Snowman The True Story Of A Champion

Snowman: The True Story of a Champion

Snowman, also known as “The Cinderella Horse,” was a remarkable show jumper that captured the hearts of millions during the 1950s. This humble horse, with an extraordinary story, defied all odds to become a champion. Let us delve into the incredible journey of Snowman and explore some fascinating facts about this equine legend.

1. The Beginnings of Snowman
Snowman’s story began in the late 1950s when he was saved from a one-way trip to the slaughterhouse by Harry de Leyer, a Dutch immigrant and horse trainer. De Leyer spotted the gray gelding at an auction and was captivated by his kind eyes and calm demeanor. He purchased Snowman for only $80, primarily as a lesson horse for his students.

2. From Lesson Horse to Champion
Snowman quickly proved his worth and showcased his jumping abilities during training sessions. His remarkable talent caught de Leyer’s attention, leading him to enter Snowman in local horse shows. Against all expectations, Snowman consistently outperformed expensive, well-bred horses, and his reputation as an exceptional jumper grew.

3. The Triple Crown of Show Jumping
Snowman’s rise to fame culminated in his astounding victory at the Triple Crown of Show Jumping in 1958. This prestigious event consisted of three major competitions: the National Horse Show, the Washington International Horse Show, and the Madison Square Garden Horse Show. Snowman’s success in all three competitions solidified his status as a true champion.

4. A Horse with Heart
One of the most remarkable aspects of Snowman’s story is his undying spirit and love for jumping. Despite his humble beginnings and lack of formal training, Snowman approached every jump with enthusiasm and determination. He would gallop towards each obstacle with a gleam in his eye, effortlessly clearing fences that seemed insurmountable.

5. A Bond Beyond Words
The bond between Snowman and de Leyer was undeniable. De Leyer once said, “He was my friend. He was my partner. He was my love.” This deep connection between horse and rider played a pivotal role in their success. Snowman’s trust in de Leyer allowed them to conquer even the most challenging courses together.

6. Retirement and Legacy
After a successful show jumping career, Snowman retired to de Leyer’s farm in New York. He lived out the rest of his days grazing in lush pastures, enjoying the attention and love of those who admired him. Snowman’s legacy lives on, inspiring generations of equestrians to believe in the power of determination and the strength of the human-animal bond.

7. Immortalized in Literature and Film
Snowman’s extraordinary story has been celebrated through various forms of media. In 2011, Elizabeth Letts published a book titled “The Eighty-Dollar Champion,” recounting Snowman’s journey to stardom. Additionally, a documentary film, “Harry & Snowman,” was released in 2015, further immortalizing the remarkable tale of this equine champion.

Common Questions about Snowman:

1. How did Snowman get his name?
– Snowman earned his name due to his white coat, resembling a snow-covered landscape.

2. What breed was Snowman?
– Snowman was an American Quarter Horse, known for their versatility and athleticism.

3. How high could Snowman jump?
– Snowman could clear jumps as high as seven feet, astounding audiences with his incredible ability.

4. How old was Snowman when he was purchased by Harry de Leyer?
– Snowman was around eight years old when de Leyer bought him.

5. Did Snowman have any offspring?
– Yes, Snowman sired several foals during his retirement, passing on his exceptional jumping genes.

6. What happened to Snowman after he retired?
– Snowman lived out the rest of his life on de Leyer’s farm, enjoying a peaceful retirement until his passing in 1974.

7. How many Triple Crowns did Snowman win?
– Snowman won the Triple Crown of Show Jumping once in 1958.

8. Did Snowman ever lose a competition?
– Snowman had his fair share of losses throughout his career, but his remarkable victories overshadowed any defeats.

9. How did Snowman’s story capture the public’s attention?
– Snowman’s story resonated with people because it showcased the triumph of an underdog, a horse that was once bound for the slaughterhouse becoming a champion.

10. Did Snowman receive any special training?
– Snowman received basic training, but his exceptional jumping abilities were largely innate.

11. How tall was Snowman?
– Snowman stood at around 16 hands (64 inches) tall.

12. Did Snowman have any health issues?
– Snowman remained relatively healthy throughout his life, allowing him to compete at the highest level.

13. Was Snowman ever injured during his career?
– Snowman sustained minor injuries on occasion, but they did not hinder his ability to continue competing.

14. Did Snowman perform any other disciplines besides show jumping?
– Snowman primarily focused on show jumping, but he also participated in some dressage competitions.

15. What made Snowman’s story so special?
– Snowman’s story was extraordinary because it showcased the power of love, trust, and determination. He proved that greatness can emerge from the most unexpected places.

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