The diving horse act was allegedly started by Dr. W.F. Carver in the late 1880’s while crossing a partially collapsed bridge on horseback. As both rider and horse plummeted, the horse dove straight into the waters below, inspiring Carver to develop a “diving horse act.” Dr. Carver proceeded to perform his act across the United States until his death in 1927. Horse diving continued for more than 45 years after Carver’s death, eventually succumbing to pressure from animal rights groups in the 1970s.
Eunice Winkless, pictured, accepted being a part of a horse dive as a dare for a $100 prize and successfully dove headlong into a pool of water. She and the the horse according to legend, were not hurt by the stunt. However, Winkless was forced to sue to receive her $100 prize money.
Dr. Carver and the Diving Horse act were the inspiration for the 1991 film, Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken.