips, just always her horses and dog to keep her company.

Ende grew up in Minnesota on a dairy farm with five other siblings and was riding horses on her own by age 3. Ende taught classical ballet for 25 years before ever becoming a long rider. She lived and taught dance in several places before calling Trego home.

All while teaching dance though she kept horses near to her heart. She taught dressage and trained horses even while keeping up with her dance instruction. While training some thoroughbreds one day, she reached the horizon and thought one day she’d like to ride to see her sister who resides in New Mexico.

That was her first long ride, to Albuquerque. It didn’t go exactly as planned, and she ran into some hardships as she has on several of her thousand-mile treks, but she was already planning her next trip before she safely arrived in New Mexico.

According to the Hall of Fame, no other living woman has ridden as many miles or completed as many journeys as Ende; the Long Riders’ Guild recognizes Ende as an “outstanding ambassador for long-distance exploration on horseback.”

Ende completed her first couple of long rides by sleeping in between her packs on just a tarp with her dog, she’s since upgraded to a tent and a small propane stove to boil water. She said she still lives in a tent whenever she’s away from her home in Trego.

Ende’s longest journey began in 2014 when she rode coast-to-coast for 8,000 miles which took two and a half years to complete. She began in Trego, riding to the east coast of Maine and returned by riding through much of southern Canada to the west coast, riding back through Washington and Oregon to finally make it home.

“I didn’t really have anything, I gave up a lot to do it,” Ende recalled. “You give up your community and your family, really, and any sense of security.”

This past July, Ende was planning a “Lady Long Rider Suffragist Tour” in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution giving women the right to vote. She was due to travel, by truck and trailer this time, to New York and then ride to several sites and give talks at those places. However due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tour was cancelled.

Although disappointed, Ende said her work to encourage women will never end.

“I ride to encourage female leadership,” she said. “After the first ride I realized that I really want to encourage women not be afraid of doing something that scares them. We need female leadership, we need women who have the courage to step out.”

Ende isn’t exactly sure what the future will hold, but she’s leaning toward doing shorter rides — and by shorter she means 400-mile trail rides instead. She said there is much of the country that she hasn’t seen yet because on these cross-country rides her only transportation was by horse.

“Like when I rode to the East Coast, it took me eight months to go there; so when you set out, you don’t get to go sightseeing, you’ve got to go there, you’ve got to keep it moving,” Ende said.

According to the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, Ende leads a life that closely matches the spirit of the state’s original founders which led to the honor.

“She embodies the pioneer, can-do spirit characteristic of those who have created our great state — Bernice has put Montana on the map from astride her horses,” her induction says.

To follow Ende’s adventures and future rides, visit endeofthetrail.com.

Bernice at her cabin near Trego, Montana.

Bernice Ende “Lady Long Rider” Inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame

Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center

Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame announces 2020 inductions

District 10 (Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, & Sanders Counties): Living Award – Bernice Arlene ‘Lady Long Rider’ Ende, Trego. Legacy Award – Wilderness Worn – A Government Packers Legacy, Eureka.

The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame announces new inductees.
Photo: Great Falls Tribune
Cowboy roping on his horse silhouette.
Photo: Great Falls Tribune

Great Falls Tribune, October 17, 2020.
Link to article:
https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/2020/10/17/montana-cowboy-hall-fame-announces-new-herd-inductees/3646091001/

Photo: Tri-State Livestock News

Tri-State Livestock News, October 13, 2020.
Link to article:

Full biographies for past inductees are available on the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center’s website, http://www.montanacowboyfame.org. This year’s inductees will be added to the website soon.

Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center