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The Last Diving Horse in America: Rescuing Gamal and Other Animals

The Last Diving Horse in America: Rescuing Gamal and Other Animals

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t was the signature of Atlantic City’s Steel Pier in the golden age of “America’s Favorite Playground”: Doc Carver’s High Diving Horses. Beginning in 1929, four times a day, seven days a week, a trained horse wearing only a harness ran up a ramp, a diving girl in a bathing suit and helmet jumped onto its mighty bare back, and together they sailed forty feet through the air, plung­ing, to thunderous applause, into a ten-foot-deep tank of water.
Decades later, after cries of animal abuse and chang­ing times, the act was shuttered, and in May 1980, the last Atlantic City Steel Pier diving horse was placed on the auction block in Indian Mills, New Jersey. The au­thor, who had seen the act as a child and had been haunted by it, was now working with Cleveland Amory, the founding father of the modern animal protection movement, and she was, at the last minute, sent on a rescue mission: bidding for the horse everyone had come to buy, some for the slaughterhouse (they dropped out when the bidding exceeded his weight). The author’s winning bid: $2,600—and Gamal, gleaming-coated, majestic, commanding, was hers; she who knew almost nothing about horses was now the owner of the last div­ing horse in America.

Hardcover: 288 pages
Size: 6.6 x 9.5 inches

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