William Hoag also known as “bulldog” is letting me tether my horses and camp down by the Canaseraga Creek off his beautiful park like lawn. Horses are VERY happy, so am I as there is much to do on this stop.
Two day rest stop at ALLEN LAKE. Oh my did we all need rest and food, just rest and food. Two days of fresh farm vegetables, eggs and jam (a loaf of Sandy’s bread) thanks to Jan and John McElnery
and Dennis another visitor who brought hay and grain and checked in to see if I needed anything. I’d ridden into Jan and Johns place looking for water. John must have gone in after I left and told Jan because Jan and John came driving up from behind me in a little red car, pulled over to the side of the gravel country road, hopped out and produced a bottle of wine. Jan said something like,”every woman needs a bottle of wine when doing a thing like this.” Or something like that.
They came over to Allen Lake with bags cukes and zucchini, tomatoes, peach jam, potatoes and big white crisp onions. I thought oh good grief I’ll never eat all this. But I stayed two days, 3 long restful nights and ate… fresh foods. Thank you, all of you who stopped by to visit and brought one thing or another.
I have been asked by Laura Lane from the New York Chamber of Commerce and Lisa Burns from the Dept. of Tourism to swing up thru Rochester, New York to visit the Susan B. Anthony home..of which I enthusiastically agreed to do.
I expect to arrive next week either Thursday the 4th of Sept. or Friday. Then it is on to Seneca Falls to visit the Women’s Rights National Historic Park. Women like Lucretia Mott, Elisabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage and many other extraordinary women who literally gave their lives to bring us liberty are honored at these now historical sites. I think about these women, a lot. I think about what they must have persevered – the ridicule, violence, personal newspaper attacks. How difficult it must have been during a time when women had no rights. Think of it.
During the mid 1800’s. The only occupations open to a woman were a seamstress, cook, maid servant, governess or… prostitute. If she married as most had little choice to do otherwise, upon doing so everything she owned inherited and earned automatically belonged to her husband. A married woman could not make contracts, keep or control her own wages or any rents, transfer property, sell property or bring a lawsuit against another. A woman who remained single would attract social disapproval and pity. She could not have children or cohabit with a man: the social penalties were simply to high.
And it was in this atmosphere that a handful of educated women, brave beyond words, courageous and determined, set out to bring equality and emancipation to women. Beginning in the 1800s, women organized, petitioned, and picketed to win the right to vote, but it took them decades to accomplish their purpose. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution.
Few early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920. We take for granted these days that almost any woman can have a career if she applies herself. We take for granted that women can choose whether or not to marry and whether or not to have children, or how many. Women live considerably different lives now because of these few “radical” women and their pursuit of liberty. On Susan B. Anthony’s grave the words…”there is a word sweeter than Mother, Home or Heaven, that word is Liberty.”
I am here to pay homage to those women that cleared what was once only a pitiful path to become a freeway which I now ride.
(many of the paragraphs above were taken from Women’s Rights website)
Giant silos loomed behind the building that I must admit did not look like much as I rode in from the west on Humphrey Road (about 10 miles northeast of Salamanca, N.Y., at the junction of 18 & 67) Even though a line of car’s stretched out in front I could not make out what the “funky” structure’s purpose could be as it sat just in front of a dairy farm….it was part of the dairy farm.
Then I saw “Sandy’s Bakery” and I said “Bakery? What is a bakery doing out here in the middle of nowhere?” I could not believe it! As I slowly dismounted Essie Pearl I noticed a perfect white box in the hands of women leaving the building. A new perfectly white box, like the ones you see at a wedding or a flower shop or?…a bakery. I tied the horses to the dumpster off to the left side of the building – with plenty of grass in reach for the horses.
The small green building was nothing fancy that’s for sure. (I learned later it had once been the tool shed) But Sandy’s Bakery was busy and when I opened the door a line of people stood patiently waiting to be served by the one and only Sandy. It was as if I’d stepped inside of a down town bakery but there was no down town and these folks had driven, some of them many miles to satisfy their sweet tooth. Three elderly men sat a round table with coffee and sweets, they’d come 10 miles for Sandy’s two day a week extravaganza. I couldn’t believe it…the assortment and how much people were buying, I stepped to the side, I couldn’t make up my mind. So I visited, stared, and visited, drank a cup of coffee and waited for the opportunity to talk with the the Queen Bee!
So here it is Sandy’s Bakery in the middle of nowhere, literally, and people are just lined up coming and going, coming and going as Sandy, only Sandy, behind the counter surrounded by two days of baked goods from bismarks to loaves of bread to thick molasses cookies to brownies, big chunky cinnamon rolls drenched in frosting, buns and gazed donuts. She bakes for two days and sells for two days, that’s it. Not long ago she served up a breakfast buffet, all you could eat. “I had to cut back, I’m heading for retirement,” said Sandy. “It’s been thirty-five years, or something like that” said Sandy, she’s legendary, unassuming and tattooed many times over. She’s got five children and 14 grandchildren. She got started because,”she just wasn’t seeing her children enough when they were growing up so she started a home business.” I’d say she’s been on a long ride with her bakery business. At first she would not let me take her photo but with the encouragement of other customers she agreed.
She had a break between customers and slipped out from behind the glass counter to take a look at my noble steeds, now nickering.
“Times up,” I said, they want to move.” I packed my loaf of bread and cream filled bismark into the saddle-packs, swung onto Essie and waved goodbye.
Truly a one of kind bakery, truly a one of a kind gal. But then this is New York any thing could happen.
Canaseraga, New York GOLDEN WINDOWS DAIRY ON SHAWMUT ACRES, LCC
New York’s number one export is farming! We think of New York as well New York CITY. And its not. I have seen more small dairy farms in the last week than I have in all my years of riding – combined! I measure a dairy farm by the way it smells. In my humble opinion a good dairy farm smells sweet and does not have an offensive smell to it. As I walked up the hill to visit Golden Windows Dairy On Shawmut Acres, I took a long deep familiar breath of sweet corn silage, I knew I was walking into a “good dairy.” I wanted to interview Chelsea Bouffard a gal in her mid twenties who made a turn, a the fork in the road, from a major in Art and Education to Dairy Farmer.
She began milking for Harv and Sue Lacy when she was 14yrs old, Harv is her mentor and now business partner, he will phase out in a few years, retire….and pass the small farm on to Chelsea, none of his children wanted to farm, but Chelsea sure did and after 11 years working on the farm certainly must have felt a keen devotion to it, to the life, the cows, the sweet, sweet smell and end of the day satisfaction. The farm has been in the Lacey family for 3 generations. Harv’s grandfather milked 30 head. Today Chelsea and Harv milk 70 cows mostly the long legged black and white Holstein, with a 8 station milking parlor. Eight cows at a time come inside, are milked, then lumber out to feed.Each cow gives on the average about 80pds of milk a day. Golden Windows Dairy does grazing, the cows are out on grass! not all do this, I am all for it, my Dad always had the cows out, but now on most big dairies the cows never see grass. I think, again in my humble opinion that a herd of cows looks and stays healthier when they have access to green pastures and exercise.
Chelsea said she’s not for the huge conglomerate factory farming. “I could protest all I wanted but this is one way I could do something about it.” She wants a well run small dairy farm, plain and simple. But its not- soon she will make ALL of the decisions, which heifers to keep, which to send to market, choice of breeding stock, daily feeding rations, to buy or not to buy a new piece of expensive machinery, if an older cow must be let go. A farmer is met with a fist full of decisions each and every day. Chelsea can AI (artificially inseminate) a cow which gives her a broader choice of breeding. She also “scouts” for Western New York Crop Management, ie. she tells farmers whats going on in their fields if they have problems. For example if there’s a pest problem or if the crop is growing slow or if the soil is deficient in minerals etc. They have two other gals who help with the milking which takes place twice a day. Mornings begin at 4:30. I noticed that when Chelsea called the cows in from the pasture she used a lighter high pitched “come bessie, come bessie” My dad called out deep and low “come boss, come boss” so did Harv. Evening milking ends about 8pm. Long days, hard work, dirty, poopy, muck boots are a must. 4800 pounds of milk pour forth from this herd in a single day. The milk truck had just pulled up as I was leaving. The farm is inspected often by state and federal inspectors. We visited as milk machines were sterilized and walk ways were washed down. My senses were bombarded with memories all of this familiar to me. I have noticed over the years more and more women taking on the position of rancher or farmer. I have even read articles detailing the changes that these brave new women are incorporating into the business. I think we are naturals at it. I was delighted to see this energetic young woman stepping into a position that would not have been open to me at her age. Farming is not easy never has been never will be. When you pull that jug of milk from your refrigerator next time remember its been a long haul from that cows utter to the plastic container you now pour so easily. Remember every once in a while that there may be a young gal in muck boots, washing a cows utter, asking that cow for another load of its precious cargo which will eventually find its way to your table, to your lips. Harv Lacey and Chelsea Bouffard at Golden Windows Dairy On Shawmut Acres, LLC oh by the way email Chelsea and ask how the name “Golden Windows” got in there.– – I think you’ll like the story.
Rode in this morning via a Railroad track. Camped out last night first time we’ve been alone away from people for sometime. It rained, nice.
The mornings are no longer so early, the end of the day comes sooner. Cooked blueberries that I picked at a U-pick with wild apples, cinnamon, salt and honey, oatmeal-delicious.
Had Essie’s and Spirit’s hoofs checked by a professional Farrier. Jim Burdick from Townsville PA. came out–on short notice, really nice of him. I do my own shoeing but I feel the horses need a check over every 2/3000 miles. Jim did a real nice job and am rest assured that the horses are sound. Had this done at Robbie and Greg Kirr’s home,Torpedo, PA… a 2 nighter. good rest and route decisions made.
Look at this 1795! goodness I just can not help but feel submerged in history its everywhere, the houses are breathtaking, ornamental and reflective of wealth, class.
Want to say thank you to Russler Ranch, Pierpont, PA for the rest over. They have a faith based therapeutic riding program, they hosted a couple of nights while it stormed we 3 girls rested well, lovely facility.
Spent a night at the Spartanburg,PA fairgrounds, very nice. Where I met Liz McDannel who led me to Robbie and Greg Kirr’s home. Rode thru Warren, PA.
Made the front page
Here is another article from Midland, Michigan I received http://www.ourmidland.com/accent/just-passing-through-this-long-rider-horse-companions-work-way/article_ac2839e1-591a-5c20-879e-810f80693785.html
Barns like this every where I go… it is so beautiful.
These were from Warren,PA. But before I got into Warren I was pulled off the road by the folks at The ROUSE HOUSE, in Youngsville, PA. who asked if I might come in for a visit, and of-course I did. Had a wonderful visit, very very nice facility.
Did not make it as far as I had planned that night and as I headed out of Warren a woman came out and asked if I needed anything, WELL! I do indeed I need a place to camp and so I met Debbie and Fred Nuhfer, Sorry that is not spelled correct but Debbie I can not read your hand writing. Smiles… I made little time the next morning as so many stopped to wish me wel,l it was a string of hand shakes and smiles as I rode out of town.
Ok Horses are waiting out side and this is all she wrote- more later. MANY, Many thanks to all of you that have helped to pass me along thru your country. Happy Trails
Three women sat on a small wooden porch minding their own business when along came a lady long rider with a big broad-rim hat. Two women were my age, Colleen who owned the house and Susan( friend and renter) were talking with Mellissa , Susan’s adult daughter. “where are you going?” “Maine,” I replied. Well that was it I landed in their back yard for the night!!
The haul from Detroit went quickly, we sailed the ocean of traffic and that make up Toledo and Cleveland . Clyde Miles hauls it often with racetrack horses, a smooth quick ride (3 hours) that would have taken me a good month (which I did not have the time for nor the desire to attempt maneuvering) The girls and I were dropped of south of Cleveland behind a convenience store in the tiny town of Burton, Ohio. I stayed put for the evening. Two young police officers stopped by later that evening after someone reported horses loose. After everything got sorted out I went back to bed under a nearly full moon. I must admit it did feel like a discombobulating leap from Michigan to Ohio just 100 miles or so but the change was apparent. The land is suddenly all so thick, dense, luscious – the maple and oak trees stand taller, the gardens are works of art as are lawns and historical homes. History fills the air. Amish buggies are EVERYWHERE! When we rode through Middleton I simply had to stop and stare, finding myself amongst other horse travelers was the oddest feeling. It’s never happened to me before! The Amish often times use Hackney ponies or Saddle-bred or Thoroughbred horses off the racetrack. Fast sleek animals and are they moving when they come down the street. The sound of steel horseshoes striking pavement and the whiz of carriage wheels on their heels driven by men with beards and straw hats, I felt as if I’d stepped out of time.
Well I have regained my composure but the sense of excitement fills my days as I maneuver thru Pennsylvania. I have wanted to ride this part of the country for years and now that I am here I realize there is so much to see and not nearly enough time on this ride to enjoy the sights. We have so little history “out west” compared to this part of the country. AND compared to other parts of the world the east coast is but a wink of time. Still it is thrilling for me to ride, as a ghost from the past, along streets that held some of our most important historical moments. For this update I am filling the empty page with photos. And hope that will satisfy those of you that follow my rides. I must add as I have NEVER had so many people stopping by to visit, curious and interested (the ride would be dull with out all of you) young and old coming by to see the odd sight of two Fjord horses packed and traveling with a lady wearing a big hat. “You came from where?” asks the astonished elderly man. “Oh my goodness, how in the world?” the young woman shakes her head. And I share the story and we visit and I hear their stories and so it goes each and everyday. I do hope in some small way that these ride are a reminder of the freedom we enjoy in this country. I do hope it is a reminder of the good people that fill our country. I also hope it inspires other women to reach beyond fears that keep them bound from attaining more from life. Maybe it will encourage someone to take on the dream which they dared not reach for.
There is not a day that goes by when I do not feel like the luckiest gal in the world. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing easy about long riding, NOTHING. It is overly romanticized, hard on me and hard on the horses, we work at it just like anyone works at a job. I practice and apply skill, load up on attentiveness and fill the gaps with caution. The risks and dangers are many every day that I ride. But it is what I do. The horses are in magnificent condition I must admit they really, really do look good and are moving well, with an eager step.
I have about 800 more miles to ride this year, not a lot, the weather now turns cooler and that is good. I have I think ridden through the hardest part of summer travel. Deer fly’s, the pesky black fly’s are not quite as bad. There is a bit more open space and the roads are a bit quieter.
I won’t go to much further into Pennsylvania before heading north to Seneca Falls, Syracuse and Fayetteville, New York to visit a few historical sites. So that is it for now, enjoy the photos.
Work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of
Perhaps that is what I do? I’d never heard the term until yesterday when a
friend of Gil and Terri Amman told us when we drove to Mt.Pleasant for a box
I needed containing horseshoes and a repeat stop at COPS AND DOUGHNUTS.
The Amman residence (northwest) of Flint will be my last stop in Michigan.
Gill hauls me over to New Hudson in the
morning where I’ll pick up a long
haul from Clyde Miles who will take me and my
girls east of Cleveland, Ohio. I
came in Tuesday afternoon when Terri found
me at the Brant corner near
the store looking lost and forlorn. She came
over rather hesitantly, “are you
the lady….?” She’d seen me on the COPS AND
DOUGHNUTS Facebook page.
Well long story short she took the lady long
rider home and it was fast friends
in a very short time.
IT HAS BEEN A DELIGHTFUL STOP….and I needed help with shoeing, boxes
and I needed to make a new pair of riding breeches, this was a perfect stop.
Funny how it always works out..faith!
So I bid ado to Michigan, to the first half of my ride, to many,many good
people and breathtaking scenery, it’s been a spectacular ride thru Michigan!!
The list of people who have helped facilitate this part of my ride is lengthy, it is
quite impossible to do these rides without the assistance of folks like Gil and
Terri, or Dee Dee Carter.
A heartfelt thank you goes out each and every day. Tomorrow in New Hudson
I’ll be meeting family members,friends and media. I then haul over to the
Pennsylvania/ Ohio border to continue this lengthy 8000 mile international
“To each and everyone whose path I cross a sincere thank you for the interest
the support the encouragement, I could not have done it with out you.”
Your lady long rider Bernice Ende
List of a few news media from the past month:
WDIO/WIRT (ABC) Duluth, MN
Morning sun Mt Pleasant, MI
WCMU Public Broadcasting Mt.Pleasant
Roscommon County Voice
Gaylord Herald Times
We are and have been for 5 days at the Mt. Pleasant Horse racing Training Center, near the fairgrounds north of town. We are having a much needed rest, I think this is the best rest stop my two girls have had since we left Montana four months ago. I must thank Alison, Bob, Mario, Dennis for making us feel so welcome.
When I rode in on Tuesday July 28th I was not sure what to expect. I’d sent word ahead but as happens no one received my message and no one knew anything about my riding to Mt. Pleasant. So when I received smiles and a welcome from Alison and her friend Joe I was indeed grateful, tired and dirty as I was from a
long week of riding. This facility is where horses are prepared, trained and conditioned for the race track and I will say that I have been very impressed with the care of these exquisite looking thoroughbreds,
(Essie and Spirit are not in the least bit intimidated by these lean, sleek, fast, fancy thoroughbreds they simply keep their heads down and EAT, they look like tanks next to rockets). Outsiders are not always welcome to places like this but this facility is family orientated and clean
and well organized and quite obviously the trainers/owners like Alison care very much for their fancy long legged beauties. I have stalls for the horses and I have
a nice spot right next to them and we have been given grain and hay and just made to feel “stay as long as you need and rest” so we have. The newspaper reporter from Mt. Pleasant caught me coming into town and that meant a front page photo which has meant many people stopping in to say hello. Its been busy that much I will say.
SO….let me update you on the ride thus far. We are at the end of the first stretch, Montana to Michigan. In five days I will haul over to the Pennsylvania/ Ohio border to begin the last stretch which should land me somewhere in northern Maine for the winter lay over. I have had a glorious ride thru Michigan and I can
not tell you what a thrill it has been to see the Great Lakes by horseback. I have learned about “Youpers” and “Trolls” and pasties and “party stores”, I have ridden long flat easy to ride Rails to Trails that any equestrian rider would love to travel. The Michigan people have been all and all out friendly and interested and
smiles and handshakes pour forth from this state. It’s been delightful, unexpected. I really did not know what to expect but I did not expect to get such a warm reception from the Michiganians.
Essie Pearl and Montana Spirit are in excellent condition!!. I have never ridden so many miles in so short a time. Four months we have been out and we have traveled give or take 2000 miles. BUT the conditions have been right, lots of grass, water and good roads. I have kept the packs very light and gone without so as
not to burden my two girls with luxury items like food for myself. I have never taken out a finer team and as most of you know this is also the first ride I have done with out my beloved Claire dog who I can report is enjoying her “retirement” life at Theodora’s Garden back in Fortine, Montana (near Trego) with my big
gelding, Hart. Both are doing very well and deserve the rest and retirement they now enjoy.
So it has been unlike any ride I have previously ridden. I trot a good deal then get off and walk. Every ten miles I pull the gear off the horses and cool, wash, dry brush both horses and pads. I travel easily 30 mile days, 130 miles or so a week. Spirit is now for the most part my ride horse and Essie packs. I am so proud of these two, we are, all three of us so bound together with miles and experience that when one disappears for a minute a kind of anxiety sets in. Which is why it is necessary to have stalls when leave them for interviews, talks or to pick up supplies. The horses are not only safe here at this facility but also watched over when I go into town.
A few stories…
This Gail Foguth and Beth Hamilton riding. IT is not unusual for Gail Foguth to receive a call reporting “two horses loose in the ditch” happens often, she is after all the animal control officer for Crawford County. But when Gail arrived she did not find two loose horses but rather a lady with a big hat on saddling and packing her two Fjord mares. I thought she was with the military or perhaps a police officer checking up on me. “NO, No” she said you’re OK, just had reports of horses loose. that’s all” Little did she know how much I did need her help as several roads were closed due to military maneuvers at Greyling Military Reservation which I was trying to get around and couldn’t.
WELL Gail figured a way around using trails which I would not have EVER found. And Beth led the way. I even rode a portion of the “Shore to Shore Equestrian Trail” a 220 mile trails stretching from Au Sable on Lake Huron to Empire on Lake Michigan. I had already ridden from Mackinaw City to Gaylord, 61 miles on part of the North Country Scenic Trail. Michigan has TRAILS!! goodness do they have trails.
So thanks to Gail who then came out as she even found an equestrian campsite east of Greyling, MI. for me to over night at. She then came out with food as I needed supplies. She went above and beyond the call of duty that day!
I had heard about COPS & DOUGHNUTS way back in the Upper Peninsula. Then I began seeing T-shirts with Cops and Doughnuts logo and sayings like “we frisk our fritters” and “cream puffs for handcuffs” and “cereal killer” with a etching of a doughnut dropped into a bowl of cold cereal… I had to check this place out.
I’d already learned that 9 policemen from Clare, MI. had started this cafe. I in my innocence imagined a kind of funky old place where a few policemen were hanging out and I would go in and say hello and thank them for all the work they do for us as officers of the law. WELL…. surprise surprise, this was a kicking
place, holy cow was what I said. Bubba and Greg were there, they are 2 of the 9 that began the enterprising Cops and Doughnuts. Its gone viral and it was so busy that I thought Ok, just get a c up of coffee and get out. But Bubba walked by and said, “can I help you?” I said something like, ” I, a well, I just rode my horses from Montana to see your coffee shop”…Well that was all it took… I had a grand ole time visiting with dozens of people and then stayed over at the park
even though it quite clearly states “no horses” I was a guest… In the morning I stopped to say good bye and the place was still hopping. I left with a sticky bun!
Came thru Roscommon, MI. and screamed when I heard my name called out. It was Janna the friend from Seattle on her way home from her Detroit visit. SIMPLY unbelievable that we ran into one another again, we had not planned on it.
I stopped in Rosebush to use the Library and Carolyn (in the photo) works there. Now this is another cute story… When I was making my way on those trails
that Gail and Beth had set me on I came across a road and was not at all sure I was on the right path so I flagged a car down. A nice clean newer suburban with 3 nicely dressed middle-aged women riding in it, hesitating to stop but did, as I nearly laid in front of them! not really. They were not quite sure what to make of me, I was I must admit dirty and ragged looking, I’d slept in the ditch the night before. Well anyway they got into it, trying to decide just where I was on the map and which way I should go, they even tried to use the GPS in the car. Then Carolyn who was sitting in the passenger seat stopped talking and apprehensivelysaid slowly, “you’re not that woman that rides around on a horse with her dog are you?” The three of them look at each other and were very quiet, “well yes I am”how do you know about me? I asked, ‘We call you the crazy lady” “well that is sensible” I said “we were just talking about you over the campfire last night, we talk about you all the time when we get scared or something”… We heard about you on the Today Show! Well out they came with screams and smiles and laughter and it was just one very short but lively meeting… Then I said I would be stopping in at Rosebush library to email Mt.Pleasant to let the folks at PBS Radio know that I was near as they were looking for an interview. And that elicited more screams because low and behold “Carolyn works there!!!”.
I was not at the Racetrack Training Center more than an hour and here comes Dee Dee Carter walking up. I have never met Dee Dee before but Dee Dee has been emailing me for nearly 8 years. She taught grade school in Black Canyon school in Arizona and her classes followed my rides for years. So Dee Dee was like a “trail angel” falling into my lap. I needed help with boxes and routes and the haul around Detroit and she has been running around seeing to my every need. She was like an old friend I had never met.
I leave in the morning will pick up my haul somewhere west of Ann Arbor where I shall say good bye to Michigan. It’s been a great ride.
Many, many thanks to all of you who so kindly helped in one way or another, I could not have possibly made it without your support.
Sincerely, Bernice Ende your lady long rider
THANK YOU SPONSORS
Again I must say thank you to my sponsors for their continued support.
This week I received packages from Theodora’s Garden with products I use every day. The Kool-Arnica for sore muscles also repels insects and stops the itch in a bite. Theodora’s lip balm and solid lotion I carry in my front bags to use through out the day.
Outfitters Supply sent out new Panniers, a Toklat WoolBack Pack Pad, thread, Pack saddle cinches, mink oil for saddle and hoofs and…cookies and a bag of chocolate covered nuts!! goodness.
Roger from The Blacksmith Shop is helping correct the uneven wear on Essie’s horse shoes.
The new cinch from Tangelo Customs is working great on Spirit who I ride for the most part and needed a softer cinch.
I slipped into a new pair of Ariat boots, the Roper line which I have been wearing for years.
Tuckers Saddle the Black Mountain is now equipped with tapaderos (stirrup covers) and I can’t help but wonder WHY I have not used them before. My feet stay dry! and protected from the packs that rub up against my leg. I’ve been using the Black Mountain Saddle since 2011, could not be happier with it. I feel like it turns into a piece of art work after time and travel shapes and shades the saddle. I have often thought how I looked when I first began long riding, like a hobo, it has made a world of difference to have the best of best equipment, nutrient supplements, a vet to call with questions, skin care products(a girls got to look good) all adds up to one thing, THANK YOU.