He wasn’t pretty. He wasn’t friendly. Poor Metro, the son of multiple graded stakes placed Dynaformer, wasn’t even much of a racehorse.
But the tall, plain bay had a hidden talent only just discovered—this boy can act!
About a week ago, Metro began his film debut in an independent production centered around a hard-to-tame horse (a role his owner Sarah Noll says he was born to), and playing opposite Allie DeBerry, best known for her work in Disney’s television series A.N.T. Farm.
Metro Sire: Dynaformer Dam: Braided Way Foal date: Feb. 5, 1999 Earnings: $13,590, 15 startsThe film Spirit Riders focuses on the relationship between DeBerry, a troubled teen sentenced to a work-release program on a ranch, and the Dynaformer son who is a bad-boy off the racetrack.
“Metro fits the story perfectly. When I got him six years ago, he had a bad reputation,” says Noll, Metro’s owner. “He came off the track, had a bad attitude, and tended to bite and kick. But when I met him, and started working with him, he calmed down, just like the character Blaze, who he plays in the movie!”
Metro was chosen to play the lead after producer Jerrill Oliver, a client who boards his horses at Noll’s family farm, mentioned he needed a special horse for the role. “They wanted a horse who was really personable, as Metro has grown to be, and easy to work with,” Noll explains. Easy to work with is an understatement!
Metro took such a shine to his leading lady that during one scene, when she runs to his side in tears, he wraps his neck around her in a hug.
“It was incredible! Allie DeBerry had just had a fight with the man who plays her father, and when she ran over to Metro she was in character and crying,” Noll says. “Metro hugged her, pinned his ears, and glared at the man playing her father.”
Metro has also proved to be a cool customer on set. Large reflector lights, rolling cameras that hover over him—pshaw! He hasn’t even raised an eyebrow at the ruckus, she adds.
To prepare for the role, the young actress, who is a huge hit among Noll’s starry eye young cousins, has logged many hours of riding lessons on Metro. “He really, really likes her,” Noll says. “I was so nervous before we started, but he’s just taking it in like he was born for this.”
Metro wasn’t always a heartthrob. Noll remembers how the 17.2 hand gelding used to scare people when she first started working with him on her mother’s Arabian horse farm. (Please see an earlier story in Off-TrackThoroughbreds.com). But that was then; this is now. And Metro’s star has finally risen. ♥