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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By eddie on 01-18-12
When will this story become a movie
Even if you know nothing about horse jumping you will enjoy this book. Elizabeth Letts pays a lot of attention to details and lets the reader feel they are part of the story. She gives the background and nuance so we can appreciate the struggles and triumphs of a champion. I would have like to know this horse, what a wonderful story.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful
By Mary on 03-24-12
I am a sucker for happy horse stories
I grew up riding horses and show jumping. The author did a wonderful job of capturing all things true of the sport, while also telling a heartwarming, non fiction story of a horse and rider who beat the odds. The story is so amazing it is almost unbelievable! I also appreciated the extra historical information interspersed throughout the book that was secondary to the main story. The narrator did a fantastic job. I highly recommend this refreshing listen to those that love animals and the underdog.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful