I keep getting questions about the status of the WDRA that I cannot answer.  I was a founding member of WDRA as well as a member of the WDRA Board of Directors.  I resigned my position on the BOD earlier this summer.  I will continue to support the WDRA and will make results available to them once they have the ability to record results from our rides.  I am unaware of how many other rides WDRA has sanctioned in the 2021 season. I do know the only results shown on their website are from the XP rides in 2021 up through Cuyama.  I have no idea what the WDRA plans for their annual awards.  That obviously disturbs me and I hope this will be worked out over time.  In the meantime the XP will go back to our annual awards program.  When the 2012 season is over we will total up the results from all of the XP events and have annual awards available, hopefully in conjunction with the MRER convention. 


Sesenta Años

The correct dates are November 11-12-13, 2021.  That is Thursday Friday Saturday so you can miss the Friday and Sunday traffic.


November 11-12-13, 2021
In 2021 we offer both AERC and WDRA Rides
25 or 30 & 55 or 50 all days; plus 10-15 WDRA rides all days


 lost padres 2012 012 (Small)

Annie is once again providing free lunches to those willing to assume the risk of eating in a remote camping situation.

John is laying out new trails for the AERC event that will stay in the lower elevations and be easier than the steeper trails in the back country. Those interested in seeing the backcountry should enter the WDRA events which will require similar effort for horse and rider as the AERC but will the mileage will be adjusted to keep finishing times the same as the traditional endurance rides of yesteryear.

Ride Location: This ride will be held on the beautiful Rancho San Fernando Rey in the upper Santa Ynez River Valley north of Santa Barbara. This is an original Spanish land grant rancho of 37,000 acres looking much like it did 200 years ago. The terrain is classic central California rolling hills and valleys covered with oaks and grass. Unlike John’s ride twelve years ago, this time the basecamp and every inch of the trail will be located on the Ranch.

Trail Description: There will be a different trail each day. There will be plenty of water on the trail at spring fed stock tanks. The trail will mostly use dirt ranch roads and cow trails. Since it may still be very dry in mid November, hoof protection is advisable.

Rules: The rules of the American Endurance Ride Conference will apply. The ride is open to every breed of horse or mule. AERC rules require horses entering the 50 mile ride to be 5 years or older and horses in the 25 mile ride to be at least 4 years old. Since John rides perhaps the strangest horse in endurance, he encourages everyone with a reasonably fit trail horse whether it is an Arab, a quarterhorse, a gaited horse, a mule, or whatever, to give at least one of the shorter distances a try. In addition to the AERC rules there are some things about the XP Rides that differ from other Socal rides. Please take the time to read our thoughts on medications, riding vs racing, and general behavior of riders and crew members.  Our family and friends organize these events to have fun. They are not intended to be high class international competitions.  

Special Considerations: Because this is a private ranch, the Rancho San Fernando Rey’s own release form must be signed by every single person coming onto the property, whether as a rider, a crew, a volunteer or anything else. You will not be allowed to enter the Ranch without a signed RSFR release for every person in your vehicle. To protect the ranch roads and the pasture where the basecamp is located, the ride will be cancelled in case of substantial rain during or immediately before the ride. Because this is a working cattle operation, loose dogs will not be tolerated. Best to leave your dog at home .

Early Arrivals:   If you need to arrive before THURSDAY, John suggests you contact Rancho Oso, a private equestrian campground just a few minutes down the road from the ranch entrance.  Ranch Oso has excellent facilities.  Camp for Sesenta Anos will open on THURSDAY.

Entry Fees for the AERC event: $360 for a three day entry. $260 for a two day entry. $135 for a one day entry.

From the south: drive through Santa Barbara on Highway 101, turn onto Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass, turn right onto Paradise Road a mile or so after crossing the bridge, turn left after a mile or so into the Ranch at our sign. If you are concerned about going up San Marcos Pass with a really big rig, then stay on 101 until Buellton, turn right onto Highway 246, and turn right onto Highway 154 to join those coming from the north.

From the north: drive through Santa Maria on Highway 101, turn onto Highway 154, turn left onto Paradise Road after passing Lake Cachuma, turn into the Ranch at our sign.

Address for Health Certificates:  Rancho San Fernando Rey, 166 Paradise Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93105.  If you are already IN California,  you don’t need a health certificate.


Entry Fees:

AERC One Day          $140.00 check or $145.00 Paypal

XP/WDRA One Day  $120.00 check or $125.00 Paypal

AERC Two Days       $260.00 check or $250.00 Paypal

XP/WDRA Two Days $ 230.00 or $235 Paypal

AERC Three Days     $360 check or $370.00 Paypal

XP/WDRA Three Days $320.00 check or $325 Paypal


The fees are the same for the 50 mile and 25 mile rides which includes the increased camping and drug fees for this years event. Fun riders enter the XP/WDRA event. The entries are limited and prepayment is required. After entering online you can pay via the Paypal friends and family option or send a check to Ann Nicholson, 19898 Road V, Lewis, Colorado 81327. The Paypal address is entry@xprides.com

For more information contact Ride Manager:

Ann Nicholson, 907-209-8881

Dave Nicholson, 907 419 0924 ~ 970 880 0150


You may notice we have made some big changes in our traditional scheduling.  We have eliminated ending our events on Sundays.  This is especially important for those in California so they can travel home late Saturday or very early on Sunday to avoid the traffic.  In addition we have moved the dates of Coso Junction and Death Valley so Annie and our XP families can now spend their holidays at home.  Might not hurt to spend those Sundays and Holidays meditating with the congregations of your choice to pray for healing this troubled world.

I keep getting emails and calls about our plans for the foreseeable future.  It is our intention to continue doing the XP Rides on the same weekends as we have been doing. 

We are unable to make some of our most scenic mountain region rides meet the AERC mileage requirements without endangering horses. We can address the mileage issue by adding insane little loops at the end of an otherwise great ride but that really takes the enjoyment out of beautiful rides. 

XP Rides and the Nicholson Family

Ann and I are committed to continuing with XP Rides as long as possible.  The entire sport seems to be dwindling away and our rides are no exception.  We will continue with our remaining 2021 ride schedule and have planned for the 2022 season as well. Thirty years ago we moved to Southern Utah with the specific intention of sponsoring XP Rides.  As the sport dwindles we may be forced to give up the more expensive venues further away from our winter home, which is now in Colorado. We have no intention to cut back on our Utah and Arizona rides. Indeed we are working on new rides in the eastern Utah and western Colorado areas and are looking at other sites for new and exciting ventures. 


There is now an option to obtain what is called an EECVI. You can Google it. This is a relatively new program that allows veterinarians to issue a CVI(health certificate) for a six month period and allows you to to to multiple states and venues.  Its worth checking out. 



Breaking news can be found on the xp facebook page https://www.facebook.com/XP-Rides-205291171799




have been moved to the the General Ride Info Page

Carol McLeod has volunteered to build a data base for XP results.  At some time in the future we will offer an option to include all your lifetime mileage in that database. Many thanks to Carol for taking on this task

Entry Fees in General: 

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


We usually 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.  That being said, times are different during the Covid Crisis.  We are dealing with such small numbers that we must know in advance that we have enough participants to make the ride happen. We may have to require advance payment until we get through the disease restrictions.

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.  There will be a slight increase in fees on rides in the Peoples Republic of California due to increases in the charges for drug testing.  Cuyama is the only XP Ride that requires prepayment.  Most riders pay at the end of the ride on all the other rides.


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

 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. 

XP Rides for the 2021 and 2022 Ride Season

(Subject to AERC & Landowner approval)

Note that rides marked in red have changed days and weekends from their traditional times. 

Coso Junction ~ Cancelled due to Covid

Death Valley Encounter ~ January 1-2-3-4, 2021 (Ride starts after the NYE party on January 1. Three and Four day Pioneer offered)

Bar H ~ WDRA only~January 23rd

Laurel Mountain ~ February 4-5-6, 2021 (ends on Sat)

Eastern Mojave ~ March 10-11-12-13, 2021 (ends on Sat)

 Cuyama Oaks ~ March 25-26-27, 2021 (ends on Sat)

Cuyama Rain Date ~ April 1-2-3, 2021

Mt Carmel ~ April 25-26-27 Rest Day April 29-30-May 1, 2021

Lonesome Duck Distance Ride ~ June 2 – July 25, 2021

Entries are by invitation only.

Strawberry Fields ~ July 15-16-17, 2021 *Special date this year only. Ride ends on Saturday

Original ride date was in conflict with another ride.

Grand Canyon ~ August 29-30-31 Rest Day September 2-3-4, 2021

Virgin Outlaw ~ September 19-20-21  Rest Day  23-24-25, 2021

Moab (New Ride) ~ October 21-22-23, 2021 (CANCELLED and MOVED)

Sesenta Años ~ November 11-12-13, 2021

Tentative 2022 Ride Season pending AERC approval

Laurel Mountain ~ February 10-11-12, 2022

Coso Junction/Western Mojave ~ March 10-11-12, 2022

Cuyama Oaks ~ March 24-25-26, 2022

Mt Carmel ~ April 24-25-26 Rest Day April 28-29-30, 2022

Canyon Rims XP (Moab) ~ May 19-20-21, 2022

Strawberry Fields ~ June 23-24-25, 2022

Grand Canyon ~ August 28-29-30 Rest Day September 1-2-3, 2022

Virgin Outlaw ~ September 18-19-20 Rest Day September 22-23-24, 2022

Moab XP ~ October 27-28-29, 2022

Sesenta Años ~ November 10-11-12, 2022



Please don’t be offended if Ann or I  don’t add you as a friend or associate on Facebook,  LinkedIn,  or  any other type of social media.  We simply do not participate in social media.


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.