Montana horsewoman rides in a circle...a big circle
Bernice Ende, of Trego , Mont. has been months, (she began in August), in the saddle, having ridden from her home to Minneapolis , Minn. , down the Midwest and into the Southwest. She arrived at Boise City on Oct. 24, and spent the night in the Fairgrounds Arena.
“I ride on $20 a week and the generosity of others,” she said. Last week that generosity came in the form of Boise City student/cowboy Tyler Avent. Avent found Ende at the arena, gave her hay for her horse Honor, (“Because I ride upon her.”), and bought Ende herself supper at Lidia's.
On other occasions she has stopped in cities and small towns, and offered to speak on her travels, passing her hat to raise money for food and incidentals. Food isn't the only overhead to such a trip, her dog Claire wears small leather boots with oiled, (bag balm), baby booties inside to protect her feet. She is on her fifth pair of boots; and Honor needs to be frequently shod, so when the time comes, Ende must find and pay a qualified Farrier.
Asked if she's ever gone hungry, Ende answered, “Yes. But the Midwest has been delightful.”
Asked how she handles bad weather and fatigue, Ende explained that she watches weather and studies topographical maps. If the weather looks bad she waits. Also she and her companions take rest breaks, three weeks at Minneapolis , and they will rest again in Las Vegas , N.M.
As for danger, Ende said she rides as an act of faith; but realizes she must be careful with whom she speaks. Also, she always makes sure police officers know she is staying at the fairgrounds. “I'm passed from town to town, (by law enforcement), so I'm carried pretty safely.”
Her biggest fear is being a “ditch rider.” She must avoid, broken glass, snakes and other dangers of the ditch.
She feeds Honor (The horse is a rescued race horse from the Native Dancer line.), from the kindness of grain elevator managers and individuals like Avent.
She is a retired ballet teacher who has also taught horsemanship and trained horses. She has also taught a technique called dressage, whereby a horse will respond to subtle command movements by the rider.
“I was a 4-H girl. I grew up on a dairy,” Ende smiled.
Asked why she makes such rides, Ende shrugs. “I'm no longer married, I have no children to take care of...it's mostly about testing myself, and my knowledge. It's a challenge as a horsewoman.”
This is her third year for long distance rides, last year she rode from Trego to Albuquerque as a warm up to this longer ride.
Boise City News