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Anna Dryden was the first rider to set foot in Rolex Stadium on Friday morning. The adult amateur competitor from New York had her second child just five months ago, but was determined to have strong finishes in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Speed class on both of her horses, Zartoes and Petrushka III. Although she lost her reins on the way to a fence on Zartoes, the pair still went clear in a time of 67.950. She continued to lead the class until she reentered the ring on Petrushka III and completed the course almost two whole seconds faster, in a time of 66.045. Charlotte Jacobs and Bartani S took home third place honors in the class of seventeen.

The early morning win held more significance for Dryden as it marks her return to serious competition after pregnancy. Although she normally trains with Allison Robataille, Dryden is working with Chilean Olympian, Samuel Parot during this trip to Kentucky. She credits Parot's can-do attitude with giving her the confidence to go in the ring with an expectation to win and allowing her to enjoy the moment.

Dryden is no stranger to the winner's circle in the High Amateur-Owner division. Before she gave birth to her second child, she and 'Petra' consistently had top placings together including a win in the same division on August 3, 2016. The 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Zartoes, is a slightly more recent acquisition to Dryden's string, being purchased only a year and a half ago. Dryden is hopeful that once she regains her post pregnancy fitness she will have the opportunity to show Zartoes in bigger classes and put her extra scope to good use. 

Amateur and professional show jumping competition will continue through the weekend as part of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. Spectators who are interested in seeing all the action up close are invited to come to the Kentucky Horse Park tomorrow to participate in 'Hats Off to Kentucky's Horse Industry' Day. The all-day affair offers fun family activities including arts and crafts, pony rides, educational booths, and equestrian competition, and it's all free! Hats Off Day is the only day of the year an entire family can enjoy the Kentucky Horse Park and all it has to offer, at no cost! Spectators are encouraged to stick around for the main event in Rolex Stadium, the $50,000 Rood and Riddle Grand Prix that will begin promptly at 7:30pm.

Photo by Lenore Phillips