“Throw your heart over the top and your horse will follow.” This was the advice of Harry deLeyer to his students. When he threw his own heart over the top with his horse Snowman the results were astounding.
Harry deLeyer was a Dutch immigrant who came to the US after World War II. He started a riding school and on a day that would change his life he went to a horse auction looking for an inexpensive horse. He was late getting to the auction and the horses that had not been sold were already on the trailer to be taken to the slaughter house. Harry asked them to wait and he looked into the trailer. A grey horse looked back at him . Their eyes locked. Harry bought the horse for $80.
This $80 dollar Amish plow horse went on to make history. He started as a school horse at deLeyer’s riding school. He was popular with all the student and with deLeyer’s family as well.
But two years later Harry had found Snowman’s talent. He could jump the moon! Harry and Snowman went on to win the triple crown of showjumping and Snowman was valued into the hundreds of thousands. In the documentary film “Harry and Snowman” the now 86 year old Harry tells the story of their success. Harry still rides and teaches young show jumpers. Snowman is no longer with him but the memory still lives on.
This is a heartwarming documentary film with plenty of film footage of Harry and Snowman and their triumphs. It is also realistic as there is no question that Harry is a driven personality and his children, some of whom are interviewed in the film, knew they came a distant second to the horses and to Harry’s career.
This is a classic story of an underdog, a David victorious over Goliath. This story flies in the face of conventional wisdom that says it would be impossible for an Amish plow horse to beat all the expensive and highly bred jumpers of the time. Snowman jumped for Harry. He gave it his all and astonished the world doing it.
I have been waiting to see this film since it came out in the fall of 2016 but it did not come to any of the big cinemas . I finally got to see it at the Lyric Theatre in Stuart Florida. It was screened as a fundraiser for the Equine Rescue and Adoption Program. This horse rescue is located just near where I am stabling my horse Biasini this winter season. It is a lovely facility and they have 25 horses ranging from minis to full sized horses. They rehabilitate horses and hope to find homes for them, many of them as riding horses.
What a great way to see the Film “Harry and Snowman” and be supporting a horse rescue at the same time! It was also a terrific audience as they clapped and cheered for all of Snowman’s victories. It is a very good documentary film and it was a wonderful evening to be supporting the rescue of horses. Perhaps there is a Snowman among the horses waiting to be rescued!