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People came to San Antonio from all over South Texas, more than eager to pay 50 cents a head to see a member of Carver’s troupe ride a horse off the four-story platform the show’s stage hands had erected. But on Sunday, February 17, the crowd witnessed much more than it had bargained for.The Great Carver Show, Jumper, Diving Horse, and Sonora Webster the Horse Jumper.
Something went terribly wrong when 18-year-old Oscar Smith made his leap. The fall killed the young man, though the horse survived...
...But one day in 1931, “Red Lips” lost its balance on the platform. Sonora survived the fall, though the impact blinded her. As soon as she recovered, she continued the act. Her being sightless added another layer of thrill to the show and she kept jumping until World War II.
"Ditty, the rider and trainer, said the proper way to dive is to "duck your head alongside the horse’s neck," making sure the horse goes into the water first. Later, after he married Ruth, he started to wear a helmet.Atlantic City taking a risky plunge with return of diving horses | NJ.com
In his 16 years with the act, he never saw an injury to a horse, he said...
...One horse, Lorgah, the funniest horse he ever trained, took his time for the crowd. "He would get up there, and he would want to pose," Ditty said. "He’d play games. Then he’d finally dive."...
...They remember times when the horses, left unattended, actually walked up by themselves and jumped in. "They liked it," Ruth said. "Don’t ask me why."...
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