Adapt or Die


AERC and its ride managers are businesses that provide recreational events for horsemen on the North American continent and they must learn to adapt or die. Its time for AERC to grasp the fact our sport is failing to keep up with its changing demographics.


Participation in AERC events is on a downward spiral. AERC riders are growing older and becoming physically unable to continue participating in the sport many of them have centered their life around. There simply are not enough juniors and young people to make up for the dwindling numbers. When I started this sport I went to rides in a brand new pickup truck that cost $1600.00 pulling a new two horse trailer that cost $495.00. I slept in a tent and bought hay that was $17.00 a ton. I used the best farrier in southern California, and he was more expensive than any of the others. He charged $7.00 to shoe a horse. The vet got $10 to worm it. When it came time to choose a profession, I chose to become a veterinarian. Now the farriers are getting in the hundreds to tack on shoes and the owners can worm their own horses for under $6.00. If veterinarians had failed to adapt, as AERC has, they would have starved to death.


There are several things that AERC can and should do. Probably the most productive would be to eliminate the LD division. For that matter, they can eliminate the Endurance division as well. It’s really simple and its what XP Rides will do in 2018. We will no longer talk about LD riders and 50’s or Endurance Riders, as they are all XP Riders. They are mostly all AERC riders as well. This simple fix will encourage our older generation to keep going down the trail, adding to their lifetime AERC mileage. Is there anyone really worried that someone is going to beat Hosebag’s 65,000-mile record by combing his or her Endurance miles with their LD miles? Bear in mind that LD riders generally pay twice as much per mile to both AERC and ride managers, yet they are considered second-class citizens. They aren’t second-class, they are the ones who have saved the sport as many rides, including the XP, would have faded away without the support of the LD riders.


In 2018 there will be no longer be LD divisions in XP Rides. There will only be mileage divisions, period. AERC should do the same. All the year end, regional and national awards can be slightly modified in name only to reflect our adaptation to a system that treats all our riders as equally important. In a perfect world, as I see it, new riders would start at the lowest distances, even intro rides, and work their way up to try longer and more challenging distances and events, finally escalating to the highest level of endurance competition, The Tevis Cup. We need to stop the bickering over the different levels. FEI, hundreds, Tevis, fifties, twenty fives, intro rides and multi-days are all important and their advocates can devote their energies to improve their favorite venues instead of insisting everyone fit into their shoe.

New for 2018

Starting with the 2018 ride season, in addition to the above proposal,  the XP Rides will be adding an Intro Ride to all of our events.  These rides are also known as Fun Rides or Duck Rides.  We have offered Duck Rides for many years but we are going to formalize the events to a limited degree and will be more diligent in keeping track of the rider mileage in ALL divisions. This means that your ALL of your mileage will count  for the year end awards regardless of what division you rode in.  Just to be clear, we will include AERC Endurance Miles, plus AERC Limited Distance Miles, AS WELL AS XP INTRO/FUN/DUCK MILES. We are doing this as we now have many riders and horses who have reached an age at which it is no longer fun or even possible to “go the distance”.  These old campaigners, have been reluctant to drop to the “lower” levels of competition for various reasons. We miss them and want to offer them an opportunity to continue in the sport they have supported for so long.  Starting with the Coso Junction Ride in December we will track mileage from all divisions including the Intro/Fun/Duck rides.  This cumulated mileage will then be the basis for the year end XP awards.  

The 2018 Bar H Ranch Ride will be an XP Ride but will not be AERC sanctioned. Mileage will count toward the XP end of year awards.  There will be an AERC Clinic in conjunction with the event.  Join us for a laid back, fun weekend. 

We are expanding our 5 day events (Mt Carmel ~ Grand Canyon ~ Virgin Outlaw) to 6 days.  They will start on a Sunday and run for three days. Then there will be a rest day on Wednesday. Another three day Pioneer Ride will start on Thursday and run though Saturday.  We have received numerous requests and suggestions for this so we will give it a try and see how it goes.  

2018 Results through Coso Junction are now posted

Our next ride:

2018 Death Valley Encounter 

A Multiday Ride in the Death Valley Historical Area

December 28-31, 2017

2018 AERC Ride Season 50 & 25 or 30 & 10 or 15 each day

Distances subject to last minute adjustments for weather.




Heidi and the Hurricanes to perform at the New Years Eve party and dance.

2018 AERC Ride Season 10 to 50 mile distances subject to last minute adjustments for weather. Intro/Duck rides are usually from 10-15 miles.

This is a multi-day format of 4 separate 50’s and 4 lesser distance rides that vary from 10 to 35 miles. The daily rides are sanctioned by the American Endurance Ride Conference for the 2018 Ride Season.


Trona Road and Hwy 178 Junction, east of Ridgecrest: Continue east on Hwy178 through the quaint (LOL) villages in the Searles Valley. Go 6.45 miles after crossing the railroad tracks in Trona and turn right on Valley Wells Road. Camp is on the right side of the road just before the Country Club Parking Lot.

From the San Bernardino area and Kramer Junction (Hwy 58 & 395): Take Hwy 395 north through the village of Red Mtn. Turn right on Trona Road as you leave Red Mountain. The Trona Road ends at Hwy 178. Turn right and follow the directions from the Trona Rd/Hwy 78 Junction.

From the San Fernando Valley area: Take Hwy 14 past Jawbone Station and turn right on the Redrock Randsburg Road. After travelling 12 miles take the left fork on the Garlock Road and go to the end. Turn left on Hwy 395 for approximately 3 miles and turn right on the Searles Station Road. Turn left on the Trona Road at the T. The Trona Road ends at Hwy 178. Turn right and follow the directions from the Trona Rd/Hwy 78 Junction.

From Northern California and all points along I5: Take Hwy 58 out of Bakersfield to Hwy 14. Go north on Hwy 14 and follow the directions from the San Fernando Valley area.

From Reno and points north along 395: Go south on 395 and turn east on Hwy 178 through Ridgecrest. Follow the directions from the Hwy 178/Trona Road Junction. There are some individuals who prefer to travel through Death Valley and the Panamint Valley but they are not recommended in any vehicle without sufficient power and good brakes as the grades are steep and unforgiving.

Do not camp with horses in the parking lot of the golf course. The correct location is to the right of the paved road. Don’t pull in there before noon on December 26th. If you are arriving in the area earlier than that you can find nice accommodations at the fairgrounds on the east side of Ridgecrest or at the Nicholson home in Inyokern. There are also numerous open areas in which you can camp in the desert. You are welcome to call us at 907 209 8881 when you get to town and we will help you with your needs. You will be required to keep your camp clean and we will be collecting a deposit to insure that you do. We have had to return to the camp for the past three years to take care of what has been missed by the clean up crews. Searles Valley Minerals is tired of dealing with our failure to remove all traces of the horses. The biggest problem has been people on the edges of the camp thinking that throwing manure and hay into the bushes constitutes clean up. It does not and we will be looking to prevent that this year.

Basic Ride Info: The trails will be similar to two years ago and will not include the extra loops of last year. We will include the nice single track trail down the spine of the Slate Range where you will be able to see the Manley escape route from a birds eye view. The ride will consist of desert type terrain that will range from really good footing, soft sand to rocks and hard packed. Elevation gain will be moderate. All four days will be loop rides out of the same camp, including the LD trail for the first day.

Destination information for health certificates: Health certificates are required for horses coming into California from other states. They are not required for horses coming from within the state. The requirements for health papers vary depending on conditions both in California and other states. Your local veterinarian will be able to counsel you on current requirements. The destination address is Trona Golf and Social Club, Valley Wells Road, Trona, CA 93562

Meals: Dinners are available each evening of the ride for an additional fee. The fee for the New Years’ dinner will be $20 and will be a steak barbecue with all the fixings. You will need to pay for your dinner ticket for the New Years dinner when you check in to ride. Lunches will be hot soup and hot chocolate on two of the days, bbq hot dogs on another day, and bbq beef sandwiches on another day. The lunches are included in the daily entry fee.

Ride Rules: AERC rules apply. The management, unlike the AERC Board of Directors, is able to differentiate between an endurance ride and an endurance race. If you are into endurance riding you will probably enjoy this ride. If you are a real competitor and are looking for a race you are likely to find the lack of structure here to be an abomination. This is an old time endurance ride like we used to have when you could print all the AERC rules on a single page. Back in the good old days we used to ride more and read less. Those were better times.

You can pay at the ride after determining how many days you end up riding. Entry fees are $110.00 per day. Entry fees in general are discussed on the home page. Intro Rides are $65.00 per day.


Phone 907 209 8881 or e-mail

Ride Photos by Lynn Glazer 




Entry Fees in General: 

Ride information will be sent to those who have entered online usually within two weeks of the event. If you have not received a response with the information you are looking for you should call or email us. 


We do not require pre payment for most of our rides, so its easiest to just bring cash or check to the ride and pay when you decide how many days you have ridden.  Its the old time way of doing business based on trust.  


Entry fees are a composite of ride entry fees along with other charges that must be passed on to the riders. These hidden charges include fees to the various government entities such as the BLM, USFS and NPS as well as camping fees to state, country and private entities. They also include drug testing taxes levied upon the riders from the State of California and/or the AERC. In addition there are AERC rider fees which vary depending upon membership status. XP Rides and the XP Riders host a number of events, all of which have different financial conditions.  Not only do fees vary from ride to ride, they also vary within most rides. Our policy of not publishing fees comes from accusations of government officials going to the ride site, extrapolating information and applying it as they wish.  We have not increased any of our ride fees for many years and have no plans for any increases in the foreseeable future. Cuyama and Lost Padres are the only XP Rides that require prepayment.  Most riders pay at the end of the ride on all the other rides.

Photos for Lost Padres and Cuyama available at:

Photos for Mt Carmel, Strawberry and Grand Canyon available at:

XP Rides for 2018 Ride Season

Coso Junction ~ December 2 & 3

Death Valley Encounter ~ December 28-31

Laurel Mountain ~ January 27 & 28

Eastern Mojave ~ February 8-11

Bar H ~ AERC Clinic PLUS Bar H Ranch Ride ~March 3

The AERC website is incorrect. There is no sanctioned endurance or LD ride at Bar H.

Cuyama Oaks ~ March 23-25

Lost Padres ~ April 7 & 8 DO NOT SEND RELEASES TO THE RANCH.

Mt Carmel ~ April 22-23-24 Rest Day 26-27-28

Strawberry Fields ~ June 15-17

Grand Canyon ~ August 26-27-28 Rest Day 30-31-Sept 1

Virgin Outlaw ~ September 23-24-25  Rest Day  27-28-29

Sesenta Años ~ November 9-10-11

You can learn more about each of our rides by going to XP Rides and Dates on the menu bar and scrolling down to the one you are interested in. 





EasyCare, Inc. is proud to provide year-end awards to XP riders. EasyCare, Inc. has a full line of hoof boots and natural hoof care products that protect the hoof, allow horses to cover rough terrain, act as a spare tire in case of a lost shoe, and aid in the treatment of laminitis and other hoof problems. EasyCare’s hoof boot brands include the Easyboot, Boa Horse Boot, Old Mac’s and EasySoaker.  While the main focus at EasyCare is horse boot design, we proudly make other top quality products for trail riders and recreational horse owners such as Stowaway Saddle Packs, EZ Ride Stirrups, Comfort Pads, hoof boot accessories and natural hoof care products.





Please don’t be offended if the Duck doesn’t add you as a friend or associate on Facebook,  LinkedIn,  or  any other type of social media.  He just simply does not participate in those things!



Over the years our family has made a lot of great friends along the trail. We always look forward to the new ride year to renew those friendships and to make new ones. We hope you will be able to join us on the endurance trails this year. Come ride with us, you will be glad you did.