Livingston County News, April 29, 2019
With horses in tow, ‘Lady Long Rider’ returning to area on book tour
Bernice Ende, the Lady Long Rider who stopped five years ago in Dansville and Caledonia, is making a return to the area.
Ende will again be accompanied by her two Norwegian Fjord horses, Montana Spirit and Liska Pearl, but she’s traveling by truck and trailer as part of a book tour for her memoir “Lady Long Rider: Alone Across America on Horseback” (FarCountry Press).
“It is a long ride in the sense that it is just plain long,” Ende said in an email to The Livingston County News. “I do find myself talking as I do when traveling with the horses, like ‘stay focused; you’ll be OK; and just get through the day.’ Things like that. I still sleep with the horses. I still hear them at night. I still cook outside and have the sense of travel with my horses.
“It does surprise me when I can do 200 miles in a day instead of 20 miles” as she did on horseback, she said.
Ende, 65, has made one concession for this trip: she’s bringing a flip phone on her tour as it makes it easier to coordinate appearances on the 60-stop tour.
The tour visits Dansville Public Library, 200 Main St., Dansville, at 6 p.m. April 29 and the Caledonia Fairgrounds, 319 Leicester St., Caledonia, on May 4 as part of a larger event, “Celebrate Spring Fair,” that includes the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Patrol. In Caledonia, Ende is scheduled to make presentations at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Event runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Ende will feature select readings from her memoir at both appearances in addition to a slideshow that highlights photographs and stories from journeys over 14 years and 30,000 miles. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
She shares stories of the friendly people she met along the way, encounters with rough weather – snowstorms, droughts and tornadoes; wildlife – grizzly bears, mountain lions and rattlesnakes, among others; mosquitoes, tricky route finding and worn out horseshoes. She also shares her own inner struggles and triumphs that tested the limits of physical and mental stamina, coping with the solitude and the reward of living life her own way.
Ende’s latest journey, which began in October, has her on the road for eight months as she crosses 18 states, retracing some of her most celebrated long rides. The tour will conclude with a long ride in the northeastern United States.
“I knew I had to do it. I knew I had to go back out and sell these books, share these stories with all these people who had helped me in so many ways,” Ende said. “It’s been like a reunion tour. I have reconnected with many people that helped me on my early rides.”
To prepare, she completed a small tour of speaking engagements in her home state of Montana.
“After all these years of long riding, thousands of spirits have climbed into my saddle bags and ridden vicariously with me,” Ende said.
Back in 2014, Ende’s 8,000-mile cross-country ride brought her in late August to Livingston County, where she rode northward from Ossian to Avon – a ride that took her five days. She had a brief rest in Dansville and arrived in Caledonia with her pack horses, Essie Pearl and Montana Spirit, loaded with enough gear for daily life on the trail. All three stayed in a barn at the Caledonia Fairgrounds.
At each stop, Ende and her horses spent time with visitors and in Caledonia was even a guest at a village board meeting. She told The LCN at the time she had experienced a great deal of hospitality from local residents and called it “the best ride I’ve ever been on.”
That ride, which went from Montana to Maine, then to Puget Sound and back to her home in Montana, celebrated women’s suffrage as 2014 was the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in Montana. While in Western New York she visited Susan B. Anthony’s grave in Mount Hope Cemetery and the suffragette’s home in Rochester, then rode east to the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls – which took her another 12 days – to “pay homage to the women who brought us liberty.”
Ende, a former ballet teacher, took her first long ride at age 50, going on an 1,800-mile trek from her home in Trego, Montana, to the home of her older sister outside Edgewood, New Mexico. She described that journey as “nightmarish” – traveling with only one horse, a Tennessee Walking Horse Called Pride, and her dog. She had no tent and slept on sheepskins she used beneath her saddle, covering with blankets and a tarp.
Still she became hooked.
“Time and again, people have opened their homes, shared meals with me, washed my clothes, repaired tack, shod a horse and encouraged or supported me in one way or another. I am truly indebted to hundreds of people,” she writes in “Lady Long rider.”
The Long Riders’ Guild has recognized Ende as an outstanding ambassador for long-distance exploration on horseback.
A “long ride” is considered a journey of more than 1,000 miles. No other living woman has done as many journeys or ridden as many miles as Ende, who hopes her rides inspire women who want to pursue an unconventional path in life and encourages them to reach beyond their fears.
“It’s an iconic legendary image. It symbolizes self-reliance, independence, escape – freedom,” she told The LCN in 2014.
“This book tour,” she said in her email, “is a fantastic way to get back out on the road and share my stories that, like my long rides, are dedicated to encouraging female leadership and to discover, learn and grow.”
NOTE: The video in the above article is from 2014. It was republished in the above article published April 29, 2019 in the Livingston County News. Below, is what the Livingston County News reported in 2014.
Livingston County News, Caledonia, New York
September 4, 2014
TheLCNvideo Published on Sep 4, 2014
Bernice Ende of Montana was in Livingston County for the past week as part of an 8,000-mile, 2-1/2-year journey across the United States on horseback. She was about one-third of the way through when The Livingston County News caught up with her Thursday morning in Caledonia, where she made a rest stop at the Fairgrounds. Ende was getting transportation assistance from Sgt. Gary A. Cicoria of the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Patrol for her trip to Rochester, where she planned to visit Susan B. Anthony’s gravesite at Mount Hope Cemetery and the Susan B. Anthony House before continuing her journey. Ende’s ride commemorates the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Montana.
Below, are photos from the visit in 2014.