The Eighty Dollar Champion ~ Elizabeth Letts

"Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a truck bound for the slaughterhouse. The recent Dutch immigrant recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up nag and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, he ultimately taught Snowman how to fly. Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo. One show at a time, against extraordinary odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, the pair climbed to the very top of the sport of show jumping. Their story captured the heart of Cold War–era America—a story of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all. They were the longest of all longshots—and their win was the stuff of legends." ~Amazon Description

Brittney Joy's Review ~ "The horse vans parked along Seventh Avenue came loaded up with dreams." The first line of The Eighty Dollar Champion gave me goose-bumps and it also did a great job of setting the story’s tone - that big dreams can come true, with hard work and a little good luck.

The Eighty Dollar Champion is a heartfelt story of two underdogs with an undeniable connection: Harry, the Dutch immigrant horse trainer struggling to make ends meat for his young family, and Snowman, the ex-plow horse headed for the slaughter house - before Harry laid eyes on him. Even through the open slots of the packed stock trailer, Harry recognized the horse’s kind eye and strong body and, when Harry brought Snowman home to his family, he hoped to nurse the gelding back to health and add him to his small string of lesson horses. Snowman was intended to teach small children how to ride (which he willingly did), but Harry had no idea of the impact "Snowy" would eventually have on him, his family, and even the hopes of the Nation.

This is a touching story, particularly because it is true. While sometimes the author went into too much detail on the history surrounding the story (I was much more interested in Snowman's story rather than the details of the industrial revolution), the core of the story touched my heart. Plus, a bonus of the book is that the author includes many black and white pictures of the real Snowman and Harry. All and all, a great read for any horse lover and I cannot wait for the movie to come out next year!