We have the honor of riding with a remarkable woman and long rider: Bernice Ende. For Bernice, long riding is not a job or a hobby, it is her life and her passion. Unlike other long riders that have undertaken a ride as a once-in-a-lifetime thing, Bernice has been long riding since 2005, with more than 28,000 miles! She considers it a privilege and a freedom to be able to do what many others wish they could. She understands both the romanticism of the long rider and the realism of living off the land, day by day. Bernice says she never imagined the response she has received from the public. Along her ride she is welcomed into towns where she gives talks to various groups about her experience. She stops in the libraries to answer her emails. People offer their homes, food, and hearts to her and her traveling companions.
On one of Bernice’s rides several years ago, she rode to Texas and stopped by. We introduced her to the folks here at Tucker, and she brought in her Tucker High Plains saddle for show and tell. WOW. This saddle has been ridden over 10,000 miles and has held up remarkably. The leather is soft and pliable as a glove, the Gel-Cush™ seat is still as comfortable as day 1, and Honor (her Thoroughbred mare) never had a saddle sore. As Bernice explains, this saddle is an intimate part of her life. She sits in it for hours a day, every day, it’s her chair, her bed. She can not afford to have a sore horse, to be held up in order to rest or heal. Compared to the riding that most of us do, this saddle is abused. And now that Honor is gone (because of a freak, tragic accident), it was retired from the long ride. Today, Bernice rides in a 261 Black Mountain and 159 Endurance depending on which horse she rides.
“Here I am at the end of 10,000 miles and I want another Tucker saddle. It’s light durable and beautiful. I hope it’s on Essie for another 10,000 miles. It’s my chair, it’s my bed, it’s an intimate part of my life. It takes abuse. If I can take the abuse of long riding, it can take the abuse of weekend rides.” – Bernice Ende
To learn more about Bernice Ende and follow her travels, visit her website at endeofthetrail.com.