Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Long Rider: HER JOURNEY

Bernice Ende photo - Full Story

Long Rider Bernice Ende

By: Sun Cooper

A singular rider surveys a sweeping landscape from horseback. The image is iconic to America; but this time, the rider isn’t emerging out of a Hollywood Western or a Great American Novel. This is real-life Lady Long Rider, Bernice Ende. Her signature wide straw brim wards off the kind of relentless weathering that comes from riding full days under the sun. The worldwide Long Riders’ Guild defines a long rider as someone who has ridden more than 1,000 continuous miles on a single equestrian journey. From 2005 till now, she has exceeded that distance thirty times over.

Long riders are rare today; still rarer it seems, a traveler who doesn’t construct a feed or a following. Bernice camps without internet, almost full time. I had traced her map where I could, following snippets on social media where someone had driven past her on a highway or hiked across her campsite. She navigates her way through urban cities and untamed lands at 4 miles per hour, and fences have taken on the grievances they inspired in the Old West. She has encountered grizzlies and snowstorms, outrun a tornado, had a stranger pull a gun on her, and has foraged for her own food and shelter daily. The day Bernice Ende set out to ride her Fjords – a strong horse breed from the mountains of Norway – across the country and beyond, she was fifty-years-wise. At a time in life when people are usually settling in, Bernice Ende was starting out on her most extraordinary journey...

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