Seven is a lucky number.


Event rider Lisa Hida has been coming to Aiken for the past seven years, but 2014 was the first time she had ever participated in the Paradise Farm Horse Trials. The horseman from New Milford, Conn. hadn’t competed at Paradise previously because the event had fallen to early on the schedule, she said.


However, the wait was worth it, Hida found Paradise Farm an amazing place to compete.


“I was delighted they held the event with all the incredible adverse weather we had experienced earlier in the week,” said Hida. “Lellie Ward’s doing an amazing job. Everything is running on time. The facility is gorgeous.”


The cross country course rode beautifully, said Hida.


“It’s probably one of the best rides I’ve had in the years I’ve been here,” said Hida.


But it’s Hida’s equine partner that played a large role in her success this weekend, making her first time at Paradise an enjoyable experience.


Prime Meridien is a New Zealand-bred Thoroughbred, 18-years-old in the U.S. and 17 years of age in New Zealand, with the colt being foaled on Nov. 1, 1996. He’s known around the barn as Beans. The rider/horse combination went novice level.


“He went advanced in New Zealand, another rider imported him to the U.S., and he came to me late in 2010,” said Hida, who transitioned to the sport of eventing from dressage 10 years ago. “His job for me, because I didn’t come out of the start box until age 44, was to teach me that horses do jump. He’s a machine on cross country.”


Prime Meridien is very adjustable, has a great attitude and has been a fabulous partner, said Hida.


“He can be very strong if I’m in a panic, or if I do my job he can be very handy,” said Hida. “He knows more than I do. It’s understanding how to drive the Ferrari as oppossed to what I’m driving. He’s been a great teacher.”


The rider/horse combination will compete next at Sporting Days, with the objective being to move up to training level at some point in 2014.