New Hope resident Cynthia Branigan’s forthcoming book, “The Last Diving Horse in America,” published by Pantheon, is due out on Oct. 19.
Branigan is perhaps best known for her work with Make Peace with Animals, whose mission is the adoption of retired racing greyhounds. Her latest book is, more or less, the story that started it all, the rescue that set her on the path to where she is today.
She first heard about Doc Carver’s High Diving Horses while growing up in New Jersey. It was, after all, one of the Atlantic City Steel Pier’s top attractions for decades. Four times a day, seven days a week, a horse, with a girl on its back, plunged 40-feet through the air into a tank of water 10-feet deep.”
But after cries of animal abuse and as AC’s golden age began to fade, the last Atlantic City Steel Pier Diving Horse, Gamal, was placed on the auction block in May 1980. Enter Branigan, who — on a mission from Cleveland Amory and the Fund for Animals — was determined to rescue Gamal.
“The Last Diving Horse in America” is part history of diving horse lore, part exploration into the lost art of connecting with animals, and part deep dive into the animal rights work of one woman on a mission to help as many as she could.