The Long Riders' Guild

Intrepid New Female Historical Long Riders discovered!

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"Two-Gun Nan" Aspinwall-Gable

After a five-year search, The Long Riders' Guild is able to confirm the legendary equestrian journey of the first woman to ride across North America alone.  Nan Jane Aspinwall-Gable led an extraordinary life, which included being a headline act as a sharp-shooter in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.  According to recently-discovered documentation, a disagreement between rival showmen Buffalo Bill Cody and Pawnee Bill led to the circumstances under which Nan made her solo transcontinental ride.

Could a woman ride from the Pacific to the Atlantic alone? the showmen argued.  Nan set off in September 1910 to prove it was possible.  Mounted on her thoroughbred, Lady Ellen, the lady Long Rider carried a letter from San Francisco Mayor McCarthy addressed to his colleague, Mayor Gaynor in New York.  During the course of the journey, Nan refused to allow anyone else to care for Lady Ellen, even to the point of shoeing the horse herself fourteen times.

After months on the road, Two-Gun Nan and Lady Ellen arrived in New York on July 13th, 1911.  According to newspaper reports at the time, the hardy equestrian traveller was awarded a diamond medal for endurance by Richard K. Fox, the long-time publisher of The National Police Gazette.  In an amazing historical aside, the story of Nan's medal was later plagiarized by the notorious equestrian travel charlatan, Frank Hopkins, whose story was recently made into the fictitious movie, "Hidalgo."

Although researchers have spent years trying to find information about this amazing Long Rider, her story was only uncovered thanks to the diligent academic research of Mary C. Higginbotham.  For decades, equestrian researchers had fruitlessly searched for clues to the ride and life of Nan Aspinwall.  Mary discovered that Nan's work as an entertainer and traveller was undertaken under her married name of Nan Gable.

The Long Riders' Guild is proud to announce the forthcoming publication of the story of Two-Gun Nan entitled "In Genuine Cowgirl Fashion."  This book contains all of Mary Higginbotham's unique research and will be amply illustrated with never-before-seen photographs of Nan in the saddle and on the stage.  For more information about this book, please email The Guild.





Ana Beker

The Long Riders' Guild has long known about the fabled equestrian explorer, Ana Beker, who rode 17,000 miles alone from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Ottawa, Canada in the early 1950s.  So we were thrilled when we received an email from Suzanne Copenhagen, who wrote to say that she recalled Ana riding into her parents' front yard in 1954 to seek shelter for the night!

"I was not quite six years old when Ana Beker stayed overnight at our house outside Sandy Spring, Maryland, while her two horses enjoyed the hospitality of our barn," Suzanne wrote.

To read Suzanne's charming recollections of meeting this legendary Long Rider, please click here.

To read an excerpt from Ana's book, "The Courage to Ride," in which Ana writes about how giant condors tried to kill her horses in the Andes mountains, please click here.

Eileen Bowdage

Eileen Bowdage undertook an extended journey across England during the Second World War, riding through Exeter in 1942 after it had just been partly destroyed by the aerial bombing of the German Luftwaffe. The Long Riders' Guild is currently preparing to publish Eileen's account of her war-time ride in the "Stories from the Road" section of this website.












Alberta Claire, "the Girl from Wyoming."

Alberta Claire made one of the most remarkable rides of the early twentieth century.  The daughter of an English sea-captain who settled in frontier Wyoming, young Alberta set off in 1912 on an 8,000 mile journey which took her from Wyoming to Oregon, south to California, across the deserts of Arizona, and on to a triumphant arrival in New York City.

The photograph, taken during the course of her journey, depicts Alberta and her horse Bud on the beach in front of the well-known San Francisco tourist attraction, The Cliff House.

The diminutive pistol-packing Long Rider undertook her journey for two special reasons. Though few people now recall, women were denied the right to vote in 1912. Furthermore, polite society expected women to ride in a side saddle. Thus Alberta made her ride in an effort to promote the still-revolutionary ideas of a woman's right to vote and her right to ride astride!  After Teddy Roosevelt endorsed women's suffrage in the Presidential election of that year, the 500 year old use of the side saddle disappeared from use almost overnight thanks to Alberta Claire and women like her.

In a further astonishing discovery, The Long Riders' Guild has documented how Alberta then rode from New York to El Paso, Texas.  Upon receiving news of the ongoing Mexican revolution, Alberta crossed the border where she interviewed and photographed the famous guerrilla leader, Pancho Villa.  Furthermore, Alberta was instrumental in filming Villa during the 1914 battle of Ojinaga. A 2003 film starring Antonio Banderos as Pancho Villa, recounted the making of this movie, but failed to recognise the importance of Alberta Claire.  This legendary Long Rider may well have been the first female film producer in history!

Despite her colourful and well-documented early life, The Guild can find no trace of Alberta Claire after the publication of her Mexican movie story in 1916.  If any of our visitors have any clues, please contact The Guild.

Click here to read a hair-raising story by Alberta.






Fanny Duberly

Fanny Duberly led one of the most dashing and dangerous lives of the mid-nineteenth century.  In 1854, while still in her early twenties, Fanny accompanied her husband Henry and his regiment to the front lines of the Crimean War to fight the Russians.  Considered the first female "embedded reporter," Fanny's eye-witness account of the horrors of the Crimean War includes the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade.  After having survived bullets, cholera and shipwreck, Fanny and her husband next saw action in India.  In 1857 Fanny rode more than two thousand miles through the deserts of India alongside Captain Duberly and his troops during the suppression of the Sepoy Revolt. 

This remarkable Long Rider was the author of two fascinating books entitled Crimean Journal and Indian Journal, both of which will soon be available at and

The photograph on the left shows Fanny on her horse, Bob, with Henry standing in front of her.

(Photo from the cover of the November 1905 issue of Country Life in America)

Martha Wadsworth

Martha Wadsworth was one of the most noted American horsewomen of the early twentieth century.  The Long Riders' Guild is awaiting confirmation that Martha undertook an extended equestrian journey in the Old West.  However, we do know for certain that in April 1912 Martha made an equestrian journey from Washington DC to her home in Genesee Valley New York.  She was accompanied for part of the way by Miss Helen Taft, the President's daughter.  According to contemporary accounts, Martha "made it an annual custom to ride from Washington to her New York home, taking a different route each time."  To learn more about Martha and the Genesee Valley Hunt, which she helped to found, please click here.

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