Diving Girls & A Long Standing Obsession

If you asked me when I was young what I waned to be when I grew up, I would have responded with a quick exuberant shout of “A Diving Girl!!” (or opera singer depending on the mood). Basically a horse runs up a huge ramp and you grab on at the last minute before he jumps off of said ramp into what appears to be a small pool while a crowd of people watch in awe. Not only was I obsessed with horses as a girl (Barbie’s were only used as the fashionable riders/divers) but I loved the fashion and romance of the job.

Look…I even put together a (somewhat) modern diving girl outfit. Cute huh’?

And it read…

“This is inspired by the movie Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. Blah Blah Blah….how awesome this little ensemble would be to wear by the water…Lounging about like a lady of leisure…Randomly jumping onto a horse to fly into a small pool…Crowds of people cheering me on…

Wow. I just got chills. But on a serious note, I really would wear this in  a hot second! I love the idea of a dressing gown/robe to cover up with and am enjoying the blue and brown tones of this entire set. I put the sunscreen there so you are reminded that I’m not just frivolous but responsible as well. Glamorous ladies always are…”

Sooo yeah, I’ve written a bit over the years about this. Now I have more to say….

I. AM. A. BIG. FAN. If this still took place you best believe I would do anything to be the girl diving. I first found out about all this from watching Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. When I was younger I started to do some research because I thought it was still going strong. It wasn’t. With my future career dreams shattered I just watched the movie over and over.


Now, though, I’ve decided to look into the fascinating history of Diving Horses…and its awesome!

Sonora was real guys! While the Disney movie was creative with her story I think hers is even better. She wrote a book called A Girl And Five Brave Horses. I die.

I am so excited to read this book! So, during a bad jump Sonora hits the water with her eyes open and goes permanently blind. AND SHE STILL KEEPS DIVING for 11 more years. I read about a diver who averaged a broken bone a year. So it would seem that, for the girls, a diving career had a dangerous bent right? What about the horses?! Never an injury while jumping. True story. They were also diving around 2-4 times a day seven days a week from what I understand. That’s a lot.

Going up…Coming down. Source

After years of successful shows and amazing diving pairs in Atlantic City this event was shut down by animal rights activists. They claimed it was horrible to have horses jumping from such heights (up to 60 feet) into water. I have to say…the horses from the descriptions loved it. Like racehorses, how they will kill themselves to run, it seems some horses just have that drive and adventurous spirit maybe. Unlike racehorses though none died. Or even suffered injuries. Who knows. They tried to revive this whole idea later and were shut down again by animal rights activists. I will say this- I’ve always been shocked by how shallow the pool of water being jumped into looks. If I can’t dive into a 6 foot pool then how can a horse dive into a 12 foot pool from up to 60 feet in the air!?! I’ve always been bad at math though and it obviously worked :)

That’s all I’ve got. Fascinating stories keeping me entertained and crushed childhood dreams. What do you think. Was it cruel to have horses jump into a pool of water from such heights, even without injuries?

This post had some cool information.


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