Results are now posted up through Eastern Mojave at Coso
OUR NEXT RIDE
Finally some good news in the weather forecast. Latest forecast for Inyokern has dropped the chance of showers to 20% on Thursday and nothing but clear skies and temperatures ranging from 69 to 71 for Friday through Sunday. Its time to see the desert at its best.
Cuyama I at Laurel Mtn
Annie was out on a seven mile hike this morning marking the single track trail out of camp. I told her to get some pictures on her iPhone if there were flowers. Its not like Cottonwood Canyon but its getting pretty bright for the desert. Poppies might be out by next week. Its time to come see the desert when the weather is warm and the wind isn’t blowing.
Once again the weather is creating a problem for us. Due to the tremendous amount of moisture in the country west of Cottonwood we have made a final decision that hopefully will impact the fewest people and allow us to have a great ride at Cuyama at the time of a great wildflower bloom. We will do exactly what we did in 2018. We will hold Cuyama I on the original date of March 22-24 at Laurel Mtn. We will hold Cuyama II on the date of the Lost Padres Ride, which is April 5-7. Cuyama I will take place regardless of the weather forecast, as the desert terrain only gets better with increased moisture. The desert is starting to bloom and there should be plentiful flowers throughout the ride.
Cuyama II should be a great wildflower year and the weather by the first part of April should be perfect. I know some of you will be disappointed with our decision but we have no control over the weather.
Cuyama Oaks XP
NEW CUYAMA, CALIFORNIA
3-Days of Pioneer AERC Rides plus 10-15 mile Intro/Duck Rides
These distances are subject to change due to weather and land owner restrictions
April 5-7, 2019 Fri-Sat-Sun
This is the 18th year of our popular ride in New Cuyama, located in the grasslands and oak covered foothills between Bakersfield and Santa Maria. When the wildflowers and spring grasses are blooming its one of the most beautiful places on earth. This year should be absolutely spectacular. The creeks are running and the early spring flowers look promising for a spectacular display at ride time The Cuyama Ride has always been very popular and in the past we were required to limit entries. I wish that were still a problem. Even though we have relaxed the entry limit we still need to have a reasonably accurate idea of the number of participants. We will continue with the same fee structure that we have used in the past. The reality is that ride attendance throughout the sport has declined to the point we sometimes wonder how long the sport, as we have known it, will keep going.
Jon and Mari Jones, ranchers on Cottonwood Road, allowed us to camp on their property in 2014, but we moved the camp next door to the Hassett Thomson Ranch due to the recent wet years. There are trails connecting his property to the trails south of the North Fork, so we’re able to use all the scenic loops near the mountains that we have in the past. Once again, Jon has checked with neighbors to the west for access to lands we haven’t been able to use in the past. Jon remains our contact for keeping everything in place for the ride. Historical information of the area is available on our expanded Cuyama information page under 2019 XP Rides and Dates.
TRAIL: Most of the ride takes place on private lands that trace back to the old Spanish Land Grants. The trail is more difficult than most XP Rides and ranges from a crude single track to dirt roads. There will be wire gates to open and close as we pass through private cattle country. The trail has some rocky portions that some feel necessitate the use of hoof protection. The elevation ranges from 1600 to 5600 feet if we chose to ride to the top of the Sierra Madre Range. The area is home to mountain lion, bear, coyotes, and an occasional Frozen Duck. The trails wind through the same rolling pastures that have supported cattle since the days of the California Vaqueros.
AWARDS: Participation awards will be given to all participants. Horse and rider teams that complete all three days receive special vest or sweatshirt awards.
Ride Photographer: Lynne Glazer will be shooting this ride!
Ride Photographer: Lynne Glazer will be shooting this ride
There are several pertinent web sites for information on this ride.
http://www.xprides.com/ for general information on XP Rides
http://www.xprides.com/ride-entry/riding-and-racing for information on Riding vs Racing
http://www.xprides.com//veterinary-pre-ride-info for veterinary information
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, as are the 2019 Results through Laurel Mountain. 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
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 22-23-24
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 15-16-17 (postponement due to National Championship in 2019 only)
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.