So, file this one under "WHY"? Yeah, pretty much I don't like most people. I don't really get why anyone really would. Take, diving horses, for example. This is just an reason to hate people in itself. I mean, these are two words that probably shouldn't even go together: diving and horse. Yeah, because when I think diving, I totally associate a horse with being great at it. Exactly.
So, anywho, in the late 1800s a man by the name of Doc Carver (a former partner of Buffalo Bill Cody) was putting on shooting exhibitions in the tradition of a real Wild West show. Yet, you know, shooting just wasn't enough. And by the mid-1880s he had added diving horses. It was a huge crowd favorite. He claimed that he had gotten the idea from a personal experience in which he was crossing a bridge that started to collapse (as he was on it) and the horse he was riding had to leap into the water below to escape. I don't know. Maybe that happened. I'm skeptical, but who really cares? He got the idea to make horses jump from platforms into tanks of water. And people loved it.
But get this. It wasn't simply making horses jump into the tanks of water. Oh no. They had riders. And of course people ate it up. Humans are pathetically savage. More than any other creature. I mean, it would take so little for us to devolve into getting high on daily gladiator fights, dog-fighting, cock-fighting, horse-fighting (oh, yes....it is a thing and it will be brought to you), etc... We love cruelty and bloodshed. Look, I get that nature is cruel and dangerous and all, but I don't know.... People should be able to refrain from forcing animals (and other people) to engage in weird and cruel acts just for entertainment. But I also want to punch hald the population for my own personal enjoyment, so let's call it equal...
Anyway, so people paid good money to come and view riders on horseback plunging about 40 feet off of a ramp into a tank of water. And shockingly (yeah, I'm truly shocked) on February 17, 1907, 18-year-old Oscar Smith was doing his typical diving horse routine and died in the act. The horse was okay. And, by the way, anyone appalled at the state of media nowadays that sells papers and advertising through taking advantage of personal tragedy....yeah, well, that photo was on page one and the paper sold out all over Texas. The paper bragged that it had scored a major coup. People haven't changed so much. And the horse-diving act kept going (even days after the accident).
I couldn't find information on any horses getting hurt in the act. And often, that was the whole conceit for people defending it. Well, I view that as being really super that no horses were hurt and incredibly lucky, but not as a reason to continue doing it. I mean, on what planet should horses be jumping into tanks of water?! There is footage of the act on youtube that I'll post and it's amazing, really. But the whole time I was thinking: why the hell do animals let us touch them....ever? Because we really suck at taking care of them. It's a testament to how forgiving and adaptable they are, in my opinion.
But, hey! Guess who made a movie out of diving horses?! That's right - Disney!! In 1924, a young woman by the name of Sonora Webster joined Carver's show as a horse diver/jumper/rider person. Lots of young girls did this act. I don't know why. She eventually married Carver's son and the show settled at Atlantic City's Steel Pier. She continued to do the act and one day in 1931, something went wrong and though she survived the fall (as did the horse), she was blinded (detached retinas caused by the impact). For some ungodly reason, she continued to do the diving act after she recuperated. Luckily for Disney, of course. Sonora wrote a book which was adapted by them into a movie in 1991. The film was called (get this): "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken." How touching. How heartbreaking. How moving. These horses and this girl were so brave for America and the world.
In the 1970s the act was shut down by animal-rights groups. Finally. And in case you were wondering, most of the horses who outlived their diving days were typically sent to slaughter. Yeah, after they spent their lives leaping into the air to land in a giant pool of water, we showed our gratitude for their blind loyalty by slaughtering them. Luckily the very last two diving horses were saved by the Fund for Animals and allowed to live out their days on a nice sanctuary. That's about the only bright spot in this story.