The Eighty-Dollar Champion

By Elizabeth Letts,

Book cover of The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation

Book description

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The dramatic and inspiring story of a man and his horse, an unlikely duo whose rise to stardom in the sport of show jumping captivated the nation  

Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a truck bound for the…

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Why read it?

5 authors picked The Eighty-Dollar Champion as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is an unlikely story, yet it is also a true one. Harry de Leyer, a Dutch immigrant, saved a horse named Snowman from the slaughterhouse. Harry trained Snowman to become a show-jumping champion. This is a story about an incredible long shot and about a man who believed in his horse. What’s not to love?

I am a third-generation horsewoman, and I grew up hearing stories about the “great horses.” I remember my mother sharing the tale of Snowman and Harry de Leyer with me. For the most part, equestrian stars are incredibly expensive, pedigreed animals. Snowman, in contrast,…

From Caroline's list on animals and their people connection.

I’m breaking the rules by recommending two books by the same author, but I just had to. These are the two ultimate nonfiction books for horse lovers, though you really don’t need to be a horse person to love this book. Guy buys an old plow horse off the kill wagon and the horse goes on the win the national championship in jumping two years in a row. Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Plus his whole family really loves the horse. There are pictures of his many children all lined up on the horse’s back. This is one…

From Catherine Ryan's list on animals by people who actually understand them.

This is the story of a not-so-pretty, headed-for-the-slaughterhouse horse who became a champion show jumper while the world was in the depths of the Great Depression. Purchased on a whim by an immigrant Dutch farmer, the horse showed astonishing talent as a jumper, and together Snowman (the name his children give their new family pet) and the Dutchman win trophy after trophy in show venues throughout the Eastern Seaboard. Snowman loved to sail over jumps, the higher the better, but he was so much more than his remarkable talent. His heart was as big as his stride. In 1958, when…

Snowman is an equine Cinderella Story, and who doesn’t love that? It’s the well-known tale of a savvy horseman who spotted a horse on a truck bound for slaughter and bought him, then turned the horse into an internationally famous show jumper. The story of the bond between the owner, Harry de Leyer, and this amazing horse is inspiring not only to horse lovers, but their relationship also captured the imagination of Cold War-era America. The author does infuse a lot of the history of the time into the book, which may not be every reader’s cup of tea, but…

From L. R.'s list on to satisfy your horse story cravings.

This is an incredible and true rags-to-riches story about a horse who was on his way to a New York slaughterhouse when a Dutch immigrant named Harry de Leyer saw something special in him. Paying $80 for the gray plowhorse, de Leyer named him Snowman and taught him to jump. The rest is Show Jumping history.

From Audrey's list on remarkable horses.

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