1881 to 1993
U.S.A diving horse is an attraction that was popular in the mid-1880s, in which a horse would dive into a pool of water, sometimes from as high as 60 feet.
William "Doc" Carver "invented" horse diving exhibitions. Allegedly, in 1881 Carver was crossing a bridge over Platte River (Nebraska) which partially collapsed. His horse fell/dove into the waters below, inspiring Carver to develop the diving horse act. Carver trained various animals and went on tour. His son, Al Floyd Carver, constructed the ramp and tower and Lorena Carver was the first rider.
Atlantic City's Steel Pier was also used to mount a measuring device to monitor changes in the sea level of the Atlantic Ocean. However, changes in sea level at the pier turned out to have been caused by the weight of the crowds gathered to watch the diving horses. Measurements from 1929 to 1978 indicated sea level rise – when the crowds were regular and caused the pier to settle slightly in the soft, sandy bottom – except during the horse-jumping hiatus from 1945 to 1953 when the lack of regular crowds allowed the pier to rise slightly.
An attempt in 2012 to revive the shows at Steel Pier was halted when animal welfare advocates petitioned the owners not to hold the shows. The president of the Humane Society of the United States stated: "This is a merciful end to a colossally stupid idea".