Nan Aspinwall – The first horsewoman to cross the US!

This story comes from NERN. (National Equine Resource Network)  Thank you!  Perfect for a Sunday.

Post courtesy of The Rounders


Nan Aspinwall was the first woman to ride horseback across North America alone, covering 4496 miles and taking 180 days in the saddle. She departed from San Francisco on September 1, 1910 and arrived in New York on July 8, 1911 with her Thoroughbred mare, Lady Ellen.

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.

Post courtesy of The Rounders

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