Some dove with their front legs straight out, while others tucked up their legs as if they were going over a jump. One horse would twist in the air and land on his side, making it dangerous for his rider.
‘The riders (all women) would suffer one or two broken bones a year. Most of the injuries came from getting out of the pool of paddling hooves. They made it look easy, but it wasn’t. Years ago a rider by the name of Sonora Carver (in the late 1920’s) went blind from a bad impact with the water. The jump was sixty feet at that time, but was then lowered to forty.
‘Another horse, I think his name was Patches, drew quite an audience. After making so many jumps he no longer waited for his rider. He would charge up the ramp to the tower and take a running jump off the diving board, leaving the rider behind. A couple of the girls tried to leap on him as he flew by, only to be left sailing through the air mount-less.
Further details and additional photos at the http://www.petticoated.com/pdqwinter04/otherdocs/divinghorsesW04.html, via ty.rannosaur.us.
Horses are pretty smart. I recall General Meade's horse, Old Baldy, was wounded 7 times during the Americn Civil War, including at Gettysburg. One day Old Baldy refused to go into battle. Meade retired Old Baldy and both Old Baldy and Traveller, General Robert E Lee's horse, out lived both Generals. Don't cut horses short. After all, where do you think the phrase, "Horse Sense" came from?
farm boy cowboy up