PHOTOS: EhCapa riders entertain at the Malheur County Fair

Aubry Hillman, Queen of the EhCapa Bareback Riders, rides without a tack rein — a strap around the horse’s neck — using her feet, legs and voice to guide the horse. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)

ONTARIO — The EhCapa Bareback Riders were the featured entertainment at the Malheur County Fair Tuesday evening. The riders are known for their ability to guide their horses with just a tack rein, a strap around the horse’s neck, or their legs and voice.

The EhCapa, or “Apache” spelled backwards, have been entertaining crowds for 60 years, often making the fair and rodeo circuit throughout the West. The announcer at the fair explained that the group aims to honor the style of bareback riding and connection between rider and horse that native Apache tribes developed.

A rider smiles at the crowd after removing the tack rein from her horse. The announcer tells the crowd to hold their applause because riding without a tack rein to guide the horse takes complete silence. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)

The EhCapa, or “Apache” spelled backwards, riders wear costuming that mimics traditional indigenous clothing, as well as dark, braided wigs. The announcer said that the group is honoring the practice of bareback riding that native people developed. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)

Aubry Hillman, EhCapa Queen, places the tack rein back around her horse’s neck. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)

The EhCapa Bareback Riders have a 60 year history of training and entertainment throughout the West. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)

The “EhCapa Papas,” fathers of some of the riders, set up the bar for the riders to jump over — a signature part of the EhCapa performance. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)

The riders lead their horses over the bar, some even opting to do the jump with no hands. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)

The performers also decorate their horses using fabric and feathers in the mane and vibrant paint to draw symbols and hand prints on the horses. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)

Aubry Hillman, Queen of the EhCapa Bareback Riders, preforms the highest jump with no hands. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)

The riders salute the crowd at the end of their performance. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)

Have a news tip? Reporter Isabella Garcia: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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