A win at the Breeder’s Invitational was the long-awaited boost Missy Jean Etheridge had been after with her talented mare A Star Is Borne, who she rode to the Classic/Challenge Non-Pro championship.
“I’m just so thrilled it happened for her,” Etheridge said. “It was finally our time.”
Navigating through two go-rounds of cutters, A Star Is Borne and Etheridge advanced to the finals on May 18 in Tulsa, Oklahoma where they marked a 219.5 to win the Classic Challenge Non-Pro.
The win pushed the Rose Valley Ranch-bred mare’s earnings to more than $109,000, according to Equi-Stat.
“She may not have some of the same physical attributes as most of the horses, but she’s smarter than every sucker in there,” Etheridge said.
Sired by Equi-Stat Elite $3 Million Sire Boon Too Suen and out of Holly Is Smooth (by Smooth As A Cat), A Star Is Borne had a lucrative futurity year in 2019, winning Open titles with Michael Cooper such as Cotton Stakes Futurity, Brazos Bash Futurity and the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association Futurity, raking in more than $91,000 before the BI.
Then, a difficult Derby year kept Missy Jean Etheridge and A Star Is Borne out of the money.
“I think at the aged events I put too much pressure on myself, trying to force things to happen instead of letting it happen, being easy, reading my cow. I was showing her everywhere and I just wasn’t getting it done,” Etheridge said.
At the Breeder’s Invitational, Etheridge focused on preparing her mare with the assistance of Les Blameuser, and relied on her help to watch cattle. In her corner were Kody Porterfield and Kory Pounds, with Casey Green and Michael Cooper turning her cattle around.
“Your cows determine your success. I’m going to do my job and cut clean, be where I’m supposed to be and my cows determine the rest of it. I do the best with what’s given to me,” Etheridge said.
As excited as Etheridge was to finally get success with her star mare, her mind couldn’t help but drift to another long-awaited moment happening at her home back in Mississippi.
See, Etheridge is something of a plant enthusiast – with horticultural endeavors ranging from several kinds of fruit trees to berry bushes. One of those plants, a pineapple plant she’s been fastidiously tending to for the past three years, has finally starting to grow its first fruit.
And, Etheridge was missing the long-await moment because she was in Tulsa. She couldn’t wait to go home to see the progress made by the spikey little green addition to the family.
“I didn’t want to come to this show really, because I have a pineapple I planted three years ago and it’s finally coming up,” said Etheridge, who likened the time spent nurturing the slow-growing plant to the time required to develop a futurity horse. “I’m missing my pineapple coming up.”
“It’s stupid, but it’s true. All my friends said ‘Are you nuts? You should be happy here at the horse show.'”