Harry deLeyer, rider of the great showjumper Snowman, is to be honored at the Alltech National Horse Show in Lexington, Kentucky, later this month.
The Long Island riding instructor found the miracle horse who launched his riding career on a Pennsylvania Horse Auction block in 1957. Arriving late, Harry was left with only the rejects of the auction that were already boarded on a truck for the meat and glue factory, but he laid eyes on a large white, former Amish plow horse who he bought for $80.
De Leyer named him Snowman and used him as a lesson horse for children at his barn. De Leyer sold the horse to a neighbor, but recognized jumping talent and potential in Snomwan as he cleared every obstacle to jump his way “home” to the de Leyer farm six miles down the road – and so began his show jumping career.
He won prestigious classes only two years after being saved from the slaughter truck, and his career lasted five years. He was well known for his calm disposition and willingness in the show ring.
DeLeyer will be present at the six-day Alltech National Horse Show from October 29 to November 2, and will take time to chat with tour groups, including groups from local equestrian programs, schools and Future Farmers of America. He will also be available for autographs at a designated time during the show.
Known affectionately as “the Galloping Grandfather,” deLeyer will also be honored prior to the start of the Alltech $250,000 Grand Prix on Saturday evening.
Snowman and deLeyer’s “Cinderella story” has been immortalized in countless articles and the acclaimed book, The Eighty-Dollar Champion, and now a movie on DeLeyer’s life is in the works.
DeLeyer and the grey gelding claimed their spot in the history books when Snowman was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 1992, so on the afternoon of Saturday, November 2, deLeyer will present the awards to the winners of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur Grand Prix.
On the Friday afternoon of the show, deLeyer will be present at the show’s cocktail reception, to be held at the USHJA building as part of The Kentucky Experience, which gives participants an exciting behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Alltech National Horse Show and the equestrian-rich area surrounding the Kentucky Horse Park.