‘Lady Long Rider’ gallops into Sandpoint, around U.S.

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‘Lady Long Rider’ Bernice Ende, and her two horses Essie Pearl and Montana Spirit, are riding more than 8,000 miles in two and a half years, going round-trip from her home in Treego, Mont. to both coasts and back. She camps with the horses on public lands and relies on the kindness of people in the towns that she comes across. (Photo by DESIREE HOOD)

SANDPOINT — Riding a horse 8,000 miles is a trek for most people, but for Bernice Ende, it is another ride with the two horses that keep her going.

“Lady Long Rider” Bernice Ende has a love for horses and for women's rights, which shows in her trips around the country. A self-proclaimed Minnesota dairy farm girl, she said she was born riding. She taught classical ballet for 25 years, but came back to horses recently. She started taking long rides when she was 50, and 11 years later, she has more than 27,000 miles. A member of the International Long Riders Guild, Ende said said very few women ride as much as she does alone.

“I've come back to (horses) in my later years,” Ende said.

She started several years ago with a long ride from Treego, Mont., to Albuquerque to visit her sister. It was about 2,000 miles, and she was alone, had many fears, and had a single horse.

“It was a horrible nightmare,” Ende said. "I just didn't know anything."

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