November 1958, New York. Into the rarefied atmosphere of wealth and tradition at the National Horse Show in Madison Square Garden comes 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. 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.
Reminiscent of the inspiring, against-the-odds success story that made Seabiscuit a best seller, The Eighty-Dollar Champion tells of the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo, based on the insight and recollections of the “Flying Dutchman” himself. 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.
©2011 Elizabeth Letts (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“This is a wonderful book—joyous, heartfelt, and an eloquent reminder that hope can be found in the unlikeliest of places.” (Gwen Cooper, New York Times best-selling author)
I'm just a book lover!
I love this kind of 'rags to riches' saga, especially with animals. Since this is an audio book and there are no pictures , as I am sure the book actually has some, I eventually got curious of the mentioned events and looked them up online. I was delighted to see that there is a documentary film coming out this month regarding Harry and Snowman. This was a great book, and an excellent performance by Bronson Pinchot, however I felt that at times, the author did more romancing of the events and was a bit wordy in parts. Overall, it was money well spent.
Wonderful account of the mysterious bond between human and horse. I wish everyone could know this story. Hats off to Harry and Snowman. You
Written & read in a wonderfully touching manner . About relationships and values that are at the core of our essence. It is also fonder for a great movie that would rival "sea Biscuit "
This has to be one of the top ten books I've read. It is an awesome story of humanity, connectedness and kindness, which has an unbelievable story line, and it's a true story! I doesn't get better than this-
Snowman and his owner are the main characters and they are both impressive, trusting, and awe inspiring characters.
My reaction to this story was a renewed love for the equine spirit and for the connectedness between a horse and its "in tune" and sensitive owner; such a gift of partnership and unconditional love.
Just read this story, you won't be sorry!
I found the story of Harry, the Flying Dutchman, and Snowman, his Cinderella horse, to be moving and inspiring. I think the tale would make a good movie along the lines of War Horse. Unfortunately, I have to agree with some previous reviewers who pointed out that there is far too much redundant description and explanation padding this book. For example, the author would introduce a subject like the historical connection between the rich and entitled and the sport of horse jumping, then would rehash the same theme repeatedly over the course of the book. We get it. Horse jumping was a sport dominated by the snooty rich. Once the author got around to describing action, the story became fascinating. The problem is that the momentum was never sustained. More redundant verbiage would inevitably interrupt the flow. I was forced to skip ahead repeatedly, struggling not to miss important facts along the way. Disappointing, because this is a remarkable true tale. Another disappointment was the epilogue, which dangled hints of Harry's life after Snowman but gave few details. The narration by Bronson Pinchot was decent. He has a pleasant voice and gave a good performance. Sometimes his narration seemed to drag, but that probably was the effect of the material he had to read. Overall, I'm glad I listened to most of the book and managed to reach the end. I hope to never forget the message that Harry and Snowman epitomized. There is something special hidden in each of us. We should never give up trying to reach our potential.
I really enjoyed this book. The story was great with just the right amount of information for the the non horse person but, not boring for the devoted horse person. Great, feel good story.
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