Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Movie is the documentary “Harry & Snowman”:
We know who Seabiscuit was. We know who Secretariat was. We know who Trigger was. One horse that captured the imagination of the American public in the 1950s has almost been forgotten. Now director Ron Davis has reminded us of one of the greatest horses of the twentieth century, Snowman, with his documentary.
The documentary begins with a voice-over by Snowman’s owner, a man with a Dutch accent. “My name is Harry DeLeyer and I’ve spent my whole life with horses. I connect with them and they connect with me…I still love to be in the morning with my horses. I got many wonderful horses in my life. But Snowman was the most wonderful to me.”
Harry saved Snowman from the slaughterhouse. When Harry looked the horse in the eye and the horse looked Harry in the eye, there was a connection between the two that would last for the rest of the horse’s life. Harry paid $80 for a white English plow horse. The horse was filthy with only one shoe and a mark on his neck from pulling a plow.
The documentary is an American story. With hard work, commitment and talent, anything is possible. In 1958, a twelve-year-old plow horse beat the best show jumpers in the United States. By the end of the season, he won the triple crown of show jumping: the National Championship at Madison Square Garden and the year-end Jumper Championship Award, and and was named the Horse of the Year.
Harry was offered $100.000 for the horse he paid $80 for. He never sold. Snowman was too much a part of his family. At the end of his career, Snowman, “The Cinderella Horse”, took his final appearance at Madison Square Garden as one of the greatest snow jumpers of all time. He received a standing ovation.
This documentary reminds us that we never know when greatness will show its face. So let’s celebrate second chances. Just think of some of the great Second Chancers: Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Colonel Sanders, Grandma Moses. And Snowman.