Carolyn has finished the year end tabulations for 2022 and they can be found on the individual pages under the results drop down.  When you hover over the first page it will open up three pages on the right where you can see the total miles ridden by each rider. The next page is a breakdown of those riders and the different horses ridden to get that mileage. The next page is a listing of all the XP Horses with their annual mileage. The last page is the list of riders with one horse.  

The second page under results is the 2022 Individual Ride Results.  You can hover over that and the individual rides of the 2022 season will appear. 


XP Rides for the 2023 Ride Season

All XP Rides listed below will offer AERC as well as XP Club rides.

Laurel Mountain CA   February 3-4-5, 2023

Coso Western Mojave CA   March 3-4-5, 2023

Cuyama CA     March  17-18-19, 2023

Caballo Sin Nombre, NM     April 21-22-23, 2023

Mt Carmel UT    May 4-5-6-7, 2023 

Chicken Creek, CO  June 2-3-4, 2023  The summer ride at Chicken Creek.

Strawberry Fields, UT   June 23-24-25, 2023   

Grand Canyon XP, AZ    August 31, September 1-2-3, 2023  

Colorado Fall Color XP   September 29-30 October 1, 2023  The fall ride at Chicken Creek.

Sesenta Anos, CA   November 10-11-12, 2023



Laurel Mountain


February 3-4-5, 2023

There have been some rumors that the trails south of the ride camp have been washed out. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT THE CASE. In fact, the trails are generally in the best shape they have been in years. Many of the whooped out sand washes have been leveled and the moisture has firmed up the ground.  Tony and Sue Wilke drove from the ride camp through Sheep Springs and down Goler and Mormon Gulches to the Garlock Road in a standard height Nissan truck using nothing but 2 wheel drive.  Those of you who live in the cities might take note to not drive into the desert during or immediately after a storm unless you are an experienced desert traveler.  Once the high water recedes, which it always does shortly after the rain stops the roads become leveled out and better than they were before the storm. The only exceptions are the sharp cuts on the banks of the washes that may need to be broken down but that has not been the case in any of the areas we have seen.  We have over half the trails marked and all of the difficult sections we expected to find problems and there are no problems. We have marked all the trails in two wheel drive except for a few times where we always shift to 4×4 to climb over rocks. The rain has brought out the green grass and the grass gets taller literally by the day.  We have changed a couple of repetitive trail sections to make the ride easier and to see a little different country.  The weather forecast looks great so we hope to see you next weekend.

We have always had a soft spot in our hearts for the trails around the El Paso Mountains. We used most of these trails in the days when the Death Valley Encounter started with two days here and then moved to Trona.  The trail will touch the spectacular geography of Red Rock Canyon and has been modified in that area to go over the Bonanza Trail, past several old miners cabins and an old time post office.

There is plenty of camping room in the gravel pit that is immune to weather problems.  There is a motel and restaurant 7 miles north in Inyokern as well as numerous facilities in Ridgecrest.

Registration will start at 3:00 on Thursday. The vet check will start at 6:00 if the vet shows up on time. There will be a ride meeting around 7:00 each evening. Contrary to what is on some internet information, the 25 will start after the start of the fifty on most, if not all days. The fifty mile rides usually start at 7:00 and the 25’s will probably start at 8:00. On the first day the 50’s head south into the Goler wash area then back up to a lunch near the Golf Ball. On the second day the 50’s route winds through the flats and rolling hills of the high Mojave Desert and then climbs to the summit of the golf ball pass, then drops into the Garlock area and back through Mormon Flat to a lunch in camp. The 25’s will take a few shortcuts and will have a lunch stop along with the 50’s near the Golf Ball on the first day. Lunch will be back in camp for all riders on the second and third days. The third day heads toward Red Rock Canyon and the Bonanza Mining District. Much of the footing is all weather decomposed granite and desert two track with some rocky sections and sand washes thrown in. The trail is easy to moderately difficult but can be easily completed on new horses ridden with care by good horsemen.

A General Description of this ride is a no frills, low budget, relaxed training ride that will offer riders an opportunity to camp out with friends and ride around the eastern Sierras.

Ride Rules are generally the same as AERC rules as interpreted by the ride manager and her advisors. However, be aware this ride has completion requirements that differ from AERC in that the control judges can and will pull horses that do not recover to their satisfaction. The XP Club Rides will offer less strenuous distances and less formalities for those wanting to just have fun. We offer the Club Rides in lieu of the AERC intro rides.  We tailor the Club Rides to the needs and wants of those who are at the ride. 


Travelers from all directions should take US Hwy 395 to the junction of South China Lake Blvd and Brown Road. This is the location of the vet check on the Twenty Mule Team Ride. Instead of turning towards Ridgecrest, go west on Brown Road for 4 miles. Turn left on EP26 (Wiknich Rd), an old paved road, for 1 mile to the ride camp. 

From the San Fernando Valley area: Take Hwy 14 to CA 178. Turn right to the town of Inyokern. Turn right on Brown Road at the gas station/convenience store and follow Brown Road to EP26 (Wiknich Rd).

Basic Ride Info: We have combined the trails north of the Garlock Road between Hwy 395 and CA 14. This year we have expanded the ride to a three day Pioneer Ride and have added a WDRA ride each day for those wanting to ride more than an LD but less than an AERC 50.  The camp is easy accessible on a good road and features a good base even when wet. The camp has no amenities other than the water and portable toilets supplied by ride management.  The first day trail starts near Sheep Springs and heads out towards Laurel Mountain then down into the Garlock Valley before climbing back through Goler Gulch onto Mormon Flat and back to the camp. The second day returns to Mormon Flat, then turns west into the Last Chance area and the upper Red Canyon drainage then back to camp via the west side of Black Mountain. Most of the trail is excellent desert footing with spectacular desert scenery, hopefully with green grass and early flowers if El Nino delivers as promised. A motel and the best Mexican restaurant in Kern County is located in Inyokern just 6 miles to the north.  More choices for accommodations and culinary options are available 8-10 miles away in Ridgecrest.

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.

You can pay at the ride after determining how many days you end up riding. Unfortunately we have reluctantly been forced to once again raise entry fees. The final straw for the California rides has been the increase in the drug fees from $8.00 to $14.00 for the California Department of Agriculture.  This mandatory fee/tax, along with the insane inflation of fuel, awards, groceries, etc leaves us with no choice.

Phone 907 209 8881 or e-mail

Entry Fees:

AERC One Day      $150.00 check or $155.00 Paypal

XP One Day            $120.00 check or $125.00 Paypal

AERC Two Days     $265.00 check or $270.00 Paypal

XP Two Days           $230.00 or $235 Paypal

AERC Three Days  $365 check or $375.00 Paypal

XP Three Days        $320.00 check or $325 Paypal

The fees are the same for the 50 mile and 25 mile rides which includes the increased administration and drug fees for this years event. Fun riders enter the XP Club Ride. Post entries are welcome but there will be a $10.00 post entry fee. After entering online you can pay via the Paypal friends and family option or send a check to Ann Nicholson, 19898 Road V, Lewis, Colorado 81327. The Paypal address is 

For more information contact Ride Manager:

Ann Nicholson, 907-209-8881

Dave Nicholson, 907 419 0924 ~ 970 880 0150




XP Riders 2023

Clearing up some misunderstandings, explanations and moving on

                  There was a time when the AERC had a Covid policy I couldn’t agree to, as I was unable to obtain the written permission from the local health departments to approve our events. During the time that policy was in effect, I sanctioned our events with the WDRA and used their insurance. Equine insurance policies treat events differently if they are open to the general public. This is presumably the reason the AERC has their “day member” requirement. Everyone who enters an AERC ride is a member, even if it’s only for the day. Therefore, we required all participants in our Covid era events to be WDRA members. Once AERC removed those Covid requirements, I was able to return to sanctioning our rides with AERC. However many of our riders want to participate at a level that AERC will not recognize. Ride lengths between 35 and 50 miles as well as rides between 15 and 25 miles cannot be sanctioned by the AERC. These rides however were sanctioned by WDRA and life went on. During the past couple of years some riders assumed I was still involved with the WDRA. It’s true I was once a member of the WDRA Board of Directors, but I resigned that position way over a year ago. I still hope the WDRA has good intentions and will live up to their promises, but I am disappointed with the progress they have made up to this point. I’m sorry some riders still think we are requiring them to join that organization as a requirement to ride an XP Ride. That requirement was about insurance and nothing else. Obviously we cannot control what any sanctioning body, whether it’s AERC, WDRA or something else, is going to do in the future. We can and will do our best to comply with the rules of those organizations and continue to work with them. However, the XP Riders have put on a number of events over the years that were not sanctioned with anyone other than the club. Some of these events have been life changing in a positive way for many of those involved.

             The XP Riders has been an informal group for many years, but we formalized some things last year. Over the years, I have kept records on spreadsheets and have maintained a master list on an Excel spreadsheet, but we moved the records onto a database that provides better record keeping. Fortunately the XP Riders have a good friend in Carolyn McLeod, who is willing to set up and maintain a database for us. The database is quite similar to what the WDRA had, and it will work great for us. It is imperative that individual riders and horses have unique numbers to prevent the confusion when riders change names for themselves or their horses. We started the 2022 season by assigning everyone who rode an XP ride in 2021 an XP Rider unique number for themselves and their horses. As time goes on we will add the riders who participate in the future, or who simply want to express their support for XP Rides and what we do. The numbering system started at 101 for those 2021 XP Riders. The first 100 numbers will be reserved as honorary numbers for our oldest supporters who no longer ride. These include the members of the XP Board of Directors, who are select friends of Annie and myself and whom we call upon for their expertise and advice when needed. We both feel this is a better system than a popularity-vote of people who mean well but may not have the expertise or temperament to offer meaningful advice.   Annual dues of $25.00 are voluntary. If you wish to help us keep the XP going and want to continue paying dues, we will accept your money either through Paypal friends and family, a check, or cash at a ride. Dues-paying members will be eligible for the annual awards program. Dues will help to finance our annual awards and help to keep things going into the future. Some have suggested making donations tax deductible and we may do that in the future, but for now we will just keep going as we have in the past.   As we move forward, we will keep the mileage you have accumulated by participating in XP Rides from 2022 onward. We will also credit your mileage in AERC and other distance riding events, AS LONG AS THAT CAN BE SUBSTANTIATED. There will be a column for total lifetime mileage as well as total XP mileage. Neither Carolyn nor I are going to do the legwork to obtain your information. Its not that hard to do. You simply go to the AERC website and look up your rider history. The AERC records are totaled for all AERC events. You can go through the list of rides and see which ones were XP Rides and total those up as well. Send an email to us at with the information after you look it up. Most of the XP rides have been AERC sanctioned, and those that were not, we will be able to find the results for.  I’ll take your word for the XP stuff, but if some special awards are given in the future, you should be able to substantiate those records. AERC has done a good job in this regard, and we hope to as well.

                  We offer XP Club Rides in addition to the AERC sanctioned rides. We will continue to do that into the future. We no longer offer the structured AERC Intro Rides and will direct people wanting a less structured venue to just do the XP Club Rides.

                  There is a drop down on the home page of this website called XP Riders Information.  Clicking on the XP Riders and Horse Numbers under that title will give you access to your number as well as your horse’s numbers. Horse numbers will be your number followed by a decimal point, a zero and the number of your horse. You will see that many riders do not have AERC numbers listed for themselves or their horses.  We would appreciate your sending us an email to xpridersdata with those AERC numbers if you have them.  This will help us greatly with our interaction with AERC.  It will also keep things straight with the results.  Both XP and AERC databases work off of numbers, not names.  When results are sent to AERC without a number that horse may or may not get credit. 

                 I sincerely hope we can all move forward into a future where all equine events will prosper. If you have any questions, we are only a phone call or email away.

Happy Trails,

Dave and Annie    

907 two zero nine 8881  or  970 eight eight zero 0150  Dave

907 eight two one 1819 Annie m/ m




XP Rides and the Nicholson Family

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 will continue with our remaining 2021 ride schedule and have planned for the 2022 season as well. 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, which is now in Colorado. We have no intention to cut back on our Utah and Arizona rides. Indeed we are working on new rides in the eastern Utah and western Colorado areas and are looking at other sites for new and exciting ventures. 


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. 


The United States Government, including the BLM, Forest Service and National Park Service requires certified weed free hay to be fed to all horses and livestock 72 hours before entering public land and while on public land.  This is a requirement that applies to anyone bringing livestock on public lands.  Pelleted feed usually meets the requirements as the heat involved in the processing renders the weed seeds from being able to germinate.  Most Tractor Supply and many farm stores carry compressed bales of weed free hay. 



Breaking news can be found on the xp facebook page




have been moved to the the General Ride Info Page

Carolyn 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 mileage in that database. Many thanks to Carolyn 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:


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.