$80 horse that was rescued from a slaughterhouse won the Grand Prix

One of the most heartwarming tales ever told, which went on to become quite well-known in the equestrian community, was about a kind horse trainer named Harry de Leyer and his closest companion named Snowman. Leyer attended an auction in New Holland, Pennsylvania, in the year 1956, in the hopes of purchasing a horse for himself.

In those days, if a horse did not find a buyer, it was taken to a butcher to be killed. Leyer stumbled across a white plow horse who immediately warmed up to him and became his companion. It was instant chemistry between Snowman and Leyer. He acquired the animal for only $80 in total payment. The two of them were connected at a deep level, and in some way, they would be influenced by one another for the rest of their lives.


Harry de Leyer was born in the town of St. Odenrode, which is located in North Brabant. He had nothing with him when he arrived in the United States. Leyer’s one and only savings consisted of the $80 that he donated to save his friend. On the other hand, he was unaware at the time that they would one day become the best in the world.

Leyer spent his childhood on a horse farm, and he took great pleasure in competing in show jumping competitions held in his own country. However, he was unable to continue since he was forced to leave the nation due to circumstances that were beyond his control. In spite of this, when he got Snowman, he discovered that he was able to jump off the paddocks.


After Leyer stepped in to save Snowman in 1956, the horse and rider combination went on to win the Triple Crown in 1958. In addition, Snowman was the first horse to win “Horse of the Year” and the “Professional Horseman’s Association Champion Award” at the American Horse Shows Association in the year 1959.

Soon after, everyone in the country got familiar with him, and he became known as the “Cinderella Horse.” After a wonderful professional jumping career spanning five years, he eventually decided to hang up his spikes. Despite this, he never wavered in his commitment to his human companion during his entire life.

Snowman was not only close to Leyer, but he also maintained strong ties to his family. The “Cinderella Horse,” who had a history of pulling plows, showed great affection for the children of his companion. If his friend requested him to do something, he would comply without question. Leyer and his family received the impression that the gentle horse was aware of the fact that Leyer had saved him. On the other hand, for Leyer, Snowman  was not a horse; rather, he was his lifelong companion and dearest buddy.