2018 Ride Season
The rides are club rides for XP Riders and you must be an active member of the club to participate. These are endurance rides as opposed to an endurance races. You should note that the word RACE never appears in the AERC rule book. Should you have any questions about this please read article #2 below and/or speak with the KBD. We hope you will take the time at the rides to relax and enjoy the camaraderie and vistas the event offers. Please be patient with ride management as we are getting old and forgetful. In past years we found several people on Facebook who evidently either did not read what our rides are all about, did not read the releases they signed and mistakenly thought they were on a well managed endurance race. They were disappointed. We try to be upfront with what we offer but some people just prefer to ignore all warnings and whine later. We have grown weary of the victims in todays society, especially in this sport. It is imperative you understand all of the material pertaining to club activities. Online entry replies refer riders to five different items included on the XP website. We prefer you use your smart phones or other internet devices to read these, however for those who are cyber challenged we have reprints available at the check in table. Many of the more frequent complaints about our rides have resulted from a misunderstanding of what both XP Rides and the AERC actually offer. We hope to clear that up as more people in the world are becoming victims and we certainly don’t want to victimize anyone.
The five articles are:
- Riders of the Lost Duck Riding Club: http://xprides.com/ride-entry/riders-of-the-lost-duck/
- Riding vs. Racing: http://xprides.com/ride-entry/riding-and-racing/
- Veterinary Pre Ride Information: http://xprides.com/ride-entry/veterinary-pre-ride-info/
- Medications: http://xprides.com/pitfalls-of-riders-medicating-their-endurance-horses/
- Limited Distance: http://xprides.com/ride-entry/limited-distance/
These are all found on the XP website on the pull down menu under Potpourri.
CONTROL JUDGE INFORMATION
We generally set pulse criteria at 60 BPM for all checks INCLUDING THE FINISH. Control Judges have a great deal of leeway in making decisions regarding a horses ability to continue or complete. Just because you, or your best friend think your horse is fit to continue does not overrule the CJ’s opinion. XP Ride rules have set a lower pulse criteria for completion than AERC and our CJ’s will make the determination on the grade of lameness and what is causing that lameness. Those evaluations are what will determine the fate of your completion at control points and the end of the day.
MAKE SURE THAT YOU KNOW HOW OUR ENTRY BOX AND CARD SYSTEM WORK.
All riders are required to fill out rider cards when they enter the ride. There are now three cards required for each days ride. The first card is a small green card you will present to the control judge at check in and carry with you during the ride. These cards are useless and contain only the minimum information required by AERC. They will be collected at the end of the ride and kept by ride management. More on this subject can be found in article #3, Veterinary Pre Ride Information. This green card should have your name and horses name printed legibly on the back side. The next card is the larger orange entry card. This needs to be filled out LEGIBLY and completely, and then entered into the entry box every night before 2100 hours. The final smaller orange or card will contain your name and horses name and will be placed in the entry box within one hour of the start of each days ride. This second small card assures AERC that everyone is present and accounted for at the beginning of the ride. It also assures us who is actually riding and what horse they are riding. We are not required to do a shotgun start. We prefer riders with fractious horses to leave camp in a calm manner instead of being worked into a frenzy at the starting line. We request that all riders leave camp within 15 minutes of the official start so drag riders can pull ribbons and make sign changes on the trail. You must keep up a pace that will keep you in front of the drag riders. If you get off trail you may find the ribbons have been removed and will only have hoofprints to mark the trail forward. This is a chance you must be willing to take when riding in any event, so keep your temper under control when you blow by a turn, even if its been poorly marked. We MAY allow a later start in some circumstances, however the pre ride exam must take place before going out on the trail. There is a distinct possibility the control judges will need to leave prior to the official start. This makes it the riders responsibility to present their horses at least 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the earliest group. During this exam the CJ will note any SIGNIFICANT wounds as well as the basic parameters to start the ride. They will not go over your horse with a fine tooth comb to write down insignificant wounds and scars. If you have some area you wish written on the card feel free to bring that to the CJ’s attention and then you can write on the card yourself after the check if the CJ did not feel it required comment. Be advised that we generally use a pulse criteria of 60 at all stops including the finish. This is more stringent than AERC requirements and you are being notified of that fact at this time. Our control judges are often out on the trail and they will pull your horse from competition at any time or place on the course. Control Judges will use their discretion in allowing your horse to continue or complete and are not bound by any specific criteria regardless of what your friends or misinformed AERC board members may have told you. Dr. Nicholson will be glad to go over the rules with you in private if you are unable to understand them correctly. Your cooperation with these XP procedures and rules are mandatory.
DUCK RIDES ~ FUN RIDES ~ INTRODUCTORY RIDES
Those of you who do not want to abide by some of the more strict rules of the AERC are welcomed and encouraged to enter the Duck Rides, also know as the Fun Rides or Introductory Rides. Starting in the 2018 season we will be more diligent in our recording of Duck Rider Miles. You will still need to go through a preliminary exam and a post ride exam and GENERALLY follow the LD rules as interpreted and modified by the KBD. If a rider is riding the Duck Ride and wants to go less than the prescribed distance they can arrange with the ride manager or the KBD to an agreed course to follow if there is not a designated Duck Ride. The mileage for these rides will not be reported to the AERC but they will be retained by the XP Riders and will count for lifetime XP miles and will accumulate towards the end of year XP awards. Riders in the AERC divisions will usually automatically drop into the Duck Ride class if for some reason they do not qualify for an AERC completion or award. Of course this decision will rest entirely with the KBD who makes all of the arbitrary and capricious decisions for the club. Its best to be a really nice person and display good sportsmanship and there will never be a problem. Duck Riders will receive the same completion awards as the AERC riders and in addition will usually, but not always, pay a lower entry fee and receive free lunches and dinners. Entry fees are determined by what option you choose to start the event with. XP Rides do not differentiate between Endurance Miles, LD Miles or Duck Miles. They all count for the year end XP awards, all of which are based on XP mileage points.
TRAIL MARKING AND GPS
The trails are marked with ribbons on clothespins and some intersections are marked with pie plates giving the waypoint and directions. The trails are sometimes marked with different colored ribbons tied to clothespins. We primarily use pink ribbons for the endurance distances and blue or blue/white ribbons for shorter distance cut offs. We place these markings on both sides of the trail so you won’t get confused trying to remember what color ribbons you are supposed to follow, nor will you have to pay attention to what side of the trail they are on. As with all rides, we have major problems with vandals removing the ribbons. There are usually well written step by step directions at GPS waypoints throughout all ride days. Each WPT marks a different spot along the daily courses. Often the plates will have a WPT- followed by a number. There may also be a number for the day of the series of events and is what we believed at press time to be accurate, however we often have to change days because of weather or last minute conflicts with other forest users. The WPT number corresponds to the data on the GPS receivers that were downloaded prior to the ride. We encourage GPS use, however you must adhere to the agreement of its value in the release you signed. You must discard that data at the end of the ride. The data is proprietary and we don’t allow it to be used for any purpose other than assisting you on this ride. This simple device will assure you you will never be lost again, regardless of what trail vandals do to the markings. We have been subjected to increased trail sabotage every year, therefore we strongly advise that you pay particular attention to your location and continue to confirm your position throughout the ride. Be sure to carry a warm jacket and matches in case you get lost and have to spend a night alone in the forest or desert. Should this become necessary, go to the middle of the largest clear area you can find, preferably with a well-traveled road through the middle of it and STAY PUT. Don’t be too proud to ask others for help. Most other back country visitors are willing to assist you in an emergency. Keep some water and an emergency pack with you. Spend some time thinking about your survivor skills. It is a big forest out there. Most rides are somewhat unique in that many of the trails are inaccessible to vehicles thereby taking a joint effort on volunteers to get them marked and then removing the ribbons. Because of this there will be drag riders pulling the ribbons. Of course this problem can be alleviated by simply using a GPS, then you will have no problem staying on course after the ribbons are pulled. Please note: there are no safe places for a finish line on most rides. Establish your placings before the finish line or request a match race at the finishing timer. When two or more riders arrive within 10 seconds of each other one of them can request a match race. This will allow us to set out a course with some safeguards for their horses as well as the innocent by standers. The KBD will make any difficult decisions as to finishing placing. If you have any questions about how this is going to be conducted you MUST discuss this before the ride and not after crossing the finish line.
The Forest Service, National Park Service and BLM all require hay and feedstuffs brought onto federal lands to be certified weed free. Respect these requirements and make sure that you don’t introduce non-native plants to the area with your horse feed. All traces of our passing should be removed, which means, among other things, that any hay or feed placed on the ground must be removed when your crew leaves the lunch area. You are responsible for the actions of your crews; make sure they live up to the spirit and letter of the law. Make sure your vehicles stay on well-worn vehicle paths. We want to maintain a low profile so that we have less problems we have in the future, whether on public or private land. The XP policy regarding hay and manure is that you should not throw large amounts of hay and bedding on the ground and should pick up what remains when you leave camp. Please spread the manure over the area your horse is confined in, then cover the area with a very light covering of hay and finally throw your remaining water over the organic material to hold it all in place.
Some trail footing is hard and rocky and some is like riding on a golf course. Plan for the worse and you wont be disappointed. You can certainly make most rides with nothing but regular shoes, but with any ride, the Duck recommends some sort of additional hoof protection. Easyboots over a pair of shoes is cheap insurance. Perhaps the best aid for keeping horses from becoming sore footed is simply to look where you are going and to make use of the cow trails along the sides of the harder roads. None of the natural obstacles in the trail have been marked; you are expected to pay attention to what your horse is doing. There are rocks and holes that can severely injure a horse. There may be a few precipitous sections of consequence on a trail, but it won’t be a problem if you take your time and use common sense. The best advice is to lead through any section that worries you. Remember, these events are is just rides and that you are doing it for fun. Your happiness and rewards should depend upon spending time in the outdoors with your equine and human friends. We try to have water available at strategic places on the trail, but bad things sometimes happen to nice ride managers. There are many things to go wrong during the management of a ride and the failure of a water truck is perhaps the most serious. Fortunately horses can go 50 miles without water, and prudent riders will always ride with enough reserve to do just that, should all else fail. Should you come upon an empty water tank that appears to have a mud hole around it, you can assume that some inconsiderate rider, or riders, in front of you have chosen to sponge their horses instead of leaving the water for your horse to drink. You should make note of who those villains were and take care of them at a later date. If you ARE one of those villains and have been inconsiderate in the past, you should repent now, while you have the chance. Water does not come out of a faucet. It comes from ride management and is hauled at great expense. While we intend to do our best to provide you with the essentials, the ultimate survivors are those who always keep enough in reserve that they will overcome any unforeseen difficulties. Depend only on yourself and you will never have to play the blame game. If you are a new member of the XP Riders, you should familiarize yourself with the veterinary procedures and make sure you understand that you are the only person ultimately responsible for your horse’s welfare. Even the most novice rider has an insight on their horse’s condition that can exceed that of the finest veterinarian. Riders should learn to develop the skills necessary to keep in tune with the true condition of their mount. The Control Judges will never overrule your decision to quit the ride with a Rider Option. While we have the means to offer standard emergency therapy to sick and injured horses, we are a long ways from significant medical help. Seriously ill or injured horses should be transported to a full service veterinary treatment center. We will assist you in finding one of these centers but take no responsibility for the care you receive there. We only look for the availability of services, not the quality. IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ACCEPT COMPLETE AND UNEQUIVOCAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR HORSES WELFARE, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME AND YOU SHOULD LEAVE THIS RIDE AND THIS SPORT.
We constantly have people wonder how we do these rides “all by ourselves”. The sometimes not so obvious answer is that we have an enormous support group. In addition we have numerous members of the XP riders who pitch in at P&R stops, work on trail projects, donate time, money and goods for the rides. Without this support we wouldn’t have the rides. We sincerely thank those who work so hard and have given so much to their fellow XP riders. We thank them all, along with Easycare our primary sponsor.
Good luck and have a great ride, The Duck Family