One of the most beautiful and wonderful stories in the horse world is about to be told to you.
This is the real-life account of fantasy-world dweller Harry de Leyer and his lovely horse, Snowman. Harry had just spent $80 for a horse to pull a plough, but he was unaware of how it would completely alter the remainder of his and his wife’s lives.
Harry de Leyer was born in The St Oedenrode in the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant in 1928. He was raised on a horse farm and frequently participated in show jumping contests, but when the Germans invaded Holland in 1940, many of the Dutch horses were kidnapped.
Harry demonstrated his riding abilities and expertise while working on tobacco plantations in the South until he was hired as a horse groom. The thin horse with the missing shoe, cut knees, and tackle rubs all over his body cost Harry $60 from the meat vendor in addition to $20 for delivery.
A local doctor purchased the Snowman from Harry because he shared Harry’s desire for a calm horse for himself and his children. Harry typically sold several of his horses at the conclusion of each school year. The doctor was sick of him and asked Harry if he could take care of Snowman at his farmhouse.
Harry was quite interested in Snowman’s ability to jump out of the paddocks, so he decided to test him over a four-foot fence. Just two years after Harry saved Snowman from the meat man, they won the Triple Crown at Madison Square Gardens in 1958.
On the other side, a snowman became the first horse in history to win both the Professional Horseman’s Association Champion and the American Horse Shows Association Horse of the Year at Madison Square Gardens in 1959. The Snowman earned the nickname “Cinderella Horse” and rose to fame across the country.
In 1962, he retired from competitions and dedicated the remainder of his life to Harry. At the National Horse Show at the New Madison Square Gardens in 1969, he was even given a ceremonial retiring ceremony. Snowman’s health began to worsen when he became 26 years old, and he died in 1974 from kidney failure.
Snowman was euthanized with his devoted owner by his side and buried in his own particular corner of the grass paddock, despite his veterinarians’ best efforts. May his spirit find eternal rest.
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