Controversial diving horses plans scrapped after outcry

  • Plans to bring back a controversial show that involves horses diving off a 40ft platform in America have been scrapped after public outcry.

    Earlier this month the owners of Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey announced they intended to bring back the diving horses show. But the idea was strongly opposed by welfare groups and the public.

    More than 10,000 signatures were added to a petition against the show in just one day.

    Steel Pier owner Anthony Catanoso told The Associated Press: “We felt that since Atlantic City is moving forward, we should move forward with it. We should create new memories for visitors instead of recreating old ones”.

    Humane Society of the United States president Wayne Pacelle added: “This is a merciful end to a colossally stupid idea. We are pleased so many citizens spoke up and urged that this spectacle never get off the ground. Horse diving has the potential to frighten and injure and kill horses, and it rightly belongs in Atlantic City’s history books.”

    The shows were popular in the early 20th century, where horses would “dive” around 40ft off a platform.

    The act began in the 1920s created by Dr W F Carver. Dr Carver had been returning home on horseback some years earlier when a bridge he was crossing collapsed. Both him and his horse plunged 40ft into a raging river. His horse dived and both swam to shore safely. Then Dr Carver wondered if horses could be trained to dive.

    There was a failed attempt to bring back the show in the 1990s for similar reasons.

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