Snowman (horse)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sex Gelding
Foaled 1948
Country USA
Color gray
Owner Harry de Leyer
United States Open Jumper Champion 1958 and 1959

Snowman (1948–1974), was a former plow horse, purchased on his way to the "meat market," who became a champion in show jumping in the United States during the 1950s. He was known as "The Cinderella Horse."[1]

Snowman originally was used for farm work and in 1956 was headed for the slaughterhouse at eight years of age. On that day, Harry de Leyer, a Long Island, New York, riding instructor, attended a horse auction looking for school horses. He arrived late, and the only remaining horses were those waiting to be loaded into trucks bound for slaughter plants. De Leyer made eye contact with a large gray horse that he purchased for $80. He first used Snowman as a lesson horse for children. De Leyer recognized talent in the horse after he sold him to a neighbor and the horse jumped high fences to return "home." De Leyer then began training Snowman as a show jumper.

The horse began winning prestigious classes only two years after he was bought off the slaughter truck and his career lasted five years. He willingly jumped over other horses,[2] and his calm disposition made him a favorite: he once won a leadline class and an open jumper championship on the same day.

Snowman also appeared on television shows (Johnny Carson's for one, where Carson climbed on his back). He was the subject of two books, had his own fan club, and was flown abroad for "guest appearances."

De Leyer kept Snowman through his retirement until his humane euthanasia due to complications from kidney failure at the age of twenty-six.

Snowman was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 1992. In 2005, Snowman has been made into a Breyer horse model on the Gem Twist mold, which is no longer manufactured. In 2013, Snowman was again introduced in the Breyer line on the Idocus mold. The 2013 model box reads "Snowman- Show Jumping Hall of Famer".

Snowman is the subject of the book, Eighty Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation, by Elizabeth Letts, published by Random House in 2011, a No. 1 New York Times bestseller which has been optioned by MGM Studios for development as a feature film.[3][4]


  1. ^ "Snowman". Find a Grave. Retrieved 9 May 2016. 
  2. ^ [1] Archived June 11, 2004, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Taylor, Ihsan. "Best Sellers - The New York Times". Retrieved 2016-02-07. 
  4. ^ Hayden, Erik (2014-01-21). "MGM Acquires Best-Selling Book 'Eighty-Dollar Champion' (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-02-07. 


External links[edit]