Faith / Life Lessons

Snowman: A Redemption Story

There once lived a horse named Snowman.  He lived out the first eight years of his life as a farm horse, working the plow.  But then, he was  taken to auction and marked for slaughter.   However, a young Dutch riding instructor named, Harry de Leyer, found Snowman on the trailer, just as he pulled up late to the auction.

Intending to find a horse for his girls, at the prestigious New York Knox School, where he taught riding lessons, he got out to view the only horses left on the transport vehicle headed for the glue factory.  It just so happened, that he made eye contact with a underweight, gray gelding, named Snowman. “I liked his eyes. He looked very quiet, at peace,”  said de Leyer.  The bond was mutual.

Photo:lisa runnels /
CC0 License


He paid $80 dollars for this filthy creature on a winter day in 1956.  He took him home and cleaned him off;   And two years later, Snowman become one of the most famous Show Jumping Horses of all time.  They called him the, “Cinderella Horse”.  It was rags-to-riches story that astonished the elite horse community.     I just recently watched the full documentary on Snowman by filmmaker, Ron Davis.  It is a beautiful narrative about second chances.

Who in this world doesn’t love a story about second chances?   We’ve all needed a second chance, at one time or another.  I believe that stories like these pull at our heart because they lie at the root of our spiritual need for a Savior.  God, is a God of second chances.  Apart from Him we are lost and without hope.  Born into sin, we are separated from a Holy God.    But He made a way for us to be Saved.  He sent Jesus Christ his Son, to die for our sin debt, so that all who believe will be reconciled.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” John 3:16.

Photo:George Hodan

I am reminded of one of the great hero’s of old, who also got a second chance.  King David, after falling into sexual immorality with Bathsheba,  getting her pregnant, and then fearfully trying to cover it all up, by putting her husband to death, was defiantly in need of redemption.  David was a man after God’s own heart and although he sinned grievously, God gave him a second chance.  Rehab, the young Canaanite prostitute, was another recipient of God’s grace.  She helped hide the Israelite spies when they came to Jericho to scout out the town.  Although she was in a wicked city marked for destruction, because of her faith in the God of Israel, not only was her life spared, but she ended up getting married to Salmon, the father of Boaz, and became a  direct descendant of Jesus.

And who doesn’t love the story of Ruth?  A widow who leaves behind everything she knows to follow her Mother-in-Law, Naomi, to Bethlehem, after the death of their husbands. “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” Ruth 1:16.  Ruth and Naomi gleaned grain from a wealthy man’s field in order to survive.  Then, Boaz took notice of Ruth, and practically overnight, this gentile woman was redeemed and became his wife.  Now, that’s a rag’s to riches story if I’ve ever heard one.  It’s also an awesome example of God’s redemption and grace.

Photo:Karen Arnold

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” Hebrews 13:8.  He is our great redeemer.  So what ever your going through right now, there is hope.  Just as Snowman was given a second chance that fateful day in 1956, saved from the slaughter-house only to become a champion.    God also gives us a second chance.  Snowman had a heart for his master;  David had a heart for his God.   “So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word,”  Hebrews 10:22 (The Message).

God is a God of second chances!  Hallelujah!



References:  Harry & Snowman (Documentary Film)