3 Horses That Defied All Odds

Everyone loves a Cinderella story! Today we look at some of our favorite equine success stories. 


In 1956, Harry de Leyer, a Dutch immigrant and riding instructor from Long Island, New York, went to a horse auction. His late arrival, however, meant he missed all the best horses – all that was left were horses being sent to the slaughterhouse. De Leyer spotted a filthy horse that was clearly in bad shape. He liked something in its eyes and offered its owner $80. De Leyer named the horse Snowman and began to use him as a lesson horse.

Snowman grew healthy and happy under de Leyer’s care and was sold to a neighbor for $160. However, the horse could not be contained – he jumped any obstacle to return to the de Leyer farm. Finally, the neighbor simply gave the horse back to the de Leyer family, and the horse’s wildly successful showjumping career began. He was beloved by riders of all ages and skill levels, once winning a leadline class and an open jumper championship in the same day. He became famous for his willingness to work with children and to jump over other horses, appearing on television on the game show “To Tell the Truth” and “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and featured twice in LIFE magazine. Today, the horse has had three books written about him: Snowman, The Story of Snowman the Cinderella Horse, and The Eighty-Dollar Champion, as well as a documentary film. He is today known as the Cinderella horse, narrowly escaping the slaughterhouse to become a champion showjumper.


Snowman jumps over another horse  


Staff Sergeant Reckless

The United States Marine Corps purchased Reckless to be a pack horse for the Recoilless Rifle Platoon, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. The Marines immediately adored her – especially her willingness to eat anything. She loved Coca-Cola, beer and scrambled eggs and once ate $30 worth of poker chips.

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During the Korean War, Reckless served in combat, evacuating the wounded and carrying supplies. Eventually, the Marines discovered that the horse did not require a rider – or human assistance of any kind – to travel a supply route she already knew, so she began to carry supplies by herself. During the Battle for Outpost Vegas in 1953, she made 51 of these unmanned trips to the front lines. Twice wounded in combat, she was given the battlefield rank of corporal, an unusual honor for a horse. Several months after the end of the war, she was promoted again, this time by the Commandment of the Marines Corps, to Staff Sergeant. Among her other many military honors, she earned two Purple Hearts and a Marine Crops Good Conduct Medal. She is on LIFE magazine’s list of America’s 100 all-time heroes and a statue of her stands in the National Museum of Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia.



Faithful, a Chilean Thoroughbred, wasn’t a very good race horse. He was criticized by his riders for his jumpiness and did poorly on the track. The horse ran unsuccessfully for six years until he caught the eye of Gaspar Leuje, a Chilean Army captain. The captain believed Faithful would make a good dressage horse. Training had barely commenced when the horse was injured, forcing the captain to decide whether or not to put him down. Faithful eventually recovered from his injury, but would forever walk with a slight limp, ruining his chances at dressage. Still, his riders saw promise in him and began to show Faithful in jumper classes. The horse jumped beautifully but remained incredibly difficult to control and spooked at even the smallest provocation. One day, he spooked and jumped out of the ring – right over a wall that was over six feet high. As he landed, a passing trainer in the Chilean Army who had watched the jump made up his mind to purchase the horse and train him for the world record of high-jumping.

Faithful was renamed Huaso and trained at the Army Cavalry Academy for two years. First, the horse beat the national record in the high-jump. Next, he beat the South-American record. And on February 5, 1949, on his third attempt, Huaso made the world record, completing a jump over a jump that measured 8 feet and one inch. To this day, no one has jumped higher than the once-unsuccessful racehorse.

By http://arkliai.info/veisles/jojamieji/grynakraujis-jojamasis-anglu-grynakraujis-thoroughbred/, Fair use