My life as a young girl growing up on a small Minnesota dairy farm could have been a hard, even dull life, had it not been for my mother. My father’s thick gnarled hands were a reflection of the work that was required to manage a dairy farm and provide for a large family. It was from him that I learned the art of “can-do-ness”, i.e., the art of improvising. We were poor but never do I recall us being without. My mother added color to our life--fun surprises that broke up the routine of chores. Her love of life was infectious as she decorated for holidays, baked birthday cakes, encouraged not just me but everyone to play a musical instrument and to read. My mother was a graduate of the University of Minnesota and loved reading. She took us to see plays and concerts. She encouraged her tribe to try different foods and to explore.
My mother gave me a sense of the horizon and the curiosity to look beyond its limitations. She was the kind of mother who upon laying eyes on her 8-year-old daughter (me) standing on the bare back of our old horse, Chee Chee, galloping down the gravel driveway, did not scream, but silently smiled and went about her business. Whenever I recall this incident, I shake my head and wonder, “How could she have let me do that, and watch!!!" She gave me the space to be as wildly adventurous as I needed to be. Her philosophy of life had been passed down to her by her mother and her four aunts, all capable, daring women who sought to change the world through education, the arts, science and… adventure. This, my mother passed down to me. The reason for swinging into the saddle in 2005 for my first long ride is very different from the reasons that I continue to ride today. How could I have ever imagined such a life and how well it would suit me?
I continue to be lured by the elusive horizon. I continue to enjoy the sharing of my travels through talks and presentations at local schools, 4-H clubs, youth groups, business meetings, nursing homes, and of course to many horse enthusiasts. I find the life challenging in every way. It has deepened my sense of gratitude for friends, community, and strangers that quickly become friends. My appreciation for the country I live in and for the animals that willingly travel with me has deepened infinitely. Our rich and diverse country is embellished by generous, neighborly people. To each and every one of you whose path I cross, a hearty thank you for the help, the interest, and the encouragement. I could not have done it without you.
Further on down the road:
2019 Authored “Lady Long Rider, Alone Across America on Horseback”
2019-2020 – Completed a 9month, 16 state book tour with 93 talks.
2018 Spoke at Harvard School of Health – celebrating my Aunt Linda accomplishments (the book is dedicated to her)
2018 Rode 300 miles in France
Have given hundreds of talks on my journey as a long rider
2005-2018 I have traveled the United States and Canada solo without support of any kind over 30,000 equestrian miles.
Today as my time commits more and more to speaking engagements, I continue to do rides, just not as long.
Happy Trails, Bernice Ende