Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Snowman: The Eighty-Dollar Champion

I've always loved horses. Long before I owned a horse, I loved horse books. When I was in elementary school, I read  most of C.W. Anderson's books. When I was 12, I read most of  Walter Farley's books. As an adult, I still love horse books. The latest one I read is The Eight-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation. It's a true story, published in 2012.

About the time I was reading Walter Farley books, Harry de Leyer bought an $80 horse from a dealer trucking horses to a slaughterhouse. Harry had intended to get to the New Holland sale to purchase a school horse prospect for his modest horse business, but a flat tire delayed him. By the time he reached the sale, all the horses had been. He looked between the slats of the killer's truck, and an ex-plow horse looked back. Harry bought him. By the time the horse was delivered to his farm, snow was falling heavily. When the horse was unloaded, his matted hair was quickly covered in snow, and the de Leyer children thought he looked like a snowman. That's how he got his name. Nt onlywsSnowman a great pet for the de Leyer children, he was also an excellent school horse and eventually a champion jumper. You can read more about Harry and his horse at the "Harry and Snowman" website.

Both horse people and non-horse people will enjoy this story about triumph over adversity. Although there were some repetitive parts and the author sometimes interrupted the flow of the narrative to explain things to non-horsey readers, I enjoyed the  book and could hardly put it down. The Eighty Dollar Champion had two themes I love to find in books: (1) It was about how one twist of fate can change a person's life (and the lives of his family) and (2) how a horse can impact a person's life.

In fact, I used those themes 15 years ago when I wrote Patches on the Sam Quilt—a novel in which boy's wish for a horse comes true by pure chance, and it changes his life and that of his family for generations. But I'm digressing.

The story of Snowman's remarkable life is being made into a movie. There's a YouTube video that previews this upcoming documentary:

I can't wait to see it.

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Blogger CountryDew said...

I used to read the Black Beauty books when I was young, and when my parents had horses they bought me a book called "Susan and Jane Learn to Ride." Unfortunately the riding part did not take, though the reading certainly did.

Good review!

2:43 PM  
Blogger Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Ooh, I can't wait to see that movie! The story sounds wonderful. I also love those themes.

5:18 PM  

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