I recently watched a documentary about the Steel Pier in Atlantic City
and there was a short segment about the 'diving horses'.
Image: Getty Images
I'd had never heard of this and found it very odd that anyone would do this for entertainment. Horses were ridden up a steep ramp to a platform 30 to 40 feet in the air. It's claimed that the horses jumped willingly from the platform into the pool of water below. But watching some of the YouTube videos
that I found, it almost looks like the platform drops down. Online information
claims that the horses were never hurt, although the riders, usually young ladies, often were.
Diving horse acts weren't only performed in Atlantic City, but in Miami, Florida and Texas as well. The Atlantic City shows first began in the 1900s and ended in the late 1970s when animal welfare organizations stepped in.
I have some ideas about how the horses were trained to climb the ramp and then jump from the platform, and why they would continue to perform. But I'd be interested in seeing what you think. Some people think this was cruelty, others believed the horses liked what they were doing. What is your opinion? Leave your comments below.