BIG NEWS: At the Cuyama Oaks XP we announced the possibility of doing another 2000 mile Pony Express ride going from St. Joseph,MO to Virginia City,NV in the summer of 2015. The only thing that will make it happen will be commitments (in the form of payment) from enough riders. This could be your chance for an adventure of a lifetime! Click here for more info!
OUR NEXT RIDE: Death Valley Warmup,December 14 &15,2013;PS Region. This is our first ride in the 2014 ride season. Intro/fun ride and 25/50 each day.
You can learn more about each of our rides by clicking on the tabs for each ride at the top of this page under “Rides and Calendar”.
AN 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!
2012 Year End XP Awards:
Ed Johnson Memorial Cup XP MVP of the Year:Ann Nicholson
Wendell Robie XP Horse of the Year:Scudd Run (Laurie Birch)
2013 XP MEDAL TEAMS:
2013 YEAR TO DATE RESULTS: Rider Results. Horse results coming soon!
NEW POETRY: The Traveling Circus,by Russ Faure-Brac
XP HISTORY: In 1976 F.W. Duck and his friends started endurance riding on the original Pony Express Trail. Three years later the British Post Office sponsored another run down the trail. During that time we were chagrined to find so little of the trail being preserved,especially through western Utah and across Nevada. That led to an idea of doing multiple point to point rides on the original trail in order to reestablish it through repeated use with horses. For a number of years we rode the trail between Salt Lake and Carson City on a regular basis,doing 250 mile sections in the spring and fall. By 2001 the California portion of the trail had become a nightmare to ride upon so we shortened the event to end in Virginia City,Nevada. After a successful event that year we used the trail again in 2004 for a west to east ride from Cold Springs,Nevada to Rush Creek,Nebraska. Our most recent long distance event was in 2011 when we once again rode from St Joseph,Missouri to Virginia City. These events led to the idea of the AERC Pioneer rides,which have become so popular.
F.W. Duck Philosophy and Newsletters: XP Rides differ from some of the other endurance events in that our rides are designed to offer an opportunity to train horses,experience scenic trails and enjoy the camaraderie of like minded riders. If you haven’t taken the time to read the articles on endurance Riding vs Racing and Limited Distance,you should do so now at. You should also read the Pre-ride Veterinary Information as well.
2013 RIDE UPDATES: As the popularity of multiple day endurance rides grew we have leaned towards riding out a single camp as the logistics of point-to-point rides has become increasingly more difficult. Several years ago we created the Sunrise Ranch Rides to experiment with new trails and locations with the intention of making these rides into regular XP Rides when we had the bugs worked out. What seemed like a good idea in the beginning has become confusing,so we are going to drop the SSR website and designation,bringing all those rides over to the XP website. Through time the rides continue to change as we lose trails and are forced to look for new ones. Last year we moved the Grand Canyon XP to Labor Day weekend and moved the Bryce Ride to the last weekend in September,in an attempt to seek better weather and experience the fall colors. This year we are expanding the Virgin Outlaw ride to four days and dropping a day from the Bryce ride. Both rides will be four day Pioneer Rides,but we will be offering a point to point ride between the two camps on the day before Bryce. You will be required to use a GPS or ride with those who do,although the trail is well marked with Forest Service markings and you should be able to find your way with nothing but the written instructions and map provided. Participation in this ride will be not be required to successfully complete the Bryce Pioneer Ride.
XP LIMITED DISTANCE NEWS: Starting with the Cuyama Ride we will be offering Limited Distance rides at every event. We will continue to stress the LD rides are not races,as we don’t believe in racing the younger and inexperienced horses. Especially during this first year we will have to be creative in making some of these work but we intend to do our best. Please let your friends know so they can plan ahead and be sure to remind them to get entries in early for our two limited entries rides:Cuyama and Lost Padres,as they both will likely fill up!
XP GPS NEWS: Barring some glitch in the technology,we will have GPS tracks and waypoints for all XP events. This data,along with the maps and directions will allow riders to remain on course regardless of what happens to the standard trail marking. We encourage you to bring a GPS receiver to the rides and let us download the data. The vast majority of riders are using Garmin products,especially the Oregon and Dakota series. You want to make sure your product will accept large track files and be able to exchange files with a USB connection. We spend time before each ride helping riders learn to successfully use the technology. Its really simple and we have used it on all of the long point-to-point rides since the turn of the century. In addition to providing a trail marking that is impossible to sabotage,it also provides proof that you have correctly ridden the trail.
NEW XP EVENTS: During the coming year we will be offering non-competitive endurance rides,marked with only GPS data. These rides are in addition to the AERC rides we have scheduled and are in addition to our AERC events,not in place of them. They will be shorter than the AERC rides and will use trails unavailable for competitive events. Although non competitive,mileage accumulated on these rides counts for overall XP Miles. We intend to expand this concept in the future,hoping to encourage new riders to join in the fun. We envision relaxing rides in new places where the riders will ride at their own pace to a breakfast,brunch or lunch stop and return then return to camp. Fees will be less than AERC rides and rules will be more relaxed. In fact,we will substitute common sense for a plethora of rules. There will be a veterinarian to assist you in getting over the course as well as management who will track your progress and look for you if get into trouble.
DUCK MILES EXPLAINED: XP Rides credits mileage differently than AERC. Mileage different from AERC is referred to as Duck Miles. You will receive XP mileage credit for Duck Miles as well as AERC Miles at all events. XP miles are based upon mileage ridden with no regard to the completion requirements imposed by AERC. Therefore horses pulled at lunch or the finish will still receive XP miles as the horses only know they traveled the course,and if they were lame at the end they had an even harder and more uncomfortable time that the horses who did it injury free. Riders going for Duck Miles only are not required to enter the AERC event but they still need to register,put cards in the box and check in when finished,so we can account for them at the end of the day. Duck Miles will be credited based on actual miles recorded on GPS units and will be rounded up or down at the discretion of the management. This has been loosely interpreted in the past but we will try to be more consistent in the future.
2013 XP RIDE NEWS: In 2013 we will offer five day rides at Mt Carmel in the spring and Grand Canyon in the late summer. Death Valley Encounter,Eastern Mojave,Virgin Outlaw and Bryce will be four-day events. Cuyama will be our only three-day event. Death Valley Warm Up and Lost Padres are the only two-day events. All events are based out of one camp except for the one Point-to-Point ride between the Virgin Outlaw and Bryce camps. XP Jackets,crewbags or specially designed plaques are available for the five day rides. Overall awards such as sweatshirts and plaques will be available on the three and four day rides. There will be daily awards for completion and participation on all rides including the non-competitive events. There will be time and best condition awards at all the AERC events. Details for the overall XP award program can be found at XP Year End Awards. All XP events offer free lunches. Most rides also provide opportunities for dinners either with the Nicholson family or at nearby restaurants.
2013 RIDE CALENDAR: None of our rides has a limit on entries except Cuyama and Lost Padres. Although we prefer that you enter online we welcome you to come at any time,even if your decision is made at the last minute.
2013 XP Ride Dates
Click on the name of each ride to be taken to a page with more details on each ride. Click here to submit an entry for any of our rides!
Death Valley Warmup. December 8 and 9,2012. 25/50 and 25/50 PS Region
Death Valley Encounter Pioneer. December 28-31,2012. 25/50,30/50,30/50 and 25/50 PS Region
Eastern Mojave Scenic Pioneer. February 7-10,20/13. 50/50/50/50 NEW DATE!!! PS Region
Bar H Elevator Ride. March 2 and 3,2013. 25/50 and 25/50. PS Region
Cuyama Oaks XP Pioneer. Mar 22-24,2013. 30/55,25/50 and 25/50 PS Region LIMITED ENTRIES
Lost Padres. April 20-21,2013. 25/50 and 25/50. PS Region LIMITED ENTRIES
Mt. Carmel XP Pioneer. May 1-5. 25/50 x 5 MT Region FIVE DAYS
Grand Canyon XP Pioneer. Aug 28 –Sep 1. 25/50 x 5 SW Region FIVE DAYS
Outlaw and Virgin XP Pioneer. September 12-15. 30/50,25/50,30/55,25/50 MT Region
Outlaw to Bryce Getaway. GPS,September 25. 30/50 MT Region
Bryce Canyon XP Pioneer. September 26-29. 25/50 x 4 MT Region
PHOTOS: Additional photos can be found on our photos page.
ENTER A RIDE: If you’d like to enter an upcoming XP ride you can submit an entry online via the online entry form. Be sure to follow the instructions and click the box to the right hand side of your choice (ride name,etc.). Also please note that the forms will not send if every form item is not filled in.
HAPPY TRAILS: 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.