Monday, 6/22/20: 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. However, I have no idea what the conditions will be at the time of the rides. I do not agree with the restrictions set down by some of the government agencies nor do I agree with the AERC’s requirements. I do accept that everyone is entitled to their opinion but Ann and I are part of the high risk population and therefore feel we must be more careful than some of our younger and healthier friends.
We are unable to meet the AERC Covid restrictions. In addition, 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 we cannot mitigate the dangers associated with the AERC Covid policy. Therefore we will not be sanctioning the upcoming rides with AERC until the Covid restrictions are lifted. In the meantime we will continue with our rides but will be doing them as WDRA only events. We will continue with our current XP Covid restrictions, which coincide or exceed the CDC and state regulations. We will be limiting the rides to 25 with a possible expansion to 30 or more. We will take things as they come and will make modifications based on current situations. We have moved the date of the Strawberry Ride to August 15th as Cindy Collins has requested the early August date for the Big Horn. We will require enough committed entries to ensure our being able to financially afford to do the rides. We have checked with the leading Travel Insurance provider and they do offer a reasonable policy for cancellation of travel plans. We strongly suggest anyone sending in an entry fee who has any reservations about coming to an XP event obtain travel insurance so if your trailer breaks down, the horse gets sick or your cat is stuck in the tree you will not be out any money. With such limited entries Ann and I simply can not afford to take the risk of a ride not being financially stable.
We have had such a wonderful time at Mt Carmel that I have some real reservations about doing anything other than WDRA events in the future. We have a great group at Mt Carmel and its a fun event even with the social distancing. It is such a relief to be able to make on the spot decisions to be fair to everyone with having to work through a thick rule book.
THE ENTRY DEAL FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE: During the Covid crisis, which will undoubtedly remain into next year we will be only doing WDRA events. Many endurance riders fall into the “most vulnerable” category due to age and existing conditions. We are not able to conduct an AERC event under these conditions but the WDRA offers us the flexibility to adjust our rules for the existing situation.
XP Rides and the Nicholson Family
Ann and I are doing well, although we are still suffering from cabin fever. We are fortunate to be in southern Utah as life is going on much more normally than in other parts of the country. Kane County has now moved to code yellow and people are free to travel as long as social distancing is practiced.
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 hope to continue with our remaining 2020 ride schedule as WDRA events, but we will have to make some significant changes to do so. 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 but we have no intention to cut back on our Utah and Arizona rides. Indeed we are still working on resurrecting the Color Country ride and are looking at other sites for new and exciting ventures. Although Annie and I, along with the vast majority of our riders are at an age that is most vulnerable to succumbing to viral diseases, we are going to continue living with a positive outlook for the future and encourage you all to do the same.
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
OUR NEXT RIDE
The Strawberry Fields Forever XP
Ride date changed to August 14-15-16, 2020
THIS WILL NOT BE AN AERC RIDE
THIS WILL BE A WDRA RIDE
As long as the state of Utah remains under Code Yellow we will continue with the ride plans. We will camp in the same place on Co-Op Creek. You must be a WDRA member to enter and participate. This is our insurance requirement. The ride is not open to the general public. The distance of the rides will be adjusted for time. There will be distances with mileage points ranging from 15 to 55 points. Social distancing and current CDC and state guidelines will be followed. The ride will be a limited entry event and will require a commitment and payment in advance. The entry fee will be non refundable after August 2nd. During these troubled times and with limited entries we must know exactly what we have before we undertake the expense of putting on the ride. If you are interested in coming you should send in an entry and we will send an entry reply sometime before the event with all the information on how to proceed. We strongly recommend you obtain trip interruption insurance if you have any doubts about having to cancel at the last minute. We won’t know what the final conditions and price will be until we get closer to the ride.
The ride date has been moved for 2020 only
August 14-15-16, 2020
The Strawberry Fields Endurance Ride is one of the most beautiful rides in the Mountain Region. Located in the Uintah Mountains, 55 miles SE of Salt Lake City and just 20 miles east of Heber, just north of Strawberry Reservoir, this is a ride to enjoy in a friendly, relaxed environment. The terrain is challenging, but not difficult, with trails winding through aspens and meadows filled with wildflowers and spectacular mountain scenery.
2020 is the 18th year for Strawberry Fields and once again, it will be a 3-DAY Pioneer Ride. There will be 15 through 55 mileage point rides.
Dave and Ann Nicholson are helping Howard continue this great ride. We have moved the date to allow the Big Horn an opportunity to ride under the full moon on the first weekend in August.
We look forward to seeing everyone again this summer. We hope everyone will spread the word about the beautiful scenery… the area is blessed with some of the most pristine, gorgeous riding terrain imaginable. At this time of year, with the spring run‑off, numerous creeks are flowing, and the wild flowers and Aspen are blooming everywhere. It is a perfect time of year to enjoy a memorable Uinta Mountain riding experience.
We are looking forward to taking our riders back up to the Red Cliffs and on the spectacular high mountain trails again but there is a lot of snow that will have to melt to be able to do that. Come early, stay late and savor the pure mountain atmosphere. Sightings of deer, elk, moose and beaver are not uncommon, and look for bald eagles and hawks soaring above. The scenic value of this ride is what makes it truly unique and special, and if taken at a moderate pace, this is a ride to cherish and remember forever.
DIRECTIONS: Base camp is about 55 miles south east of Salt Lake City, Utah, with easy access. From Heber City, take Hwy 40 eastbound for approximately 25 miles. You will go over Daniel’s Pass and the Daniels Summit Lodge. Base camp was moved to Co-op Creek last year and will be there again in 2016. 7.6 miles east of Daniels Summit Lodge you will see the sign for the Co-Op Creek Road. The turn off is between milepost 41 and 42. Turn left and continue on the good gravel road for approximately 2 miles then turn left on Forest Road 451 to Base Camp.
If you are coming from the east, the turn off is about about 5 miles west of Fruitland on Hwy 40. Turn right at CO‑Op Creek.
TRAIL DESCRIPTION: Our trails are mostly single track through woodland and open meadows, and some gravel roads. There are plenty of creeks and ponds, and an abundance of green grass for horses to snack on. Although it is high altitude, and there is significant elevation change, the trails are not difficult and the footing is generally very good. This is an excellent opportunity for those wishing to be introduced to the sport of Endurance Riding in a friendly, relaxed, environment and there will be people around who would be pleased to show you the ropes and get you started.
We plan for the 55 and 50 milers to start at 7am and the 25 milers at 7.30am, but weather and trail conditions could dictate a last minute change in plans. Daytime temperatures usually range from 70 to 80 degrees, and you can expect the occasional thunder shower so come prepared. The nights can get chilly so warm jackets and horse blankets are advised. Annie has decided to cook meals for the riders who are interested. You will need to reserve meals 24 hours in advance. Complimentary sandwiches, snacks and drinks will be provided for riders each day at the control check point.
For more information contact Ride Manager:
Cell and internet service is poor at the ride site. Emails and text work best but don’t be frustrated by no response as we may have to travel some distance from camp to make contact.
Ann Nicholson, 907-209-8881
Dave Nicholson, 907 419 0924
P.O. Box 422, Klawock, AK 99925
Alternate Reality Rides
I define an alternate reality ride as something more structured that a virtual reality ride but still a gathering where the social distancing rules are being practiced and large group gatherings are avoided. We now have enough riders to make this happen. In fact we are approaching our limit.
The event will start with everyone agreeing to some basic safeguards for the two weeks before the event. We should all be practicing those safeguard regardless of any riding plans. Riders must be extremely vigilant when traveling. Social distancing, masks, and gloves are the order of the day and must be followed, even if you are a person who does not believe in them. That’s our rule and it supersedes anything the government comes up with. This thing is not going away and we all need to deal with it. If you cant deal with the XP restrictions there is no reason to keep reading. We will be camping at our old barn in Mt Carmel. We had planned a different camp for the regular MC ride but this camp is better suited for the small numbers of riders. The barn is within walking distance of the restaurants and motels at the junction. We will limit the ride to 25 riders and will require firm commitments in advance like we have done at Cuyama. We now have enough riders and know the ride is a go. The camp has excellent cell phone coverage where we can communicate by phone and text. If necessary we will split offer multiple ride meetings to maintain social distancing. We will not have any unnecessary “hands on” veterinary checks. We will not be providing lunches or any meals but meals will be available at the Thunderbird. There is a Subway that can prepare lunches. We will have portable toilets but for your safety you shouldn’t use them. It is far safer and better to use self contained campers. We MAY require GPS receivers. We will have our regular maps and directions but we may not be able to get all the trails marked with existing conditions at the time. We will have some limited marking. This is a great time to learn to ride a GPS only trail. We have successfully put on 2000 mile rides with nothing but GPS markings. These events wont be like the typical AERC endurance ride but they will offer a chance to get together and ride our favorite trails. Personally I believe they will be more fun and less pressure than what we are forced to do with AERC. We have put off our trip home till after the ride. See you there.
Phone 907 209 8881 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
There are several pertinent web sites for information on this ride.
http://www.xprides.com/ for general information on XP Rides
http://www.xprides.com/ride-entry/riding-and-racing for information on Riding vs Racing
http://www.xprides.com//veterinary-pre-ride-info for veterinary information
Convention News for 2020
XP Rides will no longer have a booth at the AERC Convention. We have decided to support those who support us and have decided to have our booth at the MRER convention in Denver, Colorado. We will present the 2019 XP Awards at that time.
have been moved to the the General Ride Info Page
Results are now posted up thru 2019 Laurel Mountain
New for 2020
WDRA and the XP Rides: The Future is Now
Last year, I watched the AERC struggle with the issues that have plagued the organization for years – how to measure ride distance, rules, protests over rules, additional rules, a large and cumbersome management structure, and how to balance the interests of both racers and riders. I wrote an article on the XP webpage entitled A Look to the Future. In that editorial I laid out what XP Rides would do in the coming season. Early this year, as I started moving toward creating a new organization, I spoke with other ride managers to assess others feelings about the future of the sport. To my surprise, there were many with similar fears and concerns for our sport. Instead of branching out on my own I found others who were interested in proceeding with a new organization that expands the offerings aligning the interests of riders and ride managers.
Instead of the WERA that I talked about, the group decided upon forming the Western Distance Riders Alliance. WDRA deals specifically with the issues we have in the western part of the country. I am proud to be affiliated with this group and, while I am not an officer, I am a member of the board.
Going forward XP rides will continue to offer the same AERC venues that we have in the past. The difference being that we will make sure all the rides meet AERC standards to the best of our ability. With so many rules and rule interpretations coming out of that organization it may be impossible to comply with every requirement, but we will do our best to try. The main take home point is that the AERC rides are going to be a full fifty statute miles, or longer, as there will no attempt to adjust the ride mileage for time or difficulty of terrain, as we have done in the past. We will also abide by the strict interpretation of the AERC completion requirements.
The XP will now offer an additional ride format to complement the AERC rides. Riders wishing to participate in an AERC sanctioned event will continue to have that opportunity but we will also offer the WDRA option so riders will have the opportunity to continue to experience all that we offered in the past.
The WDRA option is for riders who don’t care to subject themselves and their horses to the strict interpretation of the rules on AERC endurance rides. The WDRA offers us the opportunity to offer rides that fall out of the range of AERC sanctions. To be clear, AERC only offers the opportunity to enter a fun ride of less than 15 miles, an LD ride between 25 and 35 miles, or an “endurance ride” that is over 50 miles. The AERC definition leaves holes between 15 to 25 miles and 35 to 50 miles.
WDRA is a direct outgrowth of the AERC. All members of the WDRA board are AERC members and many of the WDRA board members are also AERC board members or past AERC board members. WDRA is not encumbered by some of the early mistakes of AERC that have never been rectified. I have yet to find an AERC director who does not believe 26 Board Members is unmanageable. WDRA has an upper limit of nine board members.
One of the most divisive issues facing the sport today is the issue of mileage. AERC has defined an Endurance Ride as 50 miles, no less. The 50-mile definition was done at a time when the Tevis Cup was thought to be an accurate 100 miles. WDRA has simply defined an endurance ride as “An equine event over natural terrain that demonstrates a horse and rider’s ability to perform.” WDRA also recognizes the inaccuracy of the AERC mileage database. Realistically, the AERC database has never been anything more than an indication of a rider’s participation in AERC events with an estimation of the distance traveled. WDRA has addressed the mileage issue by shifting the definition from statute miles to Mileage Points. Mileage Points allow ride managers to continue doing what many, if not most, western ride managers have been doing since the beginning of the modern sport. Ride managers have always used time and difficulty of terrain along with distance to determine the ride mileage. All across the country this has never been a problem till GPS devices became mainstream and individual riders considered GPS measurements precise mileage recording devices. Besides the innate inaccuracy measuring miles with inexpensive devices, it is not realistic to compare rides on flat terrain with good footing to challenging trails across mountainous terrain with rocky footing. XP Rides have always favored historic, scenic, interesting and challenging trails over a flat and fast racecourses. Ann and I are excited to add the WDRA format to our XP rides and now other ride managers have the opportunity to offer rides on trails where an AERC completion may not be practical.
The bottom line is that I can now offer riders both an opportunity to compete in the AERC as well as the opportunity to enjoy the laid-back way Ann and I have fairly treated the riders and their horses. Instead of having to bend the AERC rules towards leniency and bending the XP philosophy towards more rigid standards, we can now offer both. We welcome you to XP rides, whether you choose to ride with the AERC or WDRA option. More information on WDRA can be found at http://xprides.com/western-distance-rider-alliance/
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 XP 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 WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT PAYPAL THROUGH THE FRIENDS AND FAMILY OPTION.
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. 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 2020 Ride Season
(Subject to AERC & Landowner approval)
We have been forced to move rides from our traditional dates in the PS region which has eliminated the Lost Padres ride.
Due to the elimination of Lost Padres we have turned Coso and Laurel Mt into 3 day events.
Coso Junction ~ December 6-7-8, 2019
Death Valley Encounter ~ December 28-31, 2019
Laurel Mountain ~ January 31 ~ February 1-2, 2020
Annual Awards at MRER Convention ~ February 21-22, 2020
Eastern Mojave ~ March 12-13-14-15, 2020
Cuyama Oaks ~ March 27-28-29, 2020
Cuyama Rain Date ~ April 3-4-5, 2020
Mt Carmel ~ April 26-27-28 Rest Day April 30-May 1-2, 2020
Lonesome Duck Distance Ride ~ June 2 – July 25, 2020
This is a WDRA sanctioned event. Entries are by invitation only and ride is filled.
Strawberry Fields ~ August 14-15-16, 2020 *Special date this year only.
Grand Canyon ~ August 30-31 September 1 Rest Day September 3-4-5, 2020
Virgin Outlaw ~ September 20-21-22 Rest Day 24-25-26, 2020
Color Country ~ October 31-November 1, 2020 Tentative Date
This is a resurrection of one of the oldest AERC rides. Located in southern Utah and Northern Arizona.
Sesenta Años ~ November 13-14-15, 2020
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.
THE UNSOCIALIZED DUCK
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.