Meteor Shot, or “Shooter,” like Bordeaux Bandit, is ten years old. He’s a Louisiana bred horse with 24 starts, 4 wins, 4 seconds, and 4 thirds and a total earnings of $27,615. I first became aware of him in 2011, when his owner contacted the MMSC and asked if we would accept him into our program.
“I decided to foster him because well, you convinced me,” Melissa responded when I asked her recently. “I loved him when I first met him three years before, and I played around with the idea of adopting him when he came back last year I but just couldn't afford a horse in addition to Fly. When you approached me about fostering for two months, and he had nowhere else to go, however, I knew I had to do it.”
She took it slowly with him at first—stopping when he seemed nervous—building his trust. Under her care, Shooter bloomed. So much so I suggested that she take him to a few schooling shows—that the MMSC would pay for—because I knew they would help boost his confidence and make him, as he was already coming from behind being an older nervous horse, more adoptable if he did well.
Melissa agreed. “I thought showing would do several things for Shooter. The first was to let him get out and see what it's like to get off the farm and come back to your friends. The second, letting other people see how wonderful he really is.
"He took his first show, Snowbird, WAY better than I thought he would. He got off the trailer, hung out with his friends, walked down and into the rings and really relaxed! We came home with two seconds and a third amongst decent competition.
"After that I had high expectations, but the Paul Frazier show really rattled his brain. The Horse Park is tricky - horses either don't mind the "Dressage bowl" [the KHP's Dressage complex] or they hate it...he hated it. He hacked around the night before with his friends like a champ but it had been quiet and warm and his friends were right by his side. In the morning, however, it was very chilly. There were horses EVERYWHERE, tons of traffic and only Fly to keep him company, and Fly was honestly much more interested in eating the grass than babysitting her little brother. He lost it. I thought we would have to scratch but then I remembered - he would much rather be contained in a ring than out in the open. So I got up on Shooter right before I needed to go in and went straight into the ring without warming up. MAGIC. Although he was still nervous, he felt so much better, almost like "OK I understand what I am supposed to do now". We completed both dressage tests - they weren't pretty but we stayed in the ring, which was a major accomplishment considering what the morning started out like.
"Then our jumping time came - he had horses warming up above him, horses jumping in the ring in front of him and horses coming and going left and right. So, I decided to do the same thing except that when we entered the ring, Shooter spun and left...running sideways back to the barn. At this point,I could have stayed on and MADE him do it but why when he was SO CLEARLY NERVOUS and not being bad? I decided that he had tried really hard and needed to chill. So I brought him back to his stall, put some liniment and wraps on his legs and let him calm down. Sure enough, he laid down and took a nap. He wasn't being bad or naughty, he was being nervous and insecure. So we went back to square one - trust.
"Back at the farm, I am continuing to work on his confidence - he is SO unsure of himself that he gets nervous when he is being ridden by himself or asked to do anything that he doesn't know. I take him on walks with no tack, just a halter and lead rope by himself. We walk around the fields, over the xc jumps, in the arena and all over the farm so he knows that even if I take him away from his friends I expect him to work and then he can return to the barn.
"I would get on every day and just pat him - letting him know it was me in the saddle and that we would be ok. We walked and trotted for a few days and I decided to give it a go again at one more show, Meadowlake - a quieter environment. The dressage rings were all contained and he didn't have to jump a single jump. He was a star! I treated him with some gastrogard-type supplement for two days before and it made a huge difference. He is one that should probably live on an ulcer supplement. He went in and put in 6 GREAT tests - of course, we brought his girlfriend Jazzy up with him so he had a friend to keep him company but I could not have been more proud! And had it not been for my error in the test, he would've scored his best score to date. We came home with a first and two seconds!” (See the video of Shooter's best dressage test here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpJzxuERVKk)
Shooter was supposed to come back to the MMSC the first of March. But knowing him as I did, I felt that he had to stay at Melissa’s a little longer to make him truly adoptable. He was tried by one potential adopter, but the fit was not a good one. He wasn’t ready to go. But one potential adopter who had heard his story through an email exchange with us decided to pitch in, offering to pay half of his board until he found a home. But even paying half is too expensive for the MMSC.
I pleaded with Melissa over and over to adopt Shooter.
“If I had the money I would not even question him staying Fly's brother for the rest of his life,” she told me repeatedly. “However, Fly is my first commitment and keeping her happy and healthy is my goal. My husband and I don't have the funding to be able to keep two horses. If I won the lotto or someone told me they would pay his bills for the rest of his life, it would be a no brainer. I love this little horse! I told myself I wouldn't fall in love, it was just a foster. But we all knew that wasn't going to happen.
“I worry so. I don’t know what is going to happen to him. I know you will find him a great home, but when? And what if he comes back again? What if I help chose a home that isn't the right home? Will he think I failed him? Will he think I abandoned him? It's hard for me to think about him leaving but I know for him a forever home that could spoil him is exactly what he needs and I can't give that to him right now.”
I got to thinking. I can’t justify keeping Shooter with Melissa any longer and paying for his board and training. But that is clearly where where this adorable horse belongs for now.
But what if I were to broadcast his story? Surely you out there reading about him would help him stay with Melissa until he finds his forever home, a home that Melissa KNOWS will be perfect for him? If you are willing and able to help, would you go to www.gofundme.com/meteorshot right now. No gift is too small. Remember a cistern is filled one drop a time. Please, if you can, help Shooter. This is your chance to make a big difference in this little horse’s life.