The story of Snowman and Harry De Leyer to be shown on the big screen.
Some stories are destined to live long in the memory, profound stories of rare beauty and meaning that go right to the heart of the listener or viewer.
Just like the story of Snowman, a plow horse that became a legend.
It all started in the second half of the 1950s, when after 8 years as a plow horse, his owner decided to replace the grey horse with a younger one and send Snowman to the local slaughterhouse.
Along with other horses, Snowman was the subject of bids at auction. Visibly exhausted after all the years of hard labour, the horse was one of the last to be sold.
Snowman was spotted that day by Harry De Leyer, an equine instructor from New York and on the look-out for a new horse for his school. Harry decided to give the horse a chance and with a bid of 80 dollars became the new owner. The grey horse was brought home on a snowy day and so his children named the horse Snowman.
Snowman turned out to be an exceptional horse, happy to accept all of the attention that before it could only dream of receiving and was extremely patient with the children, an exemplary horse.
The horse’s reputation began to grow, so much so that Harry De Leyer’s neighbor offered him 160 dollars for Snowman. The offer was accepted, but Snowman was unhappy at his new home and everyday jumped over the fence to go back to his benefactor.
Snowman was quickly handed back to Harry De Leyer, sold for the same price, and with a new dream in mind: it didn’t escape his attentions with how well Snowman leapt over that fence and with that in mind, he began preparations for show-jumping.
In 1958 the horse was ready and took part in its first competition. Initially there was a lot of skepticism surrounding the horse and many opponents nicknamed Snowman the “horse with fleas” due to its agrarian past, but things soon changed when Snowman won. It marked the start of a career always on the up, winning competition after competition and reigning supreme.
There was even a new bid of 100.000 dollars, but this time Harry De Leyer turned it down. After just 2 years, and following several big wins, Snowman was awarded the title of horse of the year in 1959 and was named in the show-jumping Hall of Fame.
Snowman was retired after a glorious 5 year career but remained under the watch of Harry De Leyer. At 26, and due to a kidney failure, Snowman had to be put down. Snowman’s story has since inspired the book: “The Eighty Dollar Champion“ by Elizabeth Letts, named in the New York Times best-seller list and that will soon become a film. The rights have been purchased by MGM Film and John Gatins has been selected as director. What is more a documentary is also being made: Harry & Snowman.
It’s not the first time that an equine story has inspired a film and “The Eighty Dollar Champion“ also brings to mind the story of Seabiscuit, which also inspired a film, and which starred Tobey McGuire. It was nominated in 2004 for the best film at the Oscars.
source: hollywoodreporter.com – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/Equestrian World/mgm-acquires-bestselling-book-eighty-671845