Horse Diving- a blast from the past?

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**UPDATE!!! Steel Pier has since backed out of their proposed idea… The horses are safe, for now! Thank every one of you that called and signed the petition.  **

For my HORSE-loving friends…. Atlantic City wants to bring back “high-diving horse” 

acts to its Steel Pier. These acts haven’t been around since the 1970s — and for good reason, as they involve horses and riders leaping or falling from a 40 foot tower into a swimming pool.

You read that correctly, DIVE. The owners of the Steel Pier in Atlantic City say they are bringing back this attraction that was once stopped due to the concerns for the animals. The new horse dive will consist of a rider jumping the horse off a platform into a 12 foot pool. Anthony Catanoso, the Steel Pier president, sees no risk of harm to the animals and feels it’s a historic and popular attraction.

 It may come as a surprise that diving horses aren’t necessarily illegal in the United States. Lack of interest in “side shows” and enforcement of other laws by animal protection agencies are more the reason why there’s been a kibosh on the “Diving Horse” scene. Perhaps they just haven’t been popular enough to be a part of many shows or board walks these days. 
Horse diving was an attraction here from the 1920s to the 1970s when it was stopped. The shows received very strong criticisms of animal rights abuses, which contributed to the decline of its popularity after World War 2. The horses were sometimes forced to dive  four times a day, seven days a week, and were slaughtered once their career was over. There are allegations of using prods, electrical jolts, and trap doors to get unwilling horses to dive.
 Now the plan is to build an amphitheater and charge $10 a person to see a horse and rider dive. But many local residents are not happy with the return of the dive. The Atlantic City SPCA President, Nancy Beall, has said the idea is disgusting and it’s cruel to put the animals though this event. Hopefully through efforts of the SPCA, word of this will spread and Mr. Catanoso will reconsider this cruel tradition.

But in a strange nod to nostalgia (the popular TV series “Boardwalk Empire” takes place on Atlantic City’s Steel Pier in the 1920s, when high-diving horses first became popular), Atlantic City wants to bring this antiquated act back into the present day. And the cruel show could be back as soon as Memorial Day weekend…

Atlantic City also tried to bring back high-diving horses in 1993 — but a huge backlash caused those plans to be abandoned. Public outcry can do the same now, especially since construction on a horse-diving tower hasn’t begun yet. With so many other attractions proposed (beer gardens, games and rides), public pressure will swiftly divert these funds into a tourist attraction that will be more fun, lucrative and animal cruelty-free.

If you are against this, please hop on over to this site, and sign a petition telling Atlantic City that we do not want this to happen!

If you have a little more time, PLEASE contact them via these means: 

Toll Free:

(866) 386-6659


(609) 345-4893


(609) 345-7492


customerservice at

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