#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The dramatic and inspiring story of a man and his horse, an unlikely duo whose rise to stardom in the sport of show jumping captivated the nation
Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a truck bound for the slaughterhouse. The recent Dutch immigrant recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up nag and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, he ultimately taught Snowman how to fly. Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo. One show at a time, against extraordinary odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, the pair climbed to the very top of the sport of show jumping. Their story captured the heart of Cold War–era America—a story of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all. They were the longest of all longshots—and their win was the stuff of legend.
Letts (Quality of Care) raises expectations in her newest book by claiming national inspiration in the subtitle. Snowman was a plow horse bought off the slaughter truck for $80 by Danish immigrant Harry de Leyer. Snowman's appearance masked superior jumping talents, and de Leyer took him to the top of the "expensive.... equestrian world was one of the last bastions of the upper-class elite." The events occurred in the late 1950s and early 1960s; however, Letts doesn't quite establish the context, and it's not clear how a horse provided inspiration for workers "starved for dreams" amid "terrifying fears of nuclear age tensions." Diversions such as the decline of the American horse population offer little insight, and nonequestrians will occasionally be puzzled by the lingo, particularly with respect to equine anatomy. Still, Letts is a solid prose stylist; her vivid descriptions of staid Long Island with its "gentle meadows ringed by dogwood trees" provide virtual tours, but it is de Leyer's realization of the American dream that is the real story. Photos.
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Just a wonderful positive powerful story!!
I just loved this story. I read an article in USA Today about the book and loved the article. The book was entertaining and filled with knowledge about that period in time when things were simple and pure. I loved the detail of the horse lifestyle and the love of Harry for these beautiful and intelligent animals. I fell in love with Snowman and the love Harry and his family had for the horse.
A very good book!!
The Eighty Dollar Champion
I remember this horse when I was 10 years old . What a story . Never understood horses being killed for people to eat. They helped build our country . They brought people from the East Coast to the West Coast . The story of Snowman and his owner was so wonderful. And the best part , of which people now a days need to understand , he kept him til he died . He could have sold him for a lot of money , but he did not . Not everything should have a price tag on it . Horses are bought and sold every day , all in the name of the all mighty dollar. Harry was one in a million , and so was his buddy , Snowman . What a great man , and a well done story . Still wish a movie could be done , with the proceeds going to stop the opening of slaughter houses and stop sending our horses to Canada or Mexico to be killed .
The best book
This is the best book I have ever read I would recommend this to any one that loves horses and horse shows