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Dutch immigrant, Harry deLeyer, journeyed to the United States after World War II and developed a transformative relationship with a broken down Amish plow horse he rescued off a slaughter truck bound for the glue factory. Harry paid eighty dollars for the horse and named him Snowman. In less than two years, Harry & Snowman went on to win the triple crown of show jumping, beating the nations blue bloods and they became famous and traveled around the world together. Their chance meeting at a Pennsylvania horse auction saved them both and crafted a friendship that lasted a lifetime. Eighty-six year old Harry tells their Cinderella love story firsthand, as he continues to train on today's show jumping circuit. Written by
For the love and companionship between man and horse
"Harry & Snowman" (2015 release; 84 min.) is a documentary about horse rider Harry DeLeyer and his horse Snowman. As the movie opens, we are at "Nederland Farm" and present-day Harry DeLeyer, now well into his 80s, is teaching someone (his granddaughter?) about show jumping, while also telling stories. "Of all the horses I've had, Snowman was the most special". We then go back in time to his early years, growing up in the Netherlands and dealing with WWII at age 13. When he gets the opportunity to move to the US after WWII, he grabs it with both hands. At this time we are 10 min. into the movie.
Couple of comments: this is another documentary from writer-director Ron Davis, founder of Docutainment Films. Here Davis brings us the almost fairy tale-sounding but true story of a guy who immigrated to this country with nothing but the shirt on his back, and turned his love for horses into a career, The big break occurs when at an auction in Pennsylvania, he rescues this white horse for $80 when the horse was about to depart for the meat factory. That horse, Snowman, would become one of the most accomplished show jumping horses ever. But let's be clear: it's about much more than the competition, as impressive as that is: this is about the deep bond, yes love, and companionship between man and horse. It seems as though there wasn't a thing that Snowman wold do for Harry or Harry's family (8 kids). Ah yes, the kids, they are also interviewed extensively and from there we can appreciate the kids' awe for their dad, but also the huge shadow cast by dad's accomplishments. The documentary has an unbelievable amount of footage from the fifties and sixties and that makes the movie also a time machine to that era. Bottom line: this is a fine documentary that flies by in no time.
"Harry & Snowman" has been out for over a year, and this weekend it showed up out of the blue at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The Friday evening screening where I saw this at was attended very nicely, somewhat to my surprise. I also notice a number of kids in the audience, and indeed this is the perfect movie to take kids to, in particular if they love horses. If you have a chance to check it out, be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, just do it. "Harry & Snowman" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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