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)
Read by Bronson Pinchot and just over ten hours of listening, Snowman is a feel good story about a homely plow horse headed for slaughter that is rescued by a riding lesson teacher, at a cost of eighty dollars, in the late 50s. In a rags to riches true story, Snowman’s gentle, even temperament is his ticket to a life of leisure in an elite girls school in New York state. Hidden in the amazing animal’s skill set is an astounding ability to jump. The United States is in need of a hero, and Snowman fills the bill by winning one horse show after another.
There is considerable superfluous historical information that is not relevant to the story, but I suppose of interest so some. There is a good deal of information regarding the history of the horse in general throughout time, wars, etc. The role played by horses in the creation of the ASPCA is intriguing.
Pinchot’s reading is adequate, pacing and tempo acceptable, but not extraordinary. In my opinion, Elizabeth Letts did a much better job with the tale of Seabiscuit, maybe because that horse had a more interesting story. Her knowledge of horses, training, stables, and all things equine shines throughout.
If you are a horse person, you’ll be enchanted. If you’re not, the story is educational. Worth the listen.
It is not often that I am struck almost speechless by a story or a book but this one stood out. In the writing, one can detect the writer's love of the subject matter. Ms. Letts captured the story of a man, his dreams and his love for a horse that led him down a path no one could have imagined. I will definitely be seeking further works by this talented writer.
The narrator, Bronson Pinchot, was absolutely perfect as the narrator. His inflections and sensitive rendering of the writing was beyond description. At the end, when Snowman is looking towards the Rainbow Bridge, one could detect a bit of a muffled sadness to his voice which I judged as his own......I respect that. He wasn't just reading, he was feeling and was sad himself.
I recommend this book without hesitation. The story is wonderful and the fact it is nonfiction and really happened, adds even more admiration for the piece. One of my most favored books ever.
Actually, it is Jennifer, not Michael. I enjoy a variety of books but am drawn to romantic historical fiction with a Christian message.
This is an interesting and educational true story about a rescued horse that defeats all odds and becomes a champion. I think I learned more about horse jumping than I ever wanted to know. Overall great story. At times, it read like a history book. Inspirational and uplifting. The underdog wins.
Without being simpering or too sugary you hear the amazing story of a remarkable animal and a post WWII Dutch immigrant who knows how to train and love him. The fact that it's a true story is a bonus because you want this to have really happened! Bronson Pinchot does a great job of narration. If you're in the least inclined toward a good animal/human love story GET THIS BOOK!
this book as it all - the American dream & history of the horse in early 20th century
The many other factoids that touch on the story - WWII in Holland, girls schools, baseball, etc.
the scenes with the kids
the $80 champion fits perfectly
I was completely unfamiliar with "Snowman", I loved learning about this wonderful horse.
My favorite moment is when the horse shows his former owner ...."Look ! I am so much more, I can do some much more than you ever could have guessed"
This was a great book to listen to when I was feeling a little discouraged about life. While listening, I went online to lookup everything about "Snowman" and to look for pictures. This would make a great movie, done by the right director. Loved it.
This was an amazing story, I had it listened to in a day and wanted more. Then I looked up Harry Deleyer and Snowman on the internet to see if I could read more about their amazing journey.. Ok and I wanted to see pictures of Snowy and the flying Dutchman. I will recommend this book to any of my friends and more than likely read it again. It is very inspiring and heart warming.
If you need a hero to believe in, here are two: A man and a horse. I spent the hours elated, heartbroken, then elated again. This pair won my heart.
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