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News Update: Down with Diving Horses

As many of you probably heard, the owner of the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, N.J. recently announced that the old diving horse act (you know, the one from Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken) was going to be revived this summer. In the show, which was popular in the early 20th century, horses went up a ramp to a 40-foot platform where, in most cases, they picked up a rider, and then the pair would dive together into the pool below.

It seems unsafe, possibly cruel, and if nothing else, straight up weird. Not surprisingly, there was plenty of backlash after the plan to revive the old-timey sideshow was announced. Also not surprisingly, the Steel Pier’s owners have changed their minds about the bringing it back, according to an article in the Washington Post.

That’s right, no diving horses in 2012.

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

So it was progressive ideas in entertainment and not outrage from concerned citizens that made them drop the plan. Riiiiight. Well, whatever the catalyst for the change of heart, I applaud the decision. Supposedly no horse was ever hurt during the act’s long run, but I’m not sure if I trust the animal-welfare record keeping of the 1930s to give a super accurate picture of how well those animals fared back in the day. It’s a relic of the past that should stay in the past. Thankfully, now it will.

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