Update from the Ride

Hello, again!
After one month out, Bernice and I will be parting ways, however we do so with smiles on our faces and projects continuing!
I have definitely been able to experience some of the daily joys, the many surprises, and the beauty of the communities, people, and landscapes that one encounters travelling by horse and foot. However, the life of a Lady Long Rider is much more intense, fast-paced, and physically strenuous than I ever could have conceived. Bernice and I trained while in Forsyth to help prepare me physically and on horseback for this adventure, but truly understanding what this type of long riding is like was impossible for her to clearly portray and me to fully grasp. It has been a challenging but rewarding month on the road with Bernice, but this month has also made me realise that it takes much more than curiosity to do this for 6 months. When coming out and agreeing to join the ride, I had a deep curiosity about the communities we would pass and the people we would get to know, which one cannot do travelling by car at 70 mph. After becoming good friends with Bernice I had a curiosity about understanding, at a deeper level, what her life is like on the road. I had the curiosity of seeing beautiful, rural, western landscapes going at 3-4 mph. However, I have realised that my curiosity does not match a desire to continue the ride for the 6 months – it truly takes a vision, and for many, a long time dream to long ride like this. With Bernice’s support and enthusiasm, I think I could have finished the six months, but it would be me finishing for the sole purpose of finishing and not out of truly wanting to continue. Going that route would have felt dishonest to myself and perhaps would have muddled the process for both of us.
After having good long talks with Bernice, I will be heading out of Saskatoon to visit friends and family back east before heading back out to Montana in the fall to meet up again with Bernice and work with Lise Swenson on putting together a documentary on Bernice, the Lady Long Rider.
I graciously thank Bernice for opening up her home and her life to me. I appreciate and love her friendship, and I have gained an even deeper respect for her and the life she has chosen for herself (or that has chosen er), as it is one few could do, but it is one that brings her much happiness and discovery. I am very excited to meet up with her again and shoot some footage of her north of NW Montana. As you all know who follow the ride, Bernice is an inspiration to many, and it would be wonderful to be able to project her ever evolving story, the image of the rider and horse, and the dynamism of who she is and what she does to a larger audience.
Thank you all for the support and encouragement, and there have been no regrets from either of us! Much learned and much experienced.
We both continue on with a strong friendship, good energy, and smiles on our faces.
– I will also be posting many more photos and stories in the next week or two when I have access to more time at a computer!

Emily and I send Greetings from Mankota, Saskatchewan

We are camped at the rodeo grounds. The town park as shower facilities, and an excellent restaurant, a good library, and gracious and friendly smiles and handshakes. Mankota is a lovely small ranching and farming community northwest of the National Grasslands. Two day stop… picked up supplies… horses doing well. Hart is doing very well, Claire is moving well, Essie Pearl is fat and sassy, and Emily and I are traveling slow but steady, night after night of exquisite campgrounds. We wear smiles also. Swift Current is the next major stop…. An eight day ride.
Thank you all who follow the ride. More detail  to come then.
Happy Trails,
Bernice Ende – your Lady Long Rider

Through the Border, Into Canada! May 10th, 2012

Monday night we rode just south of the border and had a lovely ranch to camp out at. There were about 30 bulls in some land next to where we were camped out, so there was plenty of bull arguing and yelling and stomping to watch! Tuesday morning we packed up and headed to the border. After being asked a number of questions we waited to hear whether they would let us through or not! After getting all of the required government documents and vaccinations and health papers for the animals, we thought we were good to go! And finally, through the border we went, realising how much more strict the border had gotten after 9/11. We have had many interesting discussions on this from folks who live close to the border on both sides.
Tuesday afternoon we arrived in the lovely little town of Killdeer. A beautiful day it was! We got permission to stay in the yard of the community hall. The Community Hall was filled with interesting pictures from the 1940’s until today, and scattered with bits of local history. The next morning we got to explore the area a bit more with a local man named, Amel, who was generous enough to tour us around to see some of the beautiful areas southern Saskatchewan has to offer, including Wood Mountain and the town of Rockglen. It was also suggested that we go through the Grassland National Park rather than keep going north as planned. We took his advice, and here we are in the beautiful and vast Grassland National Park. We rode in last night into a beautiful scenic campground as the sun was beginning to set. We also met another very helpful and kind gentleman, Warren, who came out to visit with us at the Grasslands to give some helpful navigation and suggestions about the region.
Today it is cold and rainy so we decided to camp here for an extra day. We met three local park rangers who have been incredibly hospitable, helped us develop a trail to get us twoards the Town of Swift Current, and talked in detail about some fascinating Canadian history.
We will head out tomorrow, and will most likely be in Swift Current in about a week, and will post more then!
Happy Trails!
Learn more about Grasslands National Park here: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/sk/grasslands/index.aspx

Monday, May 7th Leaving Opheim

Brilliant and bright sun, cold northwest wind, preparing for Canada!
We both wish to thank the people of Opheim for their generous slice ofhospitality. They helped us in every way possible! What could have been a horrible time due to some of the worst weather I have experienced, turned into a welcomed and comfortable stay.
Thank you again Opheim!
Hope lies within these communities!
Happy Trails,
Your Lady Long Rider

Opheim, MT

We headed to Opheim last Tuesday.  Beautiful scenery; rolling fields, blue skies, plenty of surprising creeks. People have been very helpful throughout the way! With supplying potable water, giving good suggestions on routes and directions, and proving some shelter and good conversation.
We arrived in Opheim on Friday and were welcomed by the Baily family who have been most helpful and generous. We have been here three days and we have already met so many great locals. It has been a windy and rainy all weekend, so we have bunkered down this weekend and will head out to cross the border tomorrow.
Currently sitting at the lovely Outpost cafe (which has wireless  internet!!) and chatting with locals and listening to stories of homesteading and the last gun fight in the area. Opheim has truly been wonderful to us.
Heading across the border tomorrow! Hopefully the border patrol won’t take apart the bags too much!
Will update  more soon!
Happy Trails!

April 30th, Monday, Glasgow, Montana, 7 day stop over

Rain poured from the sky’s leaving an inch of much need moisture and smiles on local ranchers and farmers.  Gene Hartsock, manager at the Valley County Fairgrounds opened  a building for us and let us put the horses in stalls,. With much gratitude we were warm, safe and dry as the sky’s unleashed wind, rain and cold.
Today I gave a talk at the Senior Center, full house and liver and onions for lunch.
My guest rider Emily McKee has joined me and the past week has been spent preparing for our Canadian crossing, going over tack, food, sleeping arrangements in the tent and so forth. Much to do. Always much to do. I am often times asked ” what do you do out there don’t you get bored” , and I smile to myself because there is a constant line of work that needs to be done daily. Brushing horses, brushing saddle pads, washing cinches, feeding,( all of us). Checking hooves, writing, journal. Just the setting up of the tent and evening chores is a full 2 hours. Morning is a bit less. But there is always “much to do”.
The ride up from Forsyth through spectacular open spacious cattle country. Plenty of water in the reservoirs, plenty of grass coming up even this early in the spring. Horses ran off twice, and there is nothing more embarrassing than having to say, “Uh, excuse me could you help me I seem to have lost  horses”, I found them both times after several agonizing hours. Nothing worse than waking up and your horses are gone!.Three horses is a good deal more to handle, the logistics of leading them, of what happens if one shy’s ,how to tie up, how to stake out. I had my hands full, and fortunately the land I was traveling thru was open barren country where few cars wish to travel. I deliberately chose this route for the sole purpose of training and  introducing a new horse safely to the roads. I simply can not say enough for this young new start, Montana Spirit. Here she is only 3 months with this tribe she has found herself in. She came knowing  how to lead and load, but had a wonderful gregarious personality that draws her to people. She is now riding and packing and traveling out as lead horse. She has much to learn of course and I feel it takes years to develop a truly solid trust between horse and rider for the often times challenging situations a horse traveling across country will encounter. But she is probably the best long riding horse that I will ever take out. Her short back, thick skin and heavy hair, her hairy feathered draft horse legs, her calm yet very alert mind and her willingness to move forward are all skills and characteristics that I look for in a horse for long riding.
We head out in the morning. making our way north to Ophiem and crossing into Canada just 10 miles north of there. We have our international papers secured from the  the Valley Vet Clinic here in Glasgow. The Tucker Saddles are oiled and cleaned. The packs from Outfitters Supply are  clean and ready. Skitco Saddle Pads are fitted and ready. Ariat Boots are soft and feel good for a few more hundred miles. Sunbody Hats sent out a beautiful hat for Emily. I welcome Source Micro- nutrients to the ride. The horses love this mineral supplement and it has made a very obvious effect on the horses hoofs and coats. Welcome to all of you at SOURCE PRODUCTS, glad to have you riding along.
I must stop here and thank, once again my much appreciated sponsors. They have provided me with the finest in equipment and bring a wealth of credibility to my rides. When I first began long riding I looked very much like a tramp!! You will see the list of sponsors on the SPONSORSHIP Page, check them out let them know you met me. They keep me riding in style. Their products are the best, after 17,000 miles I do know that for certain.
Ok I am off  Emily is going to fill you in with a few words from her side of the show, and then a few Photos. Until next time….Happy Trails Bernice Ende
What an incredible opportunity it is to be able to ride with Bernice Ende on her 2000 mile Canadian ride. My name is Emily McKee, born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, and lived in Ontario and Quebec, Canada for 6 years. I moved to Forsyth, Montana two years ago to work in rural and regional planning, and truly fell in love with Montana. Instantly I was welcomed in Forsyth: learned a bit about stick welding, helped to brand and vaccinate cows, shoot old Winchesters, and of course, learn how to ride a horse. Everyone was eager to welcome me to Eastern Montana, tell stories, show me around; and I was eager to learn.
A co-worker, Pam Hill, invited me over for lunch to meet Bernice Ende, who was at the time ‘wintering’ north of Forsyth, camped out in a small old barn. Bernice has a charisma that is hard not to love, and a love for riding that is hard not to want to understand the depths of. She needed to update her website and I was happy to help. I’ve known her for about a year and half now. She invited me up to her ‘Forsyth home’ to ride horses. It was the first time being on a horse, and what an incredible thing it was! A little odd at first being so far off of the ground, but what a neat thing to see the world from a panoramic, 3-D perspective, from a horse. We went out riding a number of times, but after we decided I would go with her for a number of weeks she trained me more on technique, as well as got me used to the horses, and the horses used to me. Still however, much, MUCH to learn. And I appreciate Bernice for taking the chance and having the patience to bring me along.
I had been planning on going for a cross-country road trip for a while, so I had saved up a bit of money and was already finishing up work. What perfect timing, and what an ideal time in my life to do such a thing. Bernice has been doing this for over eight years. Different than most long riders, this is not just a ‘trip’ for her, this is her way of life. She has such knowledge about weather patterns, plants to eat and not eat, and of course knowledge and expertise with the horse. To be able to learn from her, work with her, and share this experience with her seems like an opportunity young adults in 2012 don’t normally get, and I feel grateful. Also, what an incredible way to travel. At 4 miles per hour, we truly get a chance to see the countryside, talk with locals, hear stories, experience various small towns through Montana and Canada. We will also be working with Lise Swenson to develop a documentary. I will be taking footage of the trail, and then once we are finished, work with Lise and Bernice to edit and develop a documentary of Bernice Ende.
Friends, family, and strangers… thank you for your support on this adventure!
Much love,
Washing clothes in Glasgow, Montana

Gene Hartsock at the Valley County Fair Grounds.

                           Cold wet day in Glasgow, Montana.