Riding and Racing
Some years back I wrote an article on riding vs. racing that explained my personal opinions on the differences. At the time I was supportive of the FEI for those who chose to go that route. Although I do not have the time at the moment to edit that editorial, which is posted below, I have to now state publicly that I have become disgusted about where the FEI has taken our sport and fear the backlash will come to haunt us for years to come. AERC needs to make some clear distinctions between what the FEI is doing and what a large number of our members are doing. The Western States Trail Ride remains the ultimate accomplishment for this sport. I knew Wendell Robie personally and I can assure you he is rolling and twisting in his grave over what this sport is becoming. There is no connection between what is happening at the FEI level and what the sport of endurance riding is all about.
Endurance Racing and Riding – a discussion by Dr. David Nicholson
Apparently there are many who are unable to understand the difference between Endurance Riding and Endurance Racing. While the fine points of the definition can be argued forever, a race is an event where the first entrant across the finish line is the winner. I suggest that a ride is an event where the entrants set their personal goals and only those entrants know if those goals were realized during the event. The XP Rides have catered to those who enjoy long distance riding and the personal challenges offered. We have placed little emphasis on winning or going fast on any given day, feeling that true endurance champions are proven over years and many different conditions. Events like the AERC National Championships, the Race of Champions and FEI sponsored events are Endurance Races. There is a place for both and the sooner we stop arguing about it and appreciate that both venues offer a place for horses and riders to enjoy the great outdoors, the better off we will all be. I suggest that ride managers have the prerogative to set the tone for the type of event that they desire to conduct and that they have the responsibility to design their event accordingly.
While our rides appeal to many, they offend others. Some consider them a detriment to the sport of Endurance Racing that prevents the sport from attaining Olympic status. Others insist that the FEI and hardcore racers are threatening the gentle sport they love. While there is some truth to both points of view, the real truth lies in the mind of the beholder; both racing and riding have their place. Obviously, long distance horse racing is a sport with great potential for death and serious injury to the horses and riders. Everyone should understand and agree that endurance racing needs a lot of control. Similarly, everyone should agree that a group of horsemen out for a long ride don’t need the controls required in a race. . Endurance Racing is a strenuous sport that places severe stress on the equine athletes. I personally believe that horses should race no more than once or twice a year. On the other hand, I know that horses can ride 30 to 60 miles a day, five days a week, essentially forever. I believe that the time has come for AERC to take the middle road and formulate rules to address the needs of both factions of our sport
I believe that ride managers should make clear to prospective entrants just what kind of event they are coming to. XP Rides emphasize riding over racing. We offer meager awards and give no recognition to placing in the various divisions. I submit that the ride itself is the reward. We stress the responsibility of the rider in caring for the horse and use the services of veterinarians to help the riders get through the event safely. Our approach has worked well for us in the past and we hope that it will continue to work for us in the future.
New for 2019
Rumors abound regarding the Nicholson Family Plans and some things have been misinterpreted. The facts are that we have moved our winter home from Inyokern California to Kanab Utah. We were never residents of California nor did we ever have any intention of becoming California residents. We have owned property in Utah since 1962 and have always intended to move there when we were forced for health reasons to remain in one place year around. That time has not come but it is time for use to start building plans for that day. As for the California rides, we are planning on continuing with the rides we have done all along for at least the foreseeable future. Those critical of the XP for having too many rides in SoCal should bear in mind that the Coso ride was taken over at the request of Sue Benson. The Death Valley ride was taken over at the request of Jackie Bumgarner. The Eastern Mojave was created at the request of Al and Nanette Young. The Cuyama rides were taken over at the request of Jim Mitchell. The Lost Padres and Sesenta Anos rides were taken over at the request of John Parke. That leaves one single ride, the Laurel Mtn ride that was the sole event originating from the Nicholson family. If and when we decide to no longer conduct these events there will be lots of people waiting in the wings to continue them.
Starting with the 2018 ride season 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.
We are expanded 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. Everyone convinced us to continue with this format so we will do that for the foreseeable future
2018 Results through Sesenta Años are now posted. XP Rider, 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
OUR NEXT RIDE
Death Valley Encounter
DEATH VALLEY ENCOUNTER
A Multiday Ride in the Death Valley Historical Area
DECEMBER 28 through 31, 2018
Heidi and the Hurricanes to perform at the New Years Eve party and dance.
2019 AERC Ride Season 50/50/50/50 & 25/30/30/30 LD distances subject to last minute adjustments for weather. Intro/Duck rides vary from 10-15 miles.This is a multi-day format of 4 separate 50’s and 4 LD’s. The daily rides are sanctioned by the American Endurance Ride Conference for the 2019 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 Johnson 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 several times 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ride Photographer: Lynne Glazer will be shooting this ride
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. 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 Sesenta Años, Lost Padres and Cuyama available at:
Photos for Mt Carmel, Strawberry and Grand Canyon 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 2019 Ride Season
(Subject to AERC & Landowner approval)
Coso Junction ~ December 1 & 2
Death Valley Encounter ~ December 28-31
Laurel Mountain ~ January 26 & 27
Eastern Mojave ~ February 8-9-10
Cuyama Oaks ~ March 22-24-25
Cuyama Rain Date ~ March 29-30-31
Lost Padres ~ April 6 & 7 DO NOT SEND RELEASES TO THE RANCH.
Lost Padres Rain Date ~ April 13-14
Mt Carmel ~ April 28-29-30 Rest Day May 2-3-4
Strawberry Fields ~ June 28-29-30
Grand Canyon ~ August 25-26-27 Rest Day 29-30-31
Virgin Outlaw ~ September 22-23-24 Rest Day 26-27-28
Sesenta Años ~ November 8-9-10 (subject to week postponement due to National Championship)
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.