An ice storm and earthquake didn't seem to bother event rider Marina Royston.


The horseman was one of the riders competing this weekend at the Paradise Farm Horse Trials.


The inclement weather this past week did change her training schedule, but hardly altered the course of her objectives, as she and her Thoroughbred gelding Illusion of You, were more than up to the challenge of competing at Paradise.


“My barn still doesn't have water or electricity,” said Royston. “I didn't ride him for two days.”


Royston went preliminary with her horse Illusion of You on Saturday, participating in both the dressage and stadium jumping phases of the event.


The rider and horse have been together almost four years. Royston has taken the 16-year-old off the track Thoroughbred up the levels.


“I moved him up from novice, and we're actually running two star intermediate now,” said Royston.


Saturday morning's dressage test in itself wasn't a problem, but Illusion of You was extremely sensitive to the wind, said Royston.


“There was stuff flapping on the fence line,” said Royston. “The test rode fairly nicely. I think it would have helped him more with the dressage if I would have been able to ride him the last two days.”


Illusion of You is an outstanding jumper, and didn't seem to have too many problems in the stadium jumping arena, said Royston.


“He's worth his weight in gold jumping,” said Royston. “I'm doing intermediate, so the preliminary was pretty easy. It was a good course, and the turns made it very interesting.”


The rider/horse combination will return tomorrow, where they will compete in the cross country phase of the competition.


“He's a cross country machine,” said Royston. “I do have a great partnership with him after four years.”


Plans call for Royston and Illusion of You to go intermediate at the Pine Top Farm Horse Trials in two weeks, followed by the two star at the Carolina International, the two star at The Fork in Norwood, N.C. and finishing the spring with the Concours Complet International two star at Jersey Fresh.


Ben Baugh has been covering the equine industry and equestrian sport for the Aiken Standard since 2004.