Eastern Mojave at Coso is on as planned.

Annie and I will be leaving on Monday morning, March first to start marking trail. Its not too late to enter. m44-8931-dve-w-happy-riders

Horses and Riders sharing good times at the end of the Coso Junction Ride




Fortunately the BLM is willing to allow us to use the Coso area for the ride so it will happen on the same date but at Coso instead of Eastern Mojave.  Its really nice to be able to work with the Ridgecrest and Kanab BLM districts as they are very understanding of our situation.  We hope you can all make it as Coso is better when its held later in the spring. 


An Open Letter to Whom it May Concern regarding XP and AERC

To Whom It May Concern:

         Apparently there is some misunderstanding about why XP Rides is not hosting AERC rides during the pandemic. Let me clear this up. The AERC requirements posted on the AERC web page are copied here in blue:

New for 2021: If your state or county has restrictions on gatherings over 50, recreational events, or travel restrictions, you will need approval in writing from your health department or county commissioner, or other county official.

  • 1. I can confirm that my state and/or county will allow 50 or more people to gather. (Please note that you should consider everyone in your count if there are limitations—riders, management, control judges, veterinarians, volunteers, crews, family members, etc.)

Please provide a link to your state and/or county’s website that has this information and upload a scan/photo/document of such.

  • 2. I can confirm that my state allows recreational events.

Please provide a link to your state and/or county’s website that has this information and upload a scan/photo/document of such.

  • 3. I can confirm that my state and/or county has no travel restrictions.

Please provide a link to your state and/or county’s website that has this information and upload a scan/photo/document of such.

            I cut and pasted these exact requirements in an email to the county health departments in every county where we host rides. Every single one of them has responded that such an event would be against both state and local guidelines. Not one of them agreed to approve the event. This has been pointed out to several of AERC board members, as well as the office. The AERC BOD has created a situation that puts a ride manager for events in areas I am familiar with in a very bad position.   Should a lawsuit arise out of a Covid case at a ride the first thing the plaintiff’s attorney would look at would be those AERC requirements. The AERC would be able to step back and claim innocence, citing their requirements. 

            On the other hand when I talk to the counties about hosting an event that limits gatherings to no more than 25 participants, it’s a different story. We can even host events with as few as 10 participants if the need arises. We have been able to legally host rides during the pandemic that fall within county and state guidelines due to our flexibility to tailor the rides to meet local requirements

One of two things has to happen for XP Rides to host an AERC event in the future. Either AERC needs to change their requirements to allow ride managers to work with existing county and state regulations, or the government agencies need to relax their mandates to meet the AERC’ requirements. We are as anxious as everyone else to get back to business as normal but it will require action from others that is beyond our control. We have every intention to resume hosting AERC rides at the earliest possible time.


David Nicholson D.V.M.

XP Rides





As of February 9th the state of California remains under confusing Covid restrictions.  Those might be dealt with but AERC requires approval from the county health department stating gatherings over 50 people are allowed.  I am unable to get such a statement out of any counties in any states.  Until those restrictions are lifted we will continue to host the smaller WDRA events where we can practice safe guidelines for our family and yours.

dve warmup, death valley warmup, coso junction, 2011 ride season 021

Region: Pacific South, California.

Name: Coso Junction I & II & III

AERC 50/50/50/55 & 25/25/25  Statute miles. 

WDRA Mileage points adjusted for time.    

Sanctioned by WDRA

Date: March 10th through the 13th, 2021.  Notice this is Wednesday through Saturday.  We did this to allow riders to ride the last day and have Sunday to get home without fighting the horrible CA Sunday afternoon traffic.  This worked great at Laurel Mtn and we were able to return home on Sunday as well. 

Directions: Ridecamp will be at Coso Junction, approximately 35 miles north of Ridgecrest on Hwy 395, behind the Chevron gas station. Click here to get directions via google.

Trail Description: This ride will be on jeep roads and single track trails with a moderate amount of elevation gain. Footing will be sandy with a few occasional rocky sections. We expect to have some exciting new changes for the coming year which we will announce at the ride. We will be adding a day and might try to make a loop around the lake, or at least down through Haiwee like the ride has done years ago. 

Ride Rules: WDRA rules apply.  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 where we operate under a set of rules that fit on one page. 



 CA is expected to remain under strict Covid restrictions into 2021 and our family is in the extremely vulnerable class of potential victims. Therefore we will require a pre-ride check-in via email and will limit all social contact. There will be no hands on veterinary checks except in the rare cases where the veterinarian might feel it necessary. In most WDRA events the veterinarian never has to get out of his chair.   Living quarter trailers or campers are required, as we will not have portable toilets available. This requirement means you must provide some sanitation device to meet your personal requirement.  This can be as simple as a bucket or porti-potty in the back of your horse trailer. The point is we don’t want the responsibility of sanitizing public toilets. We will have horse water available as usual. We will prepare packets and maps before you arrive and will be sending GPS tracks a few days before the ride. There is good cell phone service at the ride site. When you arrive you will come to a self-service table, pick up your entry cards to put in the entry box and sign the release forms. There will be ride meetings outside with social distancing and masks required. As a WDRA club event all participants must be members of WDRA. Non-members can go to WDRA.net and join. The WDRA membership is for a calendar year from the time you join.

            You must agree to wear a mask when coming around any of the Nicholson Family or our volunteers. We also require everyone to maintain a ten-foot social distance.   Since the ride is held under the more liberal WDRA rules we will not be doing any unnecessary unpleasant loops to satisfy the mileage Nazis. We will offer 15, 25 and 50 point WDRA rides each day. We will use the most scenic trails available and will structure the event to maximize everyone’s enjoyment. There will be MINIMAL markings but turns will be well marked if no one takes them down. A GPS is the best investment you can make to insure you have a good time and never get lost. This is a good chance to prepare yourself for the future when all rides will be marked by GPS only.

The ride will be limited to 30 riders. We will need a minimum of 20 riders a day or the ride will have to be cancelled. If you commit to the ride we consider that a firm commitment. We will need to leave our home in Utah at least a week before the ride to get the trails marked. If you want to make the ride happen you will need to make a financial commitment. When we receive enough entries to ensure the ride will happen we will notify everyone of that fact. If we do not have sufficient entries by March 2nd we will cancel the ride and return everyone’s entry fee. 

Entry Fees:

One Day          $120.00 check or $125.00 Paypal

Two Days       $230.00 check or $240.00 Paypal

Three Days     $320 check or $333.00 Paypal

Four Days       $430 check  or $445.00 Paypal

Mail your checks to Ann Nicholson at 362 Fenway Drive, Kanab, UT 84741 or you can use Paypal and send to entry@xprides.com. When you make the payment let us know by return email that you are coming and which days you are planning on riding. There may be people who enter at the last minute and that will be fine but if there are insufficient numbers of riders, the rides will have to be cancelled. These fees are non refundable for any reason after March 2nd as that will be the day we have to pack up and leave Utah. We will consider those fees a donation to make the ride happen.  We hope everyone understands we cannot afford to commit to the event unless we are assured of at least breaking even.

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 EP26 and Brown Road, Inyokern, CA 93527.

Meals: Annie will not be doing dinners in ride camp as there are a multitude of restaurants in Ridgecrest, as well as a fine Mexican Restaurant in Inyokern. Annie’s free lunches are available at all XP Rides including Laurel Mtn.

Phone 907 209 8881 or e-mail duck@xprides.com

If you find something confusing or in error in this message please contact me personally and I will clear it up. 



I just finished getting the complete 2020 WDRA/XP results on our results page. I can also send a PDF file to our members with the same information if requested. 

Saturday, 7/18/20  The 2021 XP Calendar has been sent to the AERC and is published below.  I am confident we will be able to hold the events as scheduled with WDRA recognition. I am unsure we will be able to meet the AERC covid restrictions but we will try.  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.

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 their Covid restrictions are lifted or modified.  In the meantime we will continue with our rides but will be doing them as XP 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. 

THE ENTRY DEAL FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE: During the Covid crisis, which will undoubtedly remain into next year we not be doing AERC events until it is prudent and legal to meet governmental as well as AERC requirements.  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 does recognize XP club rides.

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 green and people are free to travel as long as social distancing is practiced. However, Utah has recently seen a spike in cases, mainly across the I 15 corridor. 

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 non AERC 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




have been moved to the the General Ride Info Page

Carol McLeod has volunteered to build a data base for XP and WDRA 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 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 29-30-31, 2021 *Special date this year only. Ride ends on Saturday.

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

Color Country ~ October 29-30, 2021 (ends on Sat)

Sesenta Años ~ November 12-13-14, 2021


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.