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Winter Wonders: Harry de Leyer’s Serendipitous Snowman Acquisition

1. Getting Started

Harry de Leyer’s acquisition of Snowman is a legendary tale that has captured the hearts of horse enthusiasts and equestrian fans for decades. The remarkable story of how an unlikely champion emerged from humble beginnings is a testament to the bond between man and animal, and the transformative power of dedication and determination. In this article, we delve into the fascinating details of Harry de Leyer’s purchase of Snowman, illuminating the timeline and providing insight into the extraordinary journey that unfolded.

2. The discovery of Snowman

Snowman’s remarkable story began in 1956 when Harry de Leyer, a Dutch immigrant and professional horseman, made a serendipitous discovery at a Pennsylvania horse auction. De Leyer had traveled to the auction with the intention of purchasing a horse for his riding school. But fate had a different plan for him.

As the auction drew to a close, de Leyer noticed a truck preparing to leave, and to his surprise, he spotted a gray horse destined for the slaughterhouse. Intrigued by the horse’s gentle demeanor and kind eyes, de Leyer decided to take a chance and purchased the horse for just $80, saving it from an uncertain fate.

3. Early Education and Development

After bringing Snowman back to his stable, de Leyer began the process of training and developing the horse’s potential. Despite Snowman’s unassuming appearance and lack of formal training, de Leyer recognized his exceptional jumping ability and began a rigorous training program to harness his talents.

With patience, skill, and a deep understanding of horsemanship, de Leyer nurtured Snowman’s natural abilities, gradually honing his jumping technique and refining his skills. The bond between horse and rider grew stronger with each passing day, as Snowman displayed an unwavering trust in de Leyer and a remarkable eagerness to learn.

4. Rise to prominence

Snowman’s rise to prominence was as swift as it was unexpected. In 1958, just two years after being rescued from the slaughterhouse, Snowman made his debut at the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden. Although considered an underdog, the unlikely duo of de Leyer and Snowman stunned the crowd with their flawless jumps and impeccable timing.
Their remarkable performance caught the attention of the equestrian world, and Snowman quickly became a sensation. In the years that followed, he continued to defy expectations, winning numerous prestigious competitions and capturing the hearts of fans around the world. Snowman’s story of triumph against all odds has inspired countless horse lovers and remains an enduring symbol of perseverance and resilience.

5. Legacy and Impact

The legacy of Snowman and Harry de Leyer’s extraordinary journey extends far beyond their individual accomplishments. Their story serves as a testament to the indomitable spirit of both human and equine athletes, and their enduring bond continues to inspire generations of riders and horse enthusiasts.

Harry de Leyer’s decision to purchase Snowman at that fateful auction forever changed the trajectory of both their lives, and the impact of their partnership reverberates to this day. Snowman’s story is a reminder that greatness can come from unexpected places, and that true champions are forged through dedication, hard work, and an unwavering belief in the power of dreams.
In sum, the story of Harry de Leyer’s purchase of Snowman is one of serendipity, talent, and unwavering determination. It exemplifies the transformative power of the human-animal bond and serves as an enduring source of inspiration for equestrian enthusiasts and lovers of remarkable stories alike.


When did Harry de Leyer buy Snowman?

Harry de Leyer bought Snowman, the famous show jumping horse, in February 1956.

How did Harry de Leyer come to buy Snowman?

Harry de Leyer purchased Snowman from a slaughterhouse auction. He recognized the horse’s potential and saw something special in him.

What was Snowman’s background before Harry de Leyer bought him?

Prior to being bought by Harry de Leyer, Snowman was a plow horse and had been slated for the slaughterhouse. He was saved by Harry’s keen eye and belief in his abilities.

What did Harry de Leyer accomplish with Snowman after buying him?

Harry de Leyer and Snowman went on to achieve remarkable success in the world of show jumping. They won numerous championships and became famous for their incredible bond and accomplishments together.

What is Snowman’s legacy in the world of equestrian sports?

Snowman’s story is considered one of the most inspiring in the history of equestrian sports. He is a symbol of the extraordinary potential that can be found in unexpected places and the power of the human-animal bond.