This Blog is dedicated to the Noble and Great horses in our lives and throughout history. Visit the land of the unicorns in Behind The Mist, the horse lover's fantasy for pre-teens to adults.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

SNOWMAN-The $80 Champion

 In 1956, a riding instructor by the name of Harry de Leyer from Long Island, New York went to a horse auction in search of a school horse. He was late (Maybe the traffic in New York was terrible at that time, too!) and the only horses remaining were those being loaded on the truck bound for the slaughter house. One horse caught his eye, a skinny, gray, Amish-bred plow horse. He took a chance and bought him for $80.

De Leyer knew horses and horsemanship. He fattened up the gelding, and started using him to teach riding lessons. The horse had been born in 1948, bred by Amish farmers, and was a mix between various breeds including draft horses...making him an original American warm blood! I don't know why he was sent to auction at just the age of eight. However, the horse had tremendous jumping talent that was only discovered by de Leyer after he sold the horse to a neighbor and Snowman kept jumping over fences to get back home.

De Leyer started training him to be a show jumper and started winning prestigious shows just two years after being saved from slaughter. Snowman went on to be the United States Open Jumper Champion in 1958 and 1959. He would jump anything...even another horse:

Snowman had such a wonderful temperament that he even won the leadline class and the open jumper class in the same show. For those who don't know, the leadline class is for children under 7 who show their equitation skills at a walk and a trot while their horse is being led and controlled  by an older child or adult. It is amazing that Snowman was so calm that he could be a leadline horse AND a show jumper. The horse was well-loved by the entire de Leyer family as is evidenced by this picture:
Snowman died in 1974 after having gained the love of those who knew him as well as international fame. He even went on the Johnny Carson show. He has been made into two different styles of Breyer horses and is the subject of a best-selling book and maybe even a movie. He was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 1992.

Monday, April 11, 2016


I am so excited to receive this wonderful review of In The Heart of a Mustang from the editor of Valley Equestrian News out of Minnesota. Other great news is that In the Heart of a Mustang has been selected by the Colorado Authors' League as one of just three finalists for their 2016 Young Adult Book Award! 
Everyone needs loyalty, love, and at times healing.
Lucky is the soul who finds all three
In the Heart of a Mustang.
A synopsis by author M. J. Evans followed by a review by Ley Bouchard, VEN Publisher
A boy is told that his father was a brave and virtuous man, a soldier who traded his life to save the lives of countless others. He was the man that Hunter needed to emulate. The only problem is the whole story is a lie, all of it. The truth, which Hunter discovers as he begins his sophomore year of high school, is that his father has actually spent the boy’s entire life in jail, paying his debt to society, but not mending his ways.
A wild mustang mare is rounded up by the BLM. The spring rains had been sparse, the forage on the plains even more so. The mare and her herd are rescued from certain starvation and placed for adoption. In a sandy corral at Promise Ranch, a home for troubled teenage boys, the boy and the mare meet. A weathered, old cowboy brings them together – a mentor for one, a trainer for the other.
The bond that forms between boy and horse becomes one that saves the lives of both.

Review by Ley Bouchard

      In the Heart of a Mustang, MJ Evans weaves a tale of two souls whose spirits meet and are irrevocably changed! Following the subtle nuances of the relationship, we understand how two animals of different species communicate, learn from one another, and those messages impact the lives of everyone around them.  Horse lovers or even one who has never experienced the love of an animal will find this page-turner unforgettable.
     I found In the Heart of the Mustang educational,  touching, poignant; I experienced complete verisimilitude, often wondering if it is a work of non-fiction.
     There are many lessons to be learned in reading In the Heart of a Mustang and each reader will apply their own significance to each one. I most enjoyed seeing through the eyes of the young protagonist, Hunter, how both characters, a wild mustang and a young boy, are able to interact and learn vitally important life lessons, by spending time together.
     The story of a boy and a horse may be geared to a young reader but is definitely a book for all audiences, horse lovers or not.  I found the reading sagacious, clever, and informing.
     I believe In the Heart of a Mustang to be a very important book.  Many people may wonder how places like Promise Ranch or Dakota Boys Ranch benefit people or youth. And it’s a hard thing to explain how working with a horse can be therapeutic. The reader will know and understand this concept upon completion of this fine book by M.J. Evans.
In the Heart of a Mustang may be found at or it is available wherever books are sold.