Training an aged-event horse of any caliber is a daunting process, and nobody knows it better than seasoned showman Missy Jean Etheridge.
Sporting bright sport boots and an ever-present enthusiastic personality, Etheridge and Hold My Patron won the Brazos Bash Futurity Non-Pro with two 217s and a composite of 434 in the pencil finals that concluded Tuesday, Oct. 12.
“She was very smart. That mare is just gritty and goes and does her job. I don’t know how to describe her, she loves what she does,” Etheridge said.
Winning $10,000 for the feat, Hold My Patron is steadily adding to her ledger, which includes a championship at the Yellowstone Cotton Stakes in the Limited Open Futurity.
According to Etheridge, several cutting peers were doubtful of Hold My Patron’s ability throughout the year. Having trained the mare by herself since November, Etheridge was determined to show people what Hold My Patron could do.
“Every time somebody would talk bad about her, it was like the next day was ‘Hold my beer and watch this.’ And she’d come out firing. That’s how she got the name Hold My Patron. We’re a little team. She’s very methodical,” Etheridge said.
Hold My Patron is called ‘Sweetie’ in the barn, but according to Etheridge, the name holds a lot of irony.
“She is not sweet in any way, shape or form. She will kick the snot out of you,” Etheridge said.
Sweetie is sired by Mandalay Rey and out of Nitas Wood mare Wood She Be Neat, a producer of more than $400,000.
“My husband sold Mandalay Rey to Joel Colgrove, and we were supposed to get breedings [to] him after selling him. But we couldn’t get one of our mares bred, so Joel told us to go down there and pick a [son or daughter],” Etheridge said.
Etheridge and husband Vicky selected a stud colt, but Sweetie had caught their eye too.
“We called Joel and said ‘How much would you take for that filly?’ And he said, ‘Just turn around and go get her [too].’ So he gave us both horses,” Etheridge said.
Training Sweetie has been quite the learning experience for Etheridge, as she is the first horse Etheridge has finished herself.
“Money cannot buy the knowledge she’s given me. Because one day I’d be pulling on her too much or something like that and the next day she’s waiting for you to pull on her. Then I had to go back and say, ‘You do it on your own.’ So, it was a lot of give and take,” Etheridge said.
Etheridge thanked Marcus Spencer for training Sweetie throughout her 2-year-old year, and her help Gavin Jordan, Terry Hollis, Beau Galyean and Casey Green.
Click here for the full order of finish in the Brazos Bash 3-Year-Old Non-Pro.