I enjoyed it a lot! I was expecting the horse/equestrian background to be basic, and had in mind the various non horsey relatives i could get to enjoy the book. I also liked the greater sociological context of the book and the atmosphere of the time. Also, i didn't know much about George morris's early career and was thrilled when he made a cameo appearance, and delighted to realize that the horse mentioned in that mini storyline was the same one GM showed us in video clips from his early competition days.
I didn't know about any of Harry deleyer's life (his relationship with his wife was downplayed it sounds, for the sake of the horse rags-to-riches story, but i don't think the book had to be an exhaustive and equally balanced work on Harrys life), but I'm not surprised that people who knew the person during that era found fault in some of it- its a product of being on a level of the 'inside' to be more critical of a story.
I enjoyed the book a lot and want to read more about those days. Is there a good biography/memoir for GM or any of the other big names from that time? (Or any era since then? I'm very clueless on the professional who's-who world, even the modern day olympians...))
I liked it - being a teen horsenut on LI back in the day, it was a stroll down memory lane. My best friend was one of "Harry's boys" - the one who rode his bike about 15 m to work and ride on weekends. Small world, Walter had a jumper in FL and ran into Johnny deL and had him ride the horse.
Yes, there could have been more 'meat' and detail horse-related, but as someone pointed out, it is a book about Harry AND Snowman, and much of Harry's background I was not familiar with.
And I'll put in another vote for Renegade Champion - WONDERFUL story written by son of Fitzrada's lifesaver!
I know who Frank Chapot, George Morris, and Bill Steinkraus are. How do I ot know about Henry de Leyer?
Oh and the reason you have never heard of Harry is that he was a professional. Back then, sport was considered the realm of the wealthy amateur who didn't have to work. Professionals were looked down on and certainly were not allowed to compete in FEI events. So while Harry might have ridden against Bill and Frank in open jumper classes, he was not allowed to ride in any international competitions nor could he participate in the Olympics.
I found that aspect of the story rather hilarious considering that, in eventing at least, it is now completely opposite -- the sport is ruled by the pros and the amateurs are often dismissed and it is the latter who must squeeze in their riding time around the edges of their jobs.