The decision to compete in drill for the first time this season is bringing the Camas High School horseback riders closer.
Sometimes, the horses run into each other and the riders knock knees. It can be painful, but also beautiful when all of the movements go off without a hitch.
“It’s a lot of fun when we’re not bumping into each other,” said drill co-captain Jordan Moore.
Although she has competed in several equestrian events over the years, senior team captain Krysta Purviance said there is no better thrill than competing alongside nine other Papermakers at the same time in drill.
“I have so many memories I will never forget,” she said. “The team has evolved so much over the years. We are more like a family than just acquaintances.”
Purviance has been riding horses since she was 2. Her best friend Keeper has been a big part of her life for nearly seven years.
“I was riding horses long before I learned how to ride a bike,” Purviance said. “Keeper and I have a love-hate relationship, but we also have a lot of trust. I put everything I have into her during those moments, and she gives it right back.
“Horses can be a great stress-reliever,” she added. “If ever I’m having a bad day, a ride on my horse makes all the stress go away. She can keep secrets better than any other friend could.”
Emily Watson is the other senior on the team. The rest are underclassmen, mainly sophomores and freshmen. The rest of the Papermakers on drill are Chris Allen, Sade Allen, Hanna Firstenburg, Randi Hirn, Mckenzie Kuhlman, Megan Templer and Kristi Weese.
Watson and her horse Packy have been riding together for about two years.
“She’s such a well-mannered horse, and she’s one of my best friends,” Watson said. “Any time we can get a second off our time or a higher place, it makes it all worthwhile. Even if I didn’t win or we didn’t go faster, I still just love to ride her.”
Camas competes in the Washington High School Equestrian Teams District Three. It is a six-team league featuring about 120 riders from Washougal, Hockinson, Kalama, Kelso, Longview, Castle Rock, North Thurston and Toledo.
The next two District Three meets are at the Tacoma Unit, from March 18 to 20 and April 22 to 24. State is scheduled for May 15 to 18, at the Grant County Fairgrounds in Moses Lake.
The Papermakers hope to make an impact across the state, while developing a closeness with horses and other riders that lasts a lifetime.
“We all have horses in common,” Watson said. “It’s like being brothers and sisters. We fight all the time, but we all love each other in the end.”