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 2015 when we once again rode from St Joseph, Missouri to Carson City. These events led to the idea of the AERC Pioneer rides, which have become so popular. There is now talk of a Lonesome Duck ride from Texas to Montana.
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.
XP GPS NEWS: GPS technology is an OPTIONAL marking. Our trails are well marked and described with traditional ribbons, maps and written instructions. 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.
XP YEAR END POINTS and MILEAGE EXPLAINED: In the past we have based the XP awards on mileage, however we have not bothered to explain that mileage can be calculated in many ways with vastly different results, even when similar methods are used. It has been proposed we are change the terminology to points instead of miles. The points would be calculated based on mileage corrected for riding time using a formula that considers 50 miles to be a course that can be ridden in a range between 5 hours and 12 hours. AERC would be wise to do likewise. This really seems like too much bother and since the historical records for mileage have vast discrepancies it is best to forget about the issue and live happily ever after.
2016 XP RIDE NEWS: 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. 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.
2016 RIDE CALENDAR: None of our rides have 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.
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.