Two-year-old cutting prospect Kidd Kat Sugar was the only horse Missy Jean Etheridge and her husband, Vicky Lynn, watched Billy Kidd ride at the 2019 Eastern Nationals in Jackson, Mississippi.
The couple was interested in seeing the trainer’s 2-year-old crop. When Vicky saw Kidd Kat Sugar, the decision was made. They were buying that horse.
“When Vicky decides to do something, there’s no talking him out of it,” Missy Jean said laughing. “It was March and Billy had only just broke him. He moved left to right and acted very sensible. Billy does a great job exposing his horses to a lot of stuff, so he was mature early on.”
Missy Jean Etheridge chose to campaign the son of National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Horse of the Year Kit Kat Sugar and out of Haidandsmoke (by Smart Smokin Pep) on the early futurity circuit this year.
Early Futurity Circuit
Whether to enter a horse in an early cutting futurity in the summer or fall or to wait so it can enter the prestigious NCHA Futurity – a lucrative show, but one restricted to horses that have never competed in an event involving cattle – is not an easy choice to make.
The decision to show “Kidd” in the early futurities paid the Etheridges big dividends, as he and Missy Jean racked up three Non-Pro titles this year. He and trainer Rodrigo Taboga also won an Open Championship bringing his lifetime earnings to nearly $60,000.
The highlight of the year came in late October at the Southern Cutting Futurity where Kidd won the Open with Taboga and the Non-Pro Championship with Etheridge.
“The Southern was a huge accomplishment for us,” Etheridge said. “[With] Rodrigo winning the Open and me winning the Non-Pro, Kidd’s earnings went way up in one show.”
The Southern victories just the icing on the cake, as Etheridge and Kidd had already won the Cotton Stakes Non-Pro in September, and Taboga piloted Kidd to third at the Intermediate Open at the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association and won the Gelding Incentive in that class.
After the Southern, Etheridege took the gelding to one last event—the Waco Texas Futurity and Limited Age Event – before giving him a few weeks off. There they won the 3-Year-Old Non-Pro and cashed in for another $3,019.87.
“He is extremely cowy, wild on a cow so we have to try and contain that just a touch. He also stops really big so those are two big positives,” she said. “I think he’s going to be a resilient horse. He had little bit of a head start because of the way Billy hauled him all over so he’ll be way more seasoned than others.”
Etheridge plans to continue entering Kidd in Open and Non-Pro events next year and says she couldn’t do it without all her herd helpers and Vicky’s support.