Harry & Snowman at the Strand
In Holland, during World War II, Harry de Leyer spent his youth helping his father, who worked for the resistance, hide and deliver Jews out of Nazi-occupied Holland.
After the war ended, Harry was sponsored by an American family whose son was killed during the war, and who was buried on the deLeyer farm. This enabled him to bring his wife to America in 1950. He became a riding instructor at an expensive girls boarding school. He had a one-year contract, but the school kept him on for 22 years.
In 1956 he planned to attend a horse auction, hoping to find an inexpensive horse for his growing family, one he might be able to use at the school. A flat tire kept him from reaching the auction on time; when he got there, the only horses that were left were on a truck headed for the glue factory. But he saw something in one of the horses, a mottled Amish plow horse, that appealed to him. He bought the horse for $80 and named him Snowman.
Before Harry bought the horse, he has arranged to sell his next horse to a doctor who lived 6 miles away. Apparently the horse, now called Snowman, did not agree to the sale. Shortly after he was taken to the doctors farm, he showed up at Harrys home. when the doctor came to reclaim his horse, he told Harry that Snowman had jumped a fence to return. Harry told him to build higher fences.
Higher fences didnt help. Wherever the doctor put the horse, however high the fence, Snowman would jump out of his paddock and return to Harry. Eventually, the two men recognized that the horse had made up his mind he belonged to Harry.
Harry also realized that the horse was a talented jumper. Within two years, Snowman, the ten-year-old plow horse, had won the show jumping triple crown, becoming the American Horse Show Associations Horse of the Year, Professional Horsemans Association champion and the champion of Madison Square Gardens Diamond Jubilee.
Neither Harry nor Snowman fit the world they entered and conquered, but together they dominated the sport for several years.
Snowman would retire from show jumping in 1962, but not before becoming a national celebrity. He appeared on television shows, had a fan club and a line of toys designed to look like him.
He would spend the rest of his life as a beloved friend to deLeyer and his family. Family films show the eight deLeyer children using Harrys back as a diving platform as the happy horse swam with his family.
Although Snowman would die in 1974, Harry would continue as a trainer and show jumper for years. He would acquire the nickname The Galloping Grandfather.
The award-winning documentary Harry & Snowman tells the improbable story of this unlikely pair.
Strand Theatre (Vicksburg, Mississippi) (View)
717 Clay Street
Vicksburg, MS 39183
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|