The Diving Horses of Atlantic City

Diving Horses were an attraction that was popular in the mid 1880s, in which a horse would dive into a pool of water, sometimes from as high as 60 feet. William “Doc” Carver “invented” the idea of horse diving exhibitions.

Allegedly, in 1881 Carver was crossing a bridge over Platte River (Nebraska) which partially collapsed. His horse fell/dived into the waters below, inspiring Carver to develop the diving horse act. Carver trained various animals and went on tour. His partner, Al Floyd Carver constructed the ramp and tower and his rider Lorena Carver was the first rider. Sonora Webster joined the show in 1924. She later married Al Floyd Carver.

The show became a permanent fixture at Atlantic City’s very popular venue, Steel Pier. There, Sonora, Al and Lorena continued the show following his death. In 1931, Sonora and her horse “Red Lips” lost their balance on the platform. Sonora survived the fall, but was blinded (caused by detached retinas in both eyes).

Via: TheOddmentEmporium

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