Snowman was originally used only for farm work and in 1956 was headed for the slaughterhouse at seven years of age. On that day Harry DeLeyer, a Long Island, New York riding instructor, attended a Pennsylvania horse auction looking for school horses. He arrived late and the only remaining horses were the "rejects" being loaded into trucks. Harry DeLeyer found a large old gray horse that he purchased for $80. He first used Snowman as a lesson horse for children. DeLeyer recognized talent in the horse after selling him to a neighbor and having the horse jump fences at any height to get back "home." He then began training him as a show jumper.
Snowman won prestigious classes only two years after he had been bought off the slaughter truck. His career lasted five years. He willingly jumped over other horses , and his calm disposition made him a favorite: he once won a leadline class and an open jumper championship the same day.
Snowman also appeared on television shows (Johnny Carson's for one, where Carson climbed on his back), was the subject of two books, had his own fan club, and was even flown abroad for "guest appearances."
Harry DeLeyer kept Snowman through his retirement until his peaceful death at the age of twenty.
Snowman is the subject of an upcoming book, "The Cinderella Horse," by Elizabeth Letts, to be published by Random House in 2011.
- Palazzo, Tony The Story of Snowman the Cinderella Horse (1962) Duell, Sloan and Pearce ASIN B0007EK9UK
- Montgomery, Rutherford G. Snowman (1967) Meredith Press ASIN B000GQG8VI