Man Saves Horse From Grim End, Then Uncovers Its Potential And Makes History

When Harry de Leyer turned up at a horse auction later than planned, there wasn’t much choice left. All that remained were the animals set for the slaughterhouse. As he scanned the line-up, though, a beautiful gray horse caught his eye. De Leyer wasted no time putting the money down for him. But no one could’ve predicted what would happen next.

Meeting de Leyer

If ever there was a true story fit for the big screen, it’s this one. It’s pretty amazing! Henricus de Leyer, better known as Harry, was welcomed into the world back in 1927. He spent his formative years in the Netherlands’ town of Sint-Oedenrode, and soon became the older brother to 11 siblings. Talk about a crowded household.

The horse connection

As time went on, de Leyer took on the responsibility of helping his folks at their farm. Yet this wasn’t just any old ranch — horses were its primary focus. So, the young man got a good feel for the animals at a fairly early age. Then, after becoming more comfortable around them, he decided to try his hand at show jumping.


De Leyer was forming an undeniable bond with the animals that only grew as he got older. The guy loved horses! But sadly, everything changed as the 1930s came to a close. At that point, World War II erupted in Europe, and it didn’t take long until the Netherlands was occupied by Germany. The invasion began in May 1940.

Stepping up

The Germans remained in control for the next five years, in what was a truly nightmarish period in Dutch history. De Leyer’s will didn’t break, though. In fact, he decided to step up in a major way while the horrors of the occupation devastated his homeland. Yep, despite his relatively young age, the Sint-Oedenrode resident joined the resistance movement.