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  • Published: 15 December 2021
  • ISBN: 9781101871959
  • Imprint: Knopf US
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $44.99

The Last Diving Horse in America

Rescuing Gamal and Other Animals--Lessons in Living and Loving



From legendary animal rescuer, the inspiring story of the rescue of the last diving horse in America, and of how horse and animal rescuer were each profoundly transformed by the other

It was the signature attraction of Atlantic City’s Steel Pier from the 1930s to the 1970s, the golden age of “America’s Favorite Playground”: Doc Carver’s High Diving Horses. Four times a day, seven days a week, a trained horse wearing only a harness ran up a ramp, a diving girl jumped on its back, and they both sailed forty feet through the air, plunging into a ten-foot-deep tank of water.

Decades later, after cries of animal abuse and changing times, the act was finally shuttered, and in May 1980, the very last Atlantic City Steel Pier Diving Horse was placed on the auction block. The author, on a rescue mission for her employer—the animal-rights pioneer Cleveland Amory—spent $2,600 in a fierce auction, and Gamal, gleaming-coated, commanding, was hers: she who knew almost nothing about horses.

Cynthia Branigan tells the story of how horse and new owner came to know, educate, and trust one another, teaching each other important lessons of living and loving. Branigan writes of the history of diving horses and how rescuing and caring for Gamal led her to save other animals—burros, llamas, and goats—first as company for Gamal and, finally, saving a ten-year-old retired greyhound, nearly broken in spirit, who, with Gamal, came back to his happy self and opened up for the author a new and purposeful world.

  • Published: 15 December 2021
  • ISBN: 9781101871959
  • Imprint: Knopf US
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $44.99

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