The owners of Atlantic City’s Steel Pier have scrapped plans to bring back the diving horse act it was once famed for.
The act — started in the 1920s, shut down in the 1970s – featured a horse and a rider plunging into a tank of water from a 40-foot-high platform.
Anthony Catanoso, whose family owns the historic pier, said he’s no longer interested in bringing back the attraction, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“We just felt that since Atlantic City is moving forward, we should move forward with it. We should create new memories for visitors instead of recreating old ones.”
Catanoso had revived the act once, in 1993, but shut it down after two months amid protests from animal rights activists.
Catanoso proposed reviving the act again earlier this month in connection with a massive redevelopment plan for Atlantic City’s Boardwalk, casino district, and shopping areas.
But within days, animal welfare activists and others were voicing opposition. A petition against the act, on the website change.org, garnered 10,000 signatures in one day.
“That negativity – we didn’t want that to interfere with the positive things we’re trying to do,” Catanoso said.
Catanoso says no horse was ever harmed in the act.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: act, animal rights, animal welfare, anthony catanoso, atlantic city, canceled, diving, diving horses, horses, opposition, petitions, plans, protests, steel pier, stunt, tourism
(UPDATE: Plans to bring back the diving horse act have been scrapped.)
In what would be a stunningly stupid return to yesteryear, Atlantic City’s Steel Pier plans to bring back the diving horse act.
This summer spectators will be able to watch as horses ridden by stunt divers jump from a platform and plunge into a pool of water.
Perhaps you’ve seen grainy black and white footage of the event, in which swimsuit-clad women rode horses off a 40-foot platform. It began in the late 1920s and — with all due respect to nostalgia and extreme sports — should have stayed there.
Yet it’s returning as part of a multimillion effort to bring “family entertainment” back to Atlantic City. In other words — irony alert – let’s get all those folks we chased away with gambling to come back, and bring the kids, so that they might be traumatized and learn that animals are on this earth to help humans make money.
“This is a full-scale, custom act,” Tony Catanoso, one of the pier’s owners, told the Press of Atlantic City. “We know the diving horse is controversial, but I think people need to look at the bigger picture. A diving horse is going to be iconic. It’s going to be a small piece of the development project that will bring family entertainment back to Atlantic City.”
Plans for the show’s return were announced last week when the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved a $6 million contribution to the $20 million first phase of the Steel Pier improvement project.
Animal welfare groups are, of course, chomping at the bit, and a petition to halt the act is gathering signatures at Change.org.
“It just boggles the mind that they’re going back and doing this again.” said Janine Motta, a spokeswoman for the Animal Protection League of New Jersey. “Certainly, we’ll be looking into finding out more about it.”
Motta was among the protesters when the show returned briefly in 1993, only to be terminated by the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, then the owner of the pier.
The Humane Society of the United States says equine diving acts expose the animals to “inhumane and potentially abusive situations in the course of their training, transport and performance.”
“The stress and trauma endured by these animals, in addition to the risk of injury to them, make these acts unacceptable,” said Keith Dane, director of equine protection for the HSUS. “They are senseless animal exploitation, for the sake of entertainment and profit.”
HSUS was among the organizations that protested the short-lived return of the diving horse show in Atlantic City in 1993. It featured two ponies, a mule and a dog jumping 15 feet into a pool of water, and it lasted only a couple of weeks.
Catanoso says the event will be neither cruel nor inhumane. An out-of-state consultant is training three horses with trick divers that will rotate through the shows. The dives will be the finale to a 15- to 20-minute show at an amphitheater at the pier.
Expect some fallout on this one, as animal welfare organizations will likely mount a campaign against it. Expect as well that those involved with the act will step forward and say how much the horses enjoy it — much like greyhounds “enjoy” racing because it’s “in their blood.”
We’d suggest the brilliant minds behind this idea take a long walk.
Off a short pier.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abusive, animal protection league, animal welfare, atlantic city, casino, cruel, diving, diving horses, entertainment, equine, extreme sports, family entertainment, horse diving, horses, hsus, humane society of the united states, improvement, inhumane, initiative, new jersey, nostalgia, platform, pool, project, steel pier, stunts
Here’s a memorable scene from the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge National Finals, held earlier this month in St. Louis.
That’s Bracken, a border collie owned by Diane Allen, competing in the Incredible 30-Weave Up-and-Back competition.
The event featured dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes in Olympic-style competitions, such as Freestyle Flying Disc, Head-to-Head Weave Pole racing, Jack Russell Hurdle Racing, large and small dog agility, Speed and Catch, and the crowd favorite – dog diving.
The world record for dog diving was broken during the finals, with a leap of 31 feet, 8 inches.
A few days later, some of the competitors traveled to New York for an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman (Oct. 6).
Posted by jwoestendiek October 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: agility, animals, border collie, bracken, competition, david letterman, diving, diving dogs, dog challenge, dogs, flying disc, huurdle, incredible, incredible dog challenge, pets, purina, racing, st. louis, video
A professional diver in Russia is trying to teach his dachshund to scuba dive.
Sergei Gorbunov of Vladivostok, Russia, has equipped his dachshund, Boniface, with a wetsuit and helmet designed to allow him to breathe underwater.
In a recent demonstration, Boniface barked eagerly as Gorbunov stuffed him into a wetsuit, affixed the helmet, then submerged him in the water. The dog emitted a few whines, according to an Associated Press report.
“Underwater, I don’t think he experiences any stress,” Gorbunov said.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 8th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, boniface, dachshund, dive, diving, dog, ohmidog!, pets, russia, scuba, sergei gorbunov, swimming, video, vladivostok, water
Some of the most talented dogs from the West Coast descended upon the San Diego County Fair last week to participate in the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge — including some who have mastered surfing, an event that was added to the competition for the first time this year.
The canine sporting event also featured dog diving, freestyle flying disc, head-to-head weave poles, Jack Russell hurdle racing, and agility.
The 2009 Purina Incredible Dog Challenge was part of the San Diego County Fair and took place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on June 13th and 14th. Canine surfers competed in heats that were scored by a panel of judges, including U.S. Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 21st, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: agility, canine, county fair, diving, dog, dogs, event, flying disc, freestyle, hurdle racing, incredible dog challenge, jack russell, ohmidog!, purina, san diego, surf, surfers, surfing, video, weave poles