No Horsing Around

I’m confused. The other morning on the TV news I heard that Atlantic City is on the verge of regaining its crown in world of gambling on the East Coast. Later that night, we heard a clip on another news program that Atlantic City is in an almost irreparable spiral downward.  So, what is one to think? Considering we’ve got no money to gamble with anymore and when we have a few bucks we feel like being frivolous with, we head to the Sands in Pennsylvania. I guess we, like the rest of the population, got attracted by something shiny.

Well, now, Atlantic City Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, in a bid of revitalization, is planning on making a big splash this summer with not only a new casino, the Revel, and new facades on the Boardwalk, but with the return of the Diving Horse on the Steel Pier.

And, as one might imagine, the plan is being met with strong opposition from animal activists. Valerie Pringle, the equine protection specialist employed by the Humane Society of the United States has her concerns: It’s a misnomer to call it diving. That suggests that they willingly jumping. The platform slants, and they fall. What kind of training is involved to get a horse to do something incredibly unnatural. You’re forcing a horse up a ramp. There’s no way the horses can turn around. And the Society says of the act, that it would be like advocating bear-baiting or dog-fighting.

Threats against the new owner of the Steel Pier, Anthony Catanoso have also been made. One protestor even suggested having Catanoso dragged to the top of the platform, cattle prodded and dropped into the pool below.

Retired horse trainer and rider, Billy Ditty, who is now retired and resides in Florida with his wife, Ruth, wishes he could come back up to New Jersey, to see if the people were doing it right. He says in the 16 years with the act he never saw an injury to a horse. One panicked when it hit the water and had to be led out and one was spooked by the flash of a camera bulb and the dive resulted in an injury to the rider. He and his wife also state that even back then animal activists protested.

But, Catanoso means business and has hired a private consulting firm to handle the specifics including training and recruitment and the horses will be treated like gold.

And Happy Valentine’s Day to all my readers!



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2 Responses to “No Horsing Around”

  1. Melissa Says:

    I learned a new word today – “misnomer.”

  2. Jayne Says:

    Happy Valentines Day to you and Ariel too!

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