November 1958: the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, one of the most prestigious sporting events in the country. In the rarefied atmosphere of wealth and tradition, hotheaded Thoroughbreds piloted by seasoned professionals awaited their turn to take on the course of towering hurdles. Into the ring trotted the most unlikely of horses—a drab white former plow horse named Snowman—and his rider, Harry de Leyer. They were the longest of all longshots—and their win was the stuff of legend.
Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a bleak winter afternoon between the slats of a rickety truck bound for the slaughterhouse. He recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up horse and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry's modest farm on Long Island, the horse thrived. The even-tempered nag was wonderful with Harry's children and made a quiet lesson mount. But the recent Dutch immigrant and his growing family needed money, and Harry was always on the lookout for the perfect Thoroughbred to train for the show-jumping circuit—so he reluctantly sold Snowman to a farm a few miles down the road.
But Snowman had other ideas about what Harry needed. When he turned up back at Harry's barn, dragging an old tire and a broken fence board, Harry knew that he had misjudged the horse. And so he set about teaching this shaggy, easygoing horse how to fly. 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.
Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo, based on the insight and recollections of "the Flying Dutchman" himself—from the de Leyer family's farm in Harry's native Holland, through the horrors of Nazi occupation, to Harry's hope for a new life in America, where his spirit and drive were matched by those of the plow horse he saved from the killer van. Their story captured the heart of Cold War-era America—a story of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all. Elizabeth Letts's message is simple: Never give up, even when the obstacles seem sky-high. There is something extraordinary in all of us.
Hardcover: 329 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Condition: Very Good - dust jacket is a little dirty in some very small spots, pages not yellowed, dog-earred, or torn, strong binding
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