My Blue-Ribbon Horse: The True Story of the Eighty-Dollar Champion

My Blue-Ribbon Horse: The True Story of the Eighty-Dollar Champion
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
4+
Release Date
May 03, 2022
ISBN
978-0593173855
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November 1958: the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Into the rarefied atmosphere of wealth and tradition comes the most unlikely of horses—a drab white former plow horse named Snowman—and his rider, Harry de Leyer. They were the longest of all longshots—and their win was the stuff of legend.
 
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.
 
Here is 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.

Editor review

1 review
Inspiring Story About A Horse Whose Age Doesn't Show
Overall rating
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Learning Value
 
5.0
Harry de Leyer pulls up to a horse sale with all intentions to buy a horse, but he's a bit too late. All the good horses are gone and the only one left is an older one heading to the slaughterhouse. Not wanting to let it follow that path, Harry offers eighty dollars for it and the seller accepts without hesitation. When he brings the elderly horse home, his daughter thinks of the name Snowball. It sticks and soon Snowball becomes part of the family. As the days pass, Harry realizes that Snowball won't jump over low poles, but he hits the high ones every time. Deciding to test his luck, he trains Snowball and enters him into a contest. Snowball earns a trophy and a ribbon to everyone's surprise. He continues this for years and it was an eighty dollars well spent.

MY BLUE-RIBBON HORSE teaches that a horse's skill isn't defined by its age. This lesson can also transfer to people. To not take those around you for granted just because of their age. Snowball is an inspirational legend and I love how he goes on to win more and more trophies. Buyers come by wanting him, but Harry turns every offer down. Snowball isn't just a champion. He's a member of their family. Another added bonus is the Author's Note in the back of the book that offers more information on the true story of an eighty dollar horse who went on to become a legend. I also love how it addresses that he passed away peacefully, grazing in the pasture. A horse bound for the slaughterhouse stomped on every prejudice that came his way.


Final Verdict: I would recommend this to children who love history and horses. It's inspirational and thought-provoking with beautiful illustrations to go along with the powerful message.
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