‘Harry and Snowman’ coming to Penn Cinema

By on September 28, 2016

The social media group, Horses of New Holland, in conjunction with Docutainment Studios and Penn Cinema, will bring the film Harry and Snowman to the area for one week, beginning Sept. 30 at Penn Cinema in Lititz.

A private showing for the group will begin with a meet and greet at 6 p.m., followed by a showing at 7 p.m. Oct. 2.

Horses of New Holland was started with the intent to bring public awareness to the plight of horses who pass through the New Holland Sales Stables every Monday. The group, started just several months ago, has already grown to over 10,000 members. Members work together, through social media, to network horses before and after the auction, helping them find good homes with private buyers.

One such buyer passed through New Holland Sales Stables himself in 1956. DeLeyer, a New York riding instructor, attended the auction looking for school horses. He arrived late to find the horses remaining were headed to slaughter. One horse stood out, repeatedly trying to get his attention. DeLeyer took a chance on the grey plow horse, unloaded him from the slaughter truck and took him home to his family.

The horse came to be known as Snowman, and within two years, he began winning prestigious awards, eventually becoming a world champion show jumper and fan favorite, even appearing on late night television. Harry and Snowman have been the subject of two books; Snowman: The True Story of a Champion by Catherine Hapka and Eighty Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation, by Elizabeth Letts. His story began in Lancaster County, and Horses of New Holland hopes to give other horses here the happy ending that Snowman nearly missed.

“People seem to think auction horses are broken down rejects,” says Melissa Harper, founder of Horses of New Holland. “They certainly are not!”

“Stunning, well-trained champions and future champions (like Snowman) are the majority of what is available there each week,” Harper says.

Paula Pryor, owner of Almost Home Horse Transport and a member of Horses of New Holland, recently purchased a Snowman look-a-like through the group. Named after his predecessor, Pryor says she’s pleased with how well Snowman fits in with the family. “After everything he’s been through, he is still trusting and lovable,” Pryor says. “We are so thankful that he’s found his forever home with us.

Not all horses who pass through auctions are so fortunate. While horse slaughter is no longer legal in the United States, approximately 150,000 American horses are trucked over U.S. borders to be slaughtered for human consumption in Mexico and Canada. Many who send their horses to auction may not be aware of the fate that awaits them if groups like Horses of New Holland don’t step in to find homes for slaughter bound horses.

Harper explains that some people are misinformed about the process, and others go the auction route because that is the tradition they know.

“It’s important to understand the complexity of the horse,” Harper stresses. “Some people just don’t understand their level of intelligence; their ability to sense beyond what we can; their genetic makeup and instincts.”

While slaughter is a practical answer for some, Harper, and many others, believe the root of the problem is overbreeding. Despite differences of opinion, Harper insists that Horses of New Holland remains a helpful, kind and encouraging site.

“Negative and speculative comments do not benefit the horses in any way,” says Harper.

The film, Harry and Snowman, is another positive way to learn about the relationship that forms between horse and owner.

The director of the film, Ron Davis, explains that the film is, “A celebration of the bond that can be had between man and animal, and the impact that has on their lives.”

“This story appeals to anyone,” says Davis. “It’s a heartwarming love story that contains something for everybody.”

Harper agrees, “It’s beautifully done, it’s true, and it’s rooted in our local history.”

The movie will play at Penn Cinema, 541 Airport Road, Lititz, from Sept. 30, through Oct. 6. Show times are 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. If tickets sell well, it will open in more theaters throughout the area. For more information and regularly updated show times, go to harryandsnowman.com. To become a member of Horses of New Holland, find it on Facebook at Horses of New Holland.

Beth Myers is a freelance feature writer and occasional contributor to the Record Express.

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