Longest of All Long Shots

Backward Glance


A story that will make your heart sing is the tale of Snowman and his owner, Harry de Leyer.  I stumbled upon this story on pinterest and have completely fallen in love with the duo’s tale of strength, determination and a sprinkling of luck.

Every horse lover becomes impassioned when they hear a story about a horse that people have given up on and is given a second chance by a special person that can smell and nurture raw talent.  In Snowman’s case it was a riding instructor by the name of Harry de Leyer. Snowman was a 8-year-old plow horse who was bound for the slaughter house after being passed in at a horse auction. In sweeps De Leyer, arriving late to the auction, hoping to purchase some horses for his Long Island riding school. He spotted the last-chance grey gelding on the truck and bought him for $80 as a new addition to his riding school. Dutch immigrant De Leyer had exceptional talent as a show jumper but wasn’t in the financial position to afford a thoroughbred to enter the national competition.


It wasn’t until De Leyer sold Snowman, and the tenacious gelding scaled six-foot high fences to return to the riding school that De Leyer decided to start training Snowman for the national show jumping circuit. Snowman and De Leyer proved to be a formidable team and from two years off the slaughterhouse truck, the plow horse and Dutchman were outclassing superior-bred Thoroughbred jumpers. Snowman’s career spanned over five years. He willingly jumped over other horses and his genteel disposition had the entire nation falling in love with his rasg to riches story. I think the top photo, with a tribe of kids on his back, shows what a wonderful, kind-hearted horse he was.

Snowman died naturally at the ripe old age of 26. He was inducted into the Showjumping Hall of Fame in 1992.

I’m considering introducing a permanent space on this blog for historic horses and their uplifting stories, so that these tales live on.

What do you think – does this interest you globetrotters?

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