For one weekend during the Washington High School Equestrian Teams’ season, the Camas and Washougal horseback riders get to show what their horses can do in front of family and friends at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Ridgefield.
“A lot of people can come and watch us when they normally couldn’t because the meets are so far away from home,” said Washougal High School Senior Drill Team captain Tenley Stedman. “It makes us feel important, just like basketball is important and wrestling is important to our school.”
The cold and rainy weather throughout the weekend couldn’t dampen the Panther or the Papermaker spirit. Both teams pushed each other toward a plethora of top 10 finishes.
“We complain about these cold meets, but we love them,” said Washougal Team President Felicia Harrison. “We’ve all made a lot of memories together.”
Harrison snagged second place in figure 8, poles, barrels and keyhole. She also earned eighth in Canadian flags and bi-rangle. Stedman grabbed first in working fours, fourth in the in-hand obstacle relay and ninth in huntseat.
Camas rolled out of the gate Thursday. Team co-captain and senior Chris Allen captured first place in showmanship. He also led off a winning performance for the Papermakers in the in-hand trail obstacle relay, followed by Jordan Moore, Megan Templer and Hanna Firstenburg. Allen finished first in four out of five events throughout the weekend.
“I want this to be a season to remember,” he said. “Practice is really key to everything. If you don’t know how to que your horse to do something, it’s not going to do it. I feel more confident when I know what my horse is doing every step of the way.”
Firstenburg also earned second place in working fours, third in pole bending, fifth in keyhole and seventh in barrels, to go along with her win in the in-hand obstacle relay. She thanked her horses Turbo, Petunia and Jetta for a great weekend.
“They’re three of the best teammates in the world,” Firstenburg said. “Turbo taught me everything I know. I have a better relationship with him than I do with any other horse or person. I hope Jetta brings me home some gold. Petunia already has gold, but we want to get more.”
Firstenburg dedicates each day of the week to one of her horses.
“It’s constant. I’m out there from 3 to 9 every day after school,” she said. “It’s worth it when it all comes together and you have that awesome run you have been waiting for all year. I’m covering 100s of feet in 15 to 20 seconds. There’s nothing else like it.”
The second District Three meet is scheduled for Feb. 14 to 17, at the Grays Harbor Fairgrounds in Elma. The teams then venture to the Tacoma Unit in Spanaway March 14 to 17, for one last opportunity to qualify for the state meet, which is May 16 to 19 in Moses Lake.
Camas top 10
In-hand obstacle relay — 1, Allen, Moore, Templer and Firstenburg. Driving — 1, Allen. Showmanship — 1, Allen. 9, Driver; Kristi Weese. In-hand trail — 1, Allen. 6, Moore. Reining — 1, Moore. 8, Amber Weese. Huntseat — 2, Allen. Working fours — 2, Firstenburg, Templer, Hendrix and Diegal.
Pole Bending — 3, Firstenburg. Trail — 4, Moore. 7, Driver. Cow sorting — 4, Templer and Hendrix. Keyhole — 5, Firstenburg. Stockseat — 5, Allen. 9, Moore. 10, Driver. Barrels — 7, Firstenburg. Working rancher — 9, Moore. 10, Kristi Weese; Templer.
Washougal top 10
Working fours — 1, Nelson, Stedman, Pawelzick and Wright. Over fences — 1, Wright. Huntseat — 1, Olson. 7, Sydney Valaer. 9, Stedman. Saddleseat — 2, Shelby Valaer. Team sorting — 2, Wright and Lehman. Figure 8 — 2, Harrison. 7, Wright. Poles — 2, Harrison. 6, Lehman. Barrels — 2, Harrison. Keyhole — 2, Harrison. Reining — 3, Pawelzick. 5, Sydney Valaer. 6, Townsend.
In-hand obstacle relay — 4, Stedman, Olson, Shelby Valaer and Sydney Valaer. Trail — 4, Shelby Valaer. Working Rancher — 5, Sydney Valaer. Dressage — 6, Shelby Valaer. Stockseat — 7, Sydney Valaer. 8, Townsend. Individual flags — 7, Nelson. Team Canadian flags — 8, Harrison, Nelson, Wright and Kitchen. Bi-rangle — 8, Harrison and Lehman.