The EhCapa riders, ages 8 through 19, develop a unique relationship with their horses based on sound horsemanship principles. They control their mounts with leg cues, their voices, and a one-inch wide leather strap around the horse’s neck known as a “tack rein.” EhCapa believes that when youngsters learn to build trust in the horses they love, the results can be remarkable. The program emphasizes commitment, patience with self, consistent practice, active team participation and mentoring others.
The EhCapa Bareback Riders were created in 1956 as an inexpensive way for children to ride and enjoy their horses. EhCapa is a family-oriented horseback riding club for boys and girls, and has performed all over the West, including Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, British Columbia, Oregon, Washington, California, Montana, and even as far as Ohio. Most riders average 6 years with EhCapa.
The EhCapa Bareback Riders have a 25-plus year history with the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association).
The horses are of every shape, color, and breed, with no specific qualification except that they are trained and loved by the children who ride them. The group consists of 40 - 50 motivated young people.
With each performance young, talented riders take the audience on a breathtaking journey through maneuvers and jumps that few experienced riders can handle… all without the aid of saddles or bridles.
The routine varies from season to season, but always includes precision riding, pinwheels of various dimensions, and a show stopping display of jumping - in pairs, in small groups, and up to sixteen abreast. Occasionally the drill includes an exercise at Liberty; a special drill during which the “tack rein” is removed and the rider controls the horse with only leg and voice cues.
As the club’s style of riding is reminiscent of Native Americans, the name Apache was selected to be spelled in reverse, thus the name EhCapa. The organization rides in the hope of bringing honor to Native Americans, from their beautiful handmade clothing to the traditional native symbols painted on the horses.