October 2, 2003 by

Sonora Webster Carver

181 comments

Categories: Artists

Sonora Webster Carver, the famous horse diver of Atlantic City, died on Sept. 21. Cause of death was not released. She was 99.

Carver was born and raised in Georgia. At 20, she answered a want ad for a female rider to perform in Buffalo Bill’s “Wild West” show. Intrigued by the possibility of fame and travel, Carver applied for the job.

In 1924, she became the first woman to fall 40 feet on horseback into a tank of water at Steel Pier in Atlantic City, and inspired the 1991 Disney movie, “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken,” starring Gabrielle Anwar.

Seven years after her first jump, Carver and her horse, Red Lips, had an accident that left her blinded. When they hit the water off-balance, Carver suffered from detached retinas. Undaunted by her impaired vision, she continued to ride the high-diving horses until World War II. Then she moved to New Orleans and became a transcriptionist.

The diving horses attraction was discontinued in 1978 after animal-rights activists complained. In her autobiography, “A Girl and Five Brave Horses,” Carver insisted the animals loved the dives and were not forced to jump.

181 Responses to Sonora Webster Carver

  1. anita

    i think that she had a great spirit and should always remembered. she had a spirit that alot of people dont have and a willingness to try things even with her blindness. if more people had that courage and strength the world would be a better place

  2. SeDonna C. Bonham

    Sonora was a great woman who did what she loved doing which is what we all strive to have in this life. I wish i could find mroe information on her- if you have any please send it to my email address. Thankyou and Sonora you are missed.

  3. julie york

    Sonora Carver was truly a great inspiration to us all, a person we all could learn from, she will truly be miss. Sonora we love you ,we will all miss you. if anyone has more information on her please email me thankyou.
    julie york

  4. Mrs. Vowell

    Sonora’s story has touched my life and the lives of many who have watched the movie “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken.” I am letting my 9th grade classes watch it now, and they are enjoying it tremendously. Maybe the story will help one of them shoot for the stars like she did.
    Mrs. Vowell

  5. marideny tavarez

    sonora websters story really touched me.i saw the movie “wild hearts can’t be broken” just yeaterday, and i already fell in love wiht it. i just want to say she was areally dedicated person and really went after whatshe believed in. Sonora webster inspired me. rest in peace.

  6. Kathy

    I saw the Movie Wild Hearts can’t be broken this morning and I really enjoyed it.
    I remember going to Steel Pier when I was a teenager in the 60’s and seeing the Diving Horse show. I have remembered the excitment all these years. I never realized that one of the originals diving girls was blinded and still performed. What courage she had!

  7. Misty

    I saw the moive Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken a few years ago when I was a child and I fell in love with the movie. It wasn’t until recently that I saw the movie again and still in love with it. What Sonora Webster did was very brave. And no matter what happend she never gave up. Even after she became blind she told her husband that she was going to dive again no matter what. I know that I am only 19, but Sonora, I think, was a brave lady and didn’t give up no matter what and I admire her for what she did.

  8. Morgan

    I saw Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken a long time ago as a child and fell in love with the horses as well as the characters. Sonora Webster Carver was truely an amazing woman, who obviously never gave up no matter what the situation was. I wish that I could of had the chance to meet her.

  9. Monique

    I saw Wild Heart Can’t Be Broken a little while after in came out. I loved in then and still love it now. Sonora Webster Carver is truly an inspiration and I was happy to introduce this movie to my younger teenage sister about 2 years ago. She also loved it and asked for my VHS copy which I proudly gave to her. Sonora, you will be missed and thank you for being you.
    Monique

  10. Corey

    Sonora seems like a wonderful person. She was/is my Great Great Grandfather’s siter. I’m doing a report on her and wished I could’ve met her. Thank You Sonora. You are a great inspiration.
    Corey

  11. Amy

    My daughter is watching the movie right now and we started wondering who was this Sonora Webster Carver. We were saddened to see where she had passed away not so long ago. What an inspiration though to my daughters that they can do whatever they want! What a neat lady!

  12. Debra

    My son and I just watched the movie. I wondered who is Sonora Webster Carver? Her determination, perseverance and belief in herself left me awe struck. I am saddened to find out that she has passed on. I am so glad there is a movie about her to inspire others to dig deep within and follow their dreams. I am looking forward to reading her autobiography “A Girl and Five Brave Horses”. Thankyou Sonora for leaving a legacy of hope and inspiration.

  13. Michelle

    Hi, my name is Michelle and I am 13 years old. I have seen the movie Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken about a million times! It has really inspired me to go and live my dreams no matter what anyone else thinks. So thanks to Sonora for being who you are and following your dreams. Maybe one day the famous horse diving show could come back. I know I would love to see it, maybe even start it!

  14. NICK

    I remember as a young boy seeing a high diving horse with a blind female rider but this was in dania florida…does anyone remember seeing or hearing of this act in florida?

  15. paige dexter

    sonora webster has inspired me. i always dreamed of meeting her. i saw the movie aand bought it. i think they should dive horses again, and owe it all to sonora.

  16. Don French

    To whom it may concern. Sonora was my aunt. Both she and my mother, Arnette, were riders. The act was started by William F.”Doc” Carver, who was the world’s champion rifle shot, and was the original partner of Buffalo Bill in the wild west show. The diving horse act was a traveling show, appearing all over the world, before it ever got to the Steel Pier, in 1929. Sonora was far from the first rider. She was, however the first to ride on the Steel Pier.
    Don French

  17. paige dexter

    MY name is paige i am 12 years old i loved the movie, i have been trying to find out how i can get a hold on sonora’s autobiography a “girl and five brave horses” but i cant seem to. i would absolutly love to be a girl who dives horses it would be a lot of fun! sonora has inspired me a lot.

  18. J. Walker

    Paige, I found a couple of copies of Sonora’s autobiography on BookFinder.com, but they’re all quite expensive ($400+), so I suggest you try your local library. If if the closest branch doesn’t have a copy, the librarian can order one through interlibrary loan.
    J. Walker

  19. C Millahn

    I first got interested in Sonora Webster Carver when I read the article about her death in the Sept. 24, 2003 newspaper. I was so amazed at her story that I cut the article out. There were some pictures of her young & old. I just look at that picture of her & her sister as 2 little old ladies, & I am in awe. They had more guts than I could ever have. I wish I could have seen these diving horses. I am amazed that a horse could be trained to do that. I hope some people get together & get that book of hers re-published. I would love to read & own a copy of it.

  20. Mec Wolf

    When I was young I saw the movie “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken,” and loved it. I own it today and am now more interested in Sonora. I hope to one day get a hold of her autobiography. I would have loved to see the show and perhaps it will come back one day.

  21. PAIGE

    I WANT TO BE A DIVING GIRL SO BAD! I WOULD LOVE TO DIVE I WONDER IF ANYONE WOULD EVER START A SHOW IF THEY DID I WOULD BE THE FIRST TO VOLUNTEER AS A DIVING GIRL!
    PAIGE

  22. alison mcminn

    Sonora has truly inspired me to accept everything that life deals to you and to always follow your heart. There are so many storys like this that are never expressed or told. People just don’t realize how storys like this can really inspire and give people a different outlook on life. And although i’m still young (17) someday i intend to express and tell people storys like this one to try to inspire them to strive for greatness to achive anything that they want.

  23. Cathy S

    I was watching Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken a few days ago and knew right away who it was about. I remembered reading a book several years ago when I was a teenager. It was a biography of Sonora Carver with photos. Since then I have been facinated by her courage to not give up despite her blindness. I’m sorry she’s gone now but she made an impact with the world of Esqinarians and showmanship the world over. God Bless her for inspiring those who have lost their site and not give up on life!

  24. tammy

    i recently saw the movie and i really enjoyed that alot and now i am researching all that i can on diving horses and sonora’s life

  25. Lena Gertrude(Hanner) Pickett

    Sonora was my Great Aunt, daughter of my Grandmothers sister Lila Gertrude whom I was named after and Ula Marion Webster. I remember hearing stories of her daring jumps all my life, and the tragic accident that caused blindness, after she moved to New Orleans she visited with our family with my Aunt Cleo Nall, I remember the big see and eye dog that came with her on the plane when we picked them up, it was so good to get to meet her, she was a wonderful person and lived a long wonderful life, I have quite a bit of old information in our family history book, If you have any recent information on her please e-mail me (joyful121@msn.com) Thanks, Lena

  26. Lena Pickett

    Posting July16, 2004 has an error, Sonora’s mother was my Great Aunt, not Sonora, she was my cousin on my mothers side (Libbie Gertrude Hanner)
    and daughter of Hettie Arnett Herrin, I would like any other information you have on her. Lena

  27. Judy

    I first say the movie when I was 15. I am now 25 and I just got the movie for my birthday. Every time, I see the movie, it stirs something in my heart, and I wish I could have seen the diving show. It was inspirering to find out that Sonora lived to be 99. At least now she is somewhere diving horses again. If anyone knows where I can get the autobiography, please email me.

  28. Kristin

    I have watched the movie about Sonora for years ever since I was about 7 years old when it came out (I am 22 now). I have always wanted to meet her and am very sad about the fact that I cannot. But I am happy to know that she lived to be so old and had a good life. I recently visited Atlantic City and went to the historic museum to find out what I could about her. Although the museum had some information, it was not a lot but it still inspired me in the same way that it did when I first saw the movie. May Sonora rest in peace. I hope she knew about the impact she had on people.

  29. nathan

    one thing i would like to take time to mention is how the movie staring Ms. Anwar did not show half the amount of heart that she really had. We all had the previlege to see Ms. anwar do one jump when she was blind. But she continued to do that for many years after that. And i admire a woman with such courage. The type of person who wasnt affraid of anything. She live to a good age. (She stoped jumping just before i was born so i didnt have the privilage to see her. But were ever you are I want to thank you for being such an encourage ment. by making the toughest things seem so easy. Now that you probably can see, I want for you to know that you help me not take things forgranted and when i look up at the stars i will think of you, by the way say highj to selina for me thanks, bye for now!

  30. Kaycee

    hello, I have been a fan of the movie Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken for as long as I can remember. I used to pretend I was diving my horse when I rode across the river when I was little lol, but now I’m 17 and too old for that. I heard about her atobiography and cannot find it anywhere, if anyone knows where I can get it please please e-mail me. I find it really interesting. Also, if you know any more info on her or know any sites with info and pictures please e-mail me as well. Thanks

  31. Lisa

    I guess I never realized that the movie “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” was a true story! I first watched this movie in 7th grade and begged my mom to buy it as soon as I got home- I absolutely loved it! And now I am looking forward to sharing it with my own students this year in a 20th Century U.S. History class. I very much appreciate the legacy that Mrs. Carver has left– what a wonderful life in American culture!

  32. JANET

    I read her along time ago in the 60’s. Yes is and
    was a brave young woman. I ride myself but the
    adventure of riding and doing the things you love
    is all that counts. I enjoyed her book and her
    brave horses.
    Janet,Albany,Oregon

  33. Kathy

    I, too, enjoyed the book in the 60’s. We used to have a copy and wish I still had it. It can be found, but is quite expensive ($250-500 depending on the condition). As soon as I saw the advertisements for the movie, I knew it was about the book “A Girl and Five Brave Horses”. I don’t recall the movie giving credit to the book, though. Sonora was quite an amazing woman and an inspiration to all who read her story.

  34. ANETTE RAMIREZ

    I AM THE GRANDDAUGTHER OF THE SON OG JAQUELINE WEBSTER JAQUELINE WAS THE SISTER OF SONORA IAM 12 YEARS OLD AND Y WANT A PICTURE OF SONORA .
    if you dont belive me you can call to mexico at 55-32-92-18.
    and i will tell you the history of somebody special in the webster’s famili

  35. Dawn

    My son and I just saw the movie last week and here I am on the internet surfing to find out more information about her. It was amazing to me to see her have such determination to continue what she loved even though life threw her a curve! When I was younger I had seen diving mules but can’t imagine seeing a horse with a lady on it his back make a jump of that hight! AMAZING!
    I hope she and AL lived happily ever after!

  36. Judith Gordon Ward

    I met Mrs. Carver when I was about 7 or 8 in Playland Park in Houston, TX. She ran some kind of game. She was amazing. She wrote in a very clear straight line using the Palmer method.
    She sewed beautifully, kept her own house and was a lovely person. The only thing she couldn’t do was tell paper money apart. I had understood that both she and the horse were blinded in the same jump.
    Judith

  37. MORGANA FRENCH

    MY AUNT WAS SONORA WEBSTER CARVER. I FOUND THIS SITE ACCIDENTLY. THE DIVERS LOVED THEIR HORSES. THEY RISKED THEIR LIVES TO SAVE THEM DURING THE JUMPS INTO THE SEA. FORTUNATELY, I CAN BE SURE THAT JOHN THE BAPTIST WAS NOT BLINDED WHEN HE MADE THAT JUMP. NEVER DID THEY MENTION A HORSE BLINDED BY A JUMP. I AM FAIRLY SURE THE HORSE INVOLVED WAS JOHN.

  38. geoff pattison

    i travelled all the way from england just to meet sonora she autographed a card to me which is a treasured pocession i am an artist and will do an art work about her in the future in an age of the so called celebrity here is one person who is worthy of the title her story will live on

  39. sam

    She was a wonderful performer and a remarkable woman, however, she was not blinded due to an unfortunate dive, she actually had a genetic predisposition for blindness, as did her sister.

  40. Emily Paul

    Sonora gave me hope that finding love is not so hard if you know where to look or who shows affection for some that is just trying to make in the world. Sonoras love with Al was amazing because he fell in love with her not the other way around. Al alos inspired her to do a lot. Like to never give up when others thought it was hopeless. Like when she was blinded and try so hard to be the why she use to be.She has inspiered everybody that when you want something so bad you can go for the goals you want in life.

  41. John McCullough

    My father’s uncle was publicity manager of the Steel Pier during the time that Sonora performed there. I was allowed on the pier for free and met many entertainers during breaks out on the porch where the general public was not permitted. I do not recall meeting Sonora but did meet with Lou Costello, Harry James, the Nicholas Brothers and many others. I believe the film, Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken depicts the man who makes the Steel Pier deal is based on Frank Cravatt, not Mr. Hamid who came later. My grand uncle’s name was Harry Volk Sr. and his son Volk jr. owned an ad agency in Atlantic City.
    Would appreciate any knowledge the Volks as I am working on some articles dealing with the Great Depression wherin I spent my youth.

  42. Bethany Towne

    I am thirteen and have the movie “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. This movie is definately the best most inspiring movie ever. I would love to find out as much as possible about Mrs.Sonora Webster Carver. I’ll be looking for the autobiography. Someday I’m going to visit Atlantic City, where all your dreams come true and
    maybe if it hasn’t happened by then start a diving show in memory of Sonora.

  43. Emilia

    I admire Sonora Webster very much. I got the movie, “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” for Christmas three years ago and I am a large fan of it. Sonora Webster has taught me that you can make your dreams come true, no matter what the circumstances are. I think Gabrielle Anwar played the perfect role for Sonora and I must say, Michael Schoeffling (Al) wasn’t too bad looking either. (lol) I only wish I could have met her.

  44. jesyka crowe

    even though i have never met this wonderful courages woman she has had an impact on my life. her story has given me inspriation to accomplish the things that i never would have believed possible for me. she was a true and shining example of bravery and determination. i wish i could have met her.

  45. M.F. FRENCH

    THE ONLY FAMILY PREDISPOSITION TO BLINDNESS IN THE WEBSTER FAMILY WAS A PROCLIVITY TO RISKY BUSINESS AND DANGEROUS FEATS. MY AUNT SONORA WAS BLINDED BY THAT ACCIDENT. BUT IT DIDN’T OCCUR ENTIRELY IMMEDIATELY. BUT OVER PASSING OF DAYS OR WEEKS. AS FOR H.S. HE LOST MOST OF HIS EYESIGHT DUE PREMATURE FIREWORKS EXPLOSION AS A YOUNGSTER AND AN INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT AT PFIZER CHEMICAL WERE HE WORKED IN LATER LIFE.

  46. Beverly Troupe

    i own the movie “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” and everytime I watch the movie it pushes me to reach for my dreams more and whenever I fall get up and try again to persevere and to never give up. Were all here for a purpose and we just have to find out what which purpose it is.

  47. steve

    It’s fantastic that so many people are touched by this incredible story. I’ve been researching everything about the Steel Pier for over ten years, and I’m writing a huge book on it that hopefully will be in bookstores before the end of 2005. It will have many pictures, including a large chapter on the Diving Horses, the riders, the Big Bands, rock acts, exhibits,etc. Believe me, this will be an amazing book, so keep your eyes peeled!

  48. janina

    A normal horse would NEVER jump down a height like this, they know that it’s high and if a horse jumps down it would normally be dead if there wasn’t the water. So I rally wonder how they made the horses jump the first time?
    It can’t be true that so many people watch a movie or read a book and think: oh, what a great woman, she did what she dreamed of, but noone sys “poor horse, it surely didn’t like its life.” don’t you think the horses would have been much happier with a life down on earth with other horses, grass and some kind of natural freedom?

  49. Becca

    I think sonora was a wonderful woman who knew her dreams, went for them and acheived them. The horses that were trained specifically for diving should be remembered too. They were brave and fearless, and had TRUST in their masters, enough to dive for them. I believe what they represent is amazing and should be told for generations. Thank you Sonora and the Carver Act for Teaching us the lessons we need to live by

  50. Kelly

    I just saw the movie about a week ago and since watching it i cant stop thinking about it.
    I found it amazing that anyone could have someone could be so fearless and i hope that people take a lot from the film as it gives out a great message to all of us.

  51. Sharon

    Sonora Webster Carver was a hero of mine for over 30 years. If you have seen the movie “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” and loved it you must read Sonora’s book “A Girl and Five Brave Horses”. This book is very hard to find but you can get a copy by going to your local library and asking for an Inter-Library loan of the book. There is a divinghorses group on Yahoo. You can join by going to: divinghorses-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.
    The group talks about Sonora and there are lots of pictures.

  52. melinda

    What a wonderful movie! A true story with values and romance—why doesn’t Hollywood make more movies like this? Did Sonora ever have children? What ever happened to Al?

  53. Lacey

    Like so many of you who have written tributes, I first learned of Sonora Carver from the movie. I first saw the movie years ago when I was a preteen and I loved it! Today I caught the end of it channel surfing and I found myself watching it till the end. Now that I watch the movie as an adult I realize how difficult it must have been for Sonora to continue horse diving. Being blinded later in life is scary enough, but then to continue on in such a difficult profession is amazing! I am going to try to get her book through the inter-library loan program.
    I hope that the Steel Pier is brought back to it’s former glory one day soon. I know that horse diving will never be brought back, but entertainment of that kind is much needed in todays world of video games.

  54. Lizette Nielsen

    A horse can fly….in
    the rider’s eye,
    which could not see
    but all the view
    belonged to her.
    Someone who did not merely
    survive,…
    but lived…at extreme heights…
    how… she…”lived”.
    One who dares to criticize
    a life who’s magnitude was so great
    must not only live with their companion hate,…
    but have no life
    at all.

  55. Sonora

    Sonora as you can see was a great woman at heart and who also loved horses too. Yes my name is also Sonora and I am greatful to have this name. But just by watching the move of Sonora Webster, it inspired me to put forth effort in my dream.

  56. Rosie

    Sonora was such an amazing person, if there’s anyone that I look up to, it’s her. If I had her spirit and determination I’m sure I could do anything I set my heart to.
    Sonora, your memory will live on to inspire many others to follow their dreams.

  57. Bobbie J Kraft

    When I first saw the movie Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, that’s when I wanted to learn more about Sonora Webster Carver & the life she lead. I’m really interested in her history & the history of her life & the great depression. So if you have any information please send it to me at my e-mail address. Thankyou Bobbie

  58. Donna

    What a inspiration Sonora was. I think that she may have lead many to see that physical inpairment need not stop them from acomplishing great feats.
    I would love to have her book, does anyone know where it can be bought?
    Donna

  59. beckie Valentine

    Sonora webster Carver was a very inspiring person. She had determation and never gave up. Sonora webster Carver movie Wild Hearts can’t be broken was the best movie I think I have ever seen. If you put your mind to anything everything is possible as Sonora Webster Carver showed us

  60. Haley Turner

    Wild hearts can’t be broken is my alltime favorite movie! I wish I could have seen sonora Webster Carver dive in person! That movie was so touching and everyone should see it, it sends out a great message!

  61. Beckie

    I loved the movie wild hearts can’t be broken. One of the best movies ever made about a woman who was not going to let anything stop her from living her dream. I wish that I could have done what she did. I would have loved to do something like that. The movie really touched my heart and inspiried me to live out any and all dreams that I have. She was and always will be one of my favorite people in this world. I just finished looking at a picture of the real Sonora Webster Carver which I printed out. It really is the real picture of her. Sonora you were the best and always will be. You will never be forgotten

  62. beckie

    Does Anyone know whatever happened to Alan Carver Sonora Websters husband. I couldn’t find any information on him at all.

  63. Becky

    I have found so much information about Sonora Webster Carver plus a nice picture of Sonora Webster Carver. Did you know Al Carver built the ramps for the horse diving show. Sonora Webster Carver was born February 2, 1904. Sonora was 20 years old when her sister Arnette and her answered a want ad for Willam Frank ” Doc” Carver horse diving act. Sonora joined the show in 1924 The show permanently settled down in Atlantic City in 1929. Sonora divided till 1942 then she moved to New Orleans with her husband Alan Carver. During Sonora’s career, Sonora Carver was apart of an act with her sister Arnette Webster French and also their friend Joesphine K. DeAngelis. Sonora is an auntie to Donald French. Sonora Webster Carver was born and raised in Georgia. Carver accident with Red Lips in 1931 when a freak accident happened to Sonora. When her horse Red Lips hit the water off-balance, Carver stuffered from Detached retians that left her blind. She contiuned to dive intill world war 11. Doc Carver was the one who thought of the diving horse act. How Doc Carver came up with the idea was in 1880s when doc carver was crossing a bridge which was partially collapsed. His horse dove into the water below, inspiring Carver to develop the diving horse act. Sonora hated Political correctness. Sonora hated the term visually imparied,” She said Damn it I’m Not visually imparied I’m blind. Sonora Webster Carver was fiercely independent, a feminist before there was such a thing. Sonora was a tough cookie her nephew said Donald French. She never let her blindness slow her down. She did marry Alan Carver Doc Carver son. Sonora has shown me that if you put your mind to anything it can be done. Sonora Webster Carver and Alan Carver never did have children. She will never be forgotten and she will always be missed. I have lots of pictures

  64. Linda

    I have a 4 year old daughter with a mild disability who is absolutely hooked on this movie!
    If she had not watched it she would not understand the ideas of plot or sequence … initally she like the “stunts,” but as she matures its themes emerge as having more value for her.
    Sonora Webster Carver’s life is the stuff inspiration is made of!

  65. beckie

    Sonora Webster Carver 99, the first women to dive off Atlantic city steel Pier while riding horse– stunt. Sonora continued 11 years after she was blind during a performance. The 20- year old jobless, adventuros women, the diving horse act jod sounded perfect. She joined the carnival act of the traveling sharp shooter Willam Carver who was known as “Doc by his contemporaries, including Buffalo Bill cody and Wild Bill Hickok. Doc Carver taught her how to horse dive. She left waycross, traveled the country with his carnival show and performed before audiences of thousands. Along the way she fell in love with the boss’s son Al Carver. The couple married in 1932 five years after that Al carver took over the act following his fathers death. In 1929 Atlantic city hotel builder and impresario Frank P. Gravatt invited Carver to bring his show to the recently completed steel pier. Not content with just the circus acts. Gravatt wanted the diving horses and saucy female riders to lure crowds to his pier. Wearing a red bathing suit, Mrs. Carver climbed a 40 foot ladder at the end of the pier waited the horse to run up the ramp, jumped on the horse, and plunged into a tank measuring 12 feet deep and 20 feet across. She performed this act two to six times a day. But Mrs. Carver was not like other horse divers for 11 of 13 years of her career, she performed the feat blind. In August 1931 the horse red lips went into a steep nosedive during a performance, sending Mrs. Carver face first into the water– both of her retinas were detached, and she remained blind for the rest of her life. But Mrs. Carver continued to dive keeping her blindness secert from the public until 1942. That year she retired from the horse diving. Sonora and Al Carver moved to New Orleans, where they lived until Al Carver died in 1961. Mrs. Carver learned to read Braille and worked as Dictaphone typist at turo infimary until 1979. When Sonora retired and returned to New Jersey. The Diving horse act continued on the steel pier until 1978. Mrs. Carver’s sister Arnette Webster French and their friend Joesphine K. DeAngelis joined the act in 1930. Ms. DeAngelis 92 pasted away. Mrs. Carver wasn’t an orphan and there was no evil aunt as potrayed in the movie. Sonora Webster Carver movie Wild Hearts can’t be broken was good and very romatic movie. She has shown me that all dreams do come true but you have to work hard to get them. Sonora you will never be forgotten and always will be missed. In memory of Sonora Webster Carver.

  66. Kelly

    I am trying to locate Sonora Webster’s autobiography, “A Girl and 5 Brave Horses”. I am having a very dificult time locating a copy. If anyone knows where I can find a copy, please let me know. I would really like to read the book!

  67. shaden

    sonora really inspired me by her brave heart i really love her movie and wished that she was still alive to meet her am 15 and when i saw her movie i went and searched in the internet and was sad to hear that she was dead im really a big fan of her and she is my idol
    shaden M. Mansour

  68. Sonora Paradise

    When i first saw the movie i fell in love with it.i really never liked my name up till i saw that movie:) i think that im very much like Sonora, not because my name is Sonora. i am funny,free spirted, kind and i like to try any new that comes my way. i always dreamed of meeting her, but she lies in my heart. im 13 and i dream of living life to the max just like Sonora, she inspired me to never give up my dreams.
    Sonora Paradise

  69. Elithraniel

    Mom and I just watched it tonight and I can defanitly say that she had the personality that I strive for. She had a confidince that was truly amazing! To all that think about giving up, just remember :Sonora Carver.

  70. Diana

    After reading the numerous tributes and comments about Sonora Webster Carver’s life, I see I am not alone in finding her story fascinating, inspiring and very romantic. I also am having difficulties finding the book, “A Girl and Five Brave Horses” for less than $250. The librarian has told me there is no way she can get me a copy. Perhaps she is wrong – I hope so.
    Sonora was a beautiful person in every way and I am sad that she died in 2003 – I would love to have met her.
    I am interested in more info. on her husband, Al. If he was anything like he was portrayed in the movie, he was so sweet, inspiring, romantic and just a terrific guy – the perfect mate for Sonora.
    May she rest in peace!

  71. amanda

    This is Amanda Taylor again .Anybody please if you have pictures. I would greatly appreciate it if you could email me some of sonora webster carver and possibly of her husband to. To the man who was a immediate relative of sonora please call me i would like to talk to you about her thanks amanda
    mandygene2222@yahoo.com 702-434-7150 hm. 702-355-6975 cell

  72. Kelcey

    I would have done the same as Sonora. She has heart, drive, ambition, and she loves horses. I think she was an amazing woman and it would have been an honor to meet her. I saw “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” when I was 8 for the first time and it has been my favorite movie since and always will be. I love true stories especially ones that involve horses. Sonora is one of the bravest women of all time in my eyes and she will always be one of my idols. You’re missed and very much loved by all.

  73. Jennifer

    If any one really has some hard core evidence that they are in some way related to this extrodinary women then please contact me @
    eternal_riverofgod@yahoo.com
    I would love to get more info on Sonora because she is so hard to find and the book is nearly impossible as well. thank you.
    and thank you Sonora, you will be missed, but in memory you will go on forever.

  74. Sylvia

    Sonora was a great person I wanted to be a Horse Diver like her. Just believe that you can do it who cares of what other people can I watch “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” and I just fall in love with her life time. Sonora We all love you we remember you in our hearts always and forever. Your the prettiest woman ever and we sure do miss you. Love you Sonora.
    Love,
    Sylvia

  75. Mari

    I remember being a young horse-loving girl in the 60’s when my sister gave me a ride to the library so I could get my first library card. I picked out A Girl and Five Brave Horses and began reading it in the car waiting for my sister who ran back inside the library to get her sweater. I couldn’t put the book down. It was raining and the windshield wipers kept time to a song’s refrain on the radio…”in the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight..”. Even now when I hear that song, I remember the story of the blind girl who sewed buttons on her swimsuits in various places to identify the color she was wearing was such a profound concept to me even at 8 years old, that I still think about it to this day. Wonderful story. I wish I could find it again for my granddaughters.

  76. doreen

    sonora is my 3rd cousin and my sister’s and i still have the old farm , sonora’s-mother (Lilla) her sister emma was my great grandmother. i also have some pic’s of sonora and lorena and them as they jumped.and a letter .(dearest arnette,)dated June 11, 1928 asking arnette to join them in the jump.

  77. rachel

    I just saw the movie in my 8th grade health class today. I loved it so much i searched sonora to find more about her. i was touched by her story and want to learn more about her.

  78. Kathleen

    I loved the movie and recorded it. Watched it tonight and once again tried to find them on census. Thanks to family remarks, I found them and would like to share some of the data I found
    1910 Waycross 3rd Ward, Ware County, Georgia
    Enumeration Dist 173, Sheet 3, Line 37
    Ulee Webster 41 Married 2 Born SC-Fa SC Mom SC
    Lilley L 30 Married 1 Born GA-Dad GA Mom GA
    Ulee M Jr 3 GA
    Nora E 6 GA
    Mary Belle 2 GA
    1920 513 Military Dist-Bainbridge City, Decatur County, Georgia
    Enumeration Dist 34, Sheet 2, Line 17
    U.M. Webster 41 Born SC – Dad SC- Mom SC
    Litla? 30 GA GA GA
    Nora 16 GA
    ? a son hard to read GA
    Mary 11 GA
    ?? Smith ? GA
    Arnett 7 GA
    Annie 2 8/12 GA
    1880 Marion, Marion, South Carolina
    Name Relation Marital Status Gender Race Age Birthplace Occupation Father’s Birthplace Mother’s Birthplace
    Joseph W. WEBSTER Self M Male W 43 NC Manager Of Steam Mill CT NC
    Mary A. WEBSTER Wife M Female W 40 SC Keeping House SC SC
    John H. WEBSTER Son S Male W 18 SC Farmer NC SC
    Joseph D. WEBSTER Son S Male W 16 SC Farm Laborer NC SC
    Edward T. WEBSTER Son S Male W 14 SC Farm Laborer NC SC
    Eulu M. WEBSTER Son S Male W 12 SC Farm Laborer NC SC
    Willie W. WEBSTER Son S Male W 10 SC Farm Laborer NC SC
    Haskill WEBSTER Son S Male W 5 SC NC SC
    Anna L. WEBSTER Dau S Female W 2 SC NC SC
    In 1870 Marion, Marion, South Carolina Page 175A
    There are two Joe Webster 34 years old. This could make it confusing researching backwards.
    Joe Webster 34 Farmer born North Carolina
    Mary 32 House Keeping South Carolina
    John 8 South Carolina
    Joe 6 South Carolina
    Edward 4 South Carolina
    Eulalee 2 female South Carolina
    this is the same family-son in 1880)
    I’m a little confused my Sonora’s mothers side, so haven’t looked into that line.

  79. Kathy

    I watched the movie “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” several years ago for the first time. And fell in love with it and with Sonora. I must have watched it about 4 times that weekend. She was so inspirational, so determined, so driven. She was a beatitful person both inside and out. I was saddened to hear of her death. She was and is a truly remarkable person who will be greatly missed

  80. Katie

    I first saw the movie when I was very young and loved horses. For some reason I never forgot it, and made my parents rent it for me all the time. We could never find a place that sold it. Now in my twenties I have been able to buy in on DVD and am thrilled. It is such an amazing story. I’ve lived in Washington state my whole life and recently moved to Georgia with my husband. I remembered Sonora living and Georgia and it just feels wonderful to live where my hero lived also!

  81. Amy

    I just wanted to say that my all time favorite movie is “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken”. Since I was a litte girl and first saw that movie, I declared that it is my favorite movie. I love it. Sonora is brave and fearless. She gives people strength and belief that anything is possible. She will be greatly missed and admired. God bless her in heaven…

  82. Josie

    I saw this move not too many years after it came out. As it was such an excellent story I never forgot it. Not until about 12+ years later did I ever have a chance to see it again- in a store and immediately I bought it. Within a year or so I had my first daughter. When she was just two years old I put in the movie to watch- She watched the entire thing and requested it again as soon as it was over. She is now 5 and her younger sister 3. The movie is nearly worn out and I have two diving girls. They jump from everything- most often with bouncy, stick, or rolly horse in tow. My oldest is desperatley seeking someone who would build her a diving tower- she has mastered from the top of the swing-set tower. They are often heard saying “I can do anything!”
    Needless to say Sonora has touched our hearts and our lives. I too wish that WE could have met her. What a treat that would have been for all of us. It only occurred to me the other day to see if she may possibly still be alive and found on the net somewhere. We too would love any more information and/or pictures. She will live forever in the hearts of the children she inspired- May we someday meet in the eternities!

  83. cady

    When I saw this movie, it inspired me to not give up on my dreams. The way her attitude was kept on pushing her to live her dreams. Now its my turn, to live like the way Sonora lived hers. When I do live my dreams, I will remember Sonora for how she help. THANK YOU SONORA!!!!!

  84. Sunny

    I loved the movie i just got done watching it with my boyfriend and was looking up some stuff about sonora and her life when i found this website. what did happen to Al?

  85. Amy

    I just watched it with my friends and thought that she was an amazing woman! People with that kind of courage, even with disabilities like that cannot be contained easily. She was a real role model!

  86. Rayanne

    Like everybody else here, Sonora is a Hero of mine! infact, it is such stories as hers that inspired me as a child to become a horse trainer and travel. i would greately love any pics anybody could or would send my way.

  87. Brenda

    There are copies of the book “A Girl and Five Brave Horses” on ebay, my husband bought me one. If you don’t mind paying the big bucks for a book, buy one! It’s a great book. The ending was rather sad, Al ended up working the night shift as a motel clerk. Sonora worked for the Lighthouse for the Blind during the day. The book doesn’t discuss Al’s death but it was copyrighted the same year he died (1961) so he must have died right after the book was written.

  88. Jessica

    I learned a lot from watching the movie Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. She had such a strenght that I admire. I will be getting her book as soon as I can find it. If anyone has any pictures of her please e-mail them to me at onua_chomtong@hotmail.com

  89. Kathryn

    I don’t mean to put any sort of negative spin on things, as I realise it was an entirley different era back then, but I pray that horses are never put through something like that again. Horses are naturally very scared animals, and would NEVER in a million years choose to do something like jumping from 60 feet in the air down into a 10 ft deep pool of water, especially four times a day, seven days a week. Maybe after the initial training they just accepted their life and jumped to get it over with, but the initial training must have been incredibly cruel. I am not saying anything bad about Sonora, I am just saying to those of you who wish to bring back a show like this, think first of the horses, not just of the entertainment quality or fun. I cringe to think of how terrified those horses must have been the first couple dozen times they were forced to do something so against their nature and dangerous.

  90. Sean Peters

    Hello,
    So interesting reading all these posts, and how much Sonora and the film touched so many people.
    I enjoyed the film it touched my heart with her bravery and determination.
    Gabrielle Anwar gave a heartwarming performance, and great to see veteran actor Cliff Robertson as well.
    How she lived such a long life, out living her husband by many years.
    I also wondered if this was cruel to the horses, I just don’t know.
    An animal will do so much for it’s owner by pure loyalty, but could not have been easy for the horse, or for a blind lady!
    regards
    Sean

  91. tim carter

    I was in the film Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. I was the cymbal player that scared the horse and caused the accident. That was a fun role to play. However, it was very unfortunate for Ms. Webster. I loved being a part of such a great film. The cast, especially Gabrielle Anwar did a wonderful job. They made us, even those of us with small roles, feel appreciated. It was filmed in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at the Pavillion Amusement Park. I will never forget this experience. It changed my life. I am now a Drama teacher and I teach my students that dreams do come true! If I never act in a film again, that was the happiest day of my life thus far! Thank you Disney and the cast for letting me be a part of such a wonderful family film!

  92. Suzanne Michalik

    I love the movie….. I just wish to talk to people related to them or that were in the movie and i would like to know what they thought of the story of Sorona

  93. Chris Falkenbury

    I Read Sonora Webster Carvers True Life Story, A Girl And Five Brave Horses. It Is One Of The Best True Life Stories I Have Ever Read. It Really Made Me Think That If I Would Have Met Her Back In The 1920,S I Would Have Wanted To Be A Diving Girl Too. Thank You Very Much. Sincerely Miss Christine Ann Falkenbury

  94. Teresa Dakota Dial

    I loved the movie about Sonora Webster. Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken has been my favorite movie ever since I was a baby. Sonora has inspired me to follow my dreams and to not give up trying. Thank you Sonora.
    Sincerely,
    Teresa Dakota Dial

  95. Teresa Dakota Dial

    Sonora has taught me a life lesson. She has
    taught me to except wrong or painful things
    that happen in life. Sonora has also taught me
    that following your dreams may mean taking
    sacrifices and maybe even risking your life like
    she did when she dove 40 or 60 feet off of a
    diving board while being blind. I know that if
    Sonora can dive off of a 60 feet high diving
    board while being blind then I can do what ever
    it takes to follow my dreams. Sonora you’re my
    HEROE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Sincerely,
    Teresa Dakota Dial

  96. Laura

    I have seen the movie “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” and love the story. Sonora is an inspiration to us all. Every time I see the movie it lifts me up and makes me strive to make my dreams come true. I know that now I’m going to have to read her book now. She was an inspiration and may her story live on for ever and spark inspiration into the hearts of may more.

  97. Joy Poulos

    I had the good fortune to be related to Sonora Carver. I was a teenager when my mother, Agnes Richardson Peltier, Sonora’s first cousin, became reunited with her Cousin after she and Al moved to New Orleans.
    As I remember, my Grandmother Cleo Hanner Richardson Nall was Sonora’s first cousin. They were related through my Grandmother’s mother, who died at a very young age.
    My mother, did a lot of geneology and I will search to find some records of Cousin Sonora’s family.
    Everyone is right, she was indeed a woman of her own. Very independent and never asked anyone for assistance. She supported herself as a medical dictaphone transcriptionist and worked until very late in her life.
    I am very proud to have such a great lady as an inspiration to so many people.

  98. laura

    I watched the movie wild hearts cant be broken when I was about 8 years old I loved the movie and wanted to be a horse diver:) I just watched the movie for the first time since then now 22 I related to the movie in such a different way. I wanted to find out more about sonora and hear I am sad to find out that she past away but glad that she lived a long life wow 99 I wonder what she touhgt about the movie and wonder about al if he was like what was portayed in movie I will try to find the book. fellow horse lover and fan laura.

  99. Debbie Baird

    When I was in 7th grade (1964) I checked out an autobiograpy titled, “A Girl and Five Brave Horses”, by Sonora Webster Carver from my school’s library. I couldn’t put it down and read it over and over, checking it out everytime time I could. To this day it remains my favorite book but sadly it is out of print. I was so excited when “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” was released and was only a little disappointed that a few things were different from the book. (the real life Red Lips was a paint for one thing) My daughters and I love the movie and I have shown it to my middle school classes many times. Sonora was truely an example to everyone that disablilites cannot hold you back and an inspiration to us all.

  100. Jennifer from Ga.

    Hi. I have been a huge fan of Sonora Webster since I first learned of her when the movie came out in 1991. I too have always loved horses and I guess I felt like we had alot in common. She seemed to be a very determined woman and went for her dreams! The type of person I wanted to be growing up. I watch the movie alot…its a family favorite. If asked of who one of my heros is, she would be on the top. I have always wanted to learn more about her and what happend to her after she stopped the diving. Whatever happened to Al? How long were they married? Did they ever have children of their own? I understand he was older than her. I also have never been able to locate any pictures of them. If anyone can give me any of this information please do so. You can reach me at Nevrplezed20@aol.com
    The world was a much better place because Sonora Webster was in it and I hope the movie and her book inspire people to be more like her. We need more people like her in this world.
    Thanks for your time, Jennifer

  101. harold

    This was a great story of an individual that had heart and curage not to give up. Things can happin if you have a dream, talent and don’t give up. As far as the animal rights some times they need to take care of there own self and stop be so appinionated be cause if it would be up to them stories, like this would not be around. The movie is one that is great for all ages… It is to bad Sonora is not around and to not know the great story she left for ever one to know about…
    Thanks~

  102. Peyton

    her story is amazing. It really inspired me. I think thats stupid about making diving girls stop diving, if the horses didnt want to jump then they wouldnt and they would refuse.

  103. Sharon Orlofske

    Sonora Webster Carver has been my hero since the day I read her book, “A Girl and Five Brave Horses”. You can still get her book by going to your local library and asking them to get the book for you through Interlibrary loan. There is a group devoted to Sonora. We have information to share, files and photos the horses, Sonora, Al, Doc Carver, Arnette, and others from the act. To subscribe: http://www.divinghorses-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

  104. Julia

    i saw the film when i was young and i decided, if i would have a daughter, i will give her the name sonora. and now, i have one and her second name is sonora. :)
    the movie was so great and i admire sonora webster-carver. i associate her(and her name sonora too) with power, self-assurance, willpower, courage, assertiveness and love too.
    and yes, i’m also watching for her book. i know, it is expensive, but it doesn’t matter.
    does anyone knows where i can get it??? in austria it’s hard to get it in a libary….
    does it exist only in english languages or also in german???
    it would be nice if anyone will contact me to talk and find out more about her.
    muhra2001@yahoo.com

  105. Laci Seabourn

    The movie Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken will always be my all time favorie movie. I would love to dive horses just like she did. This has been my dream since the first time I watch the movie in 1999 at the age 2. I love her gray horse Lightening in the movie. I have a Quarter Horse mare that looks just like him. Next gray horse I get is going to be named Lightening. I love gray horses. My first horse is the gray I still have. I have had her since she was born. I will have owned her for 12 years come March 24. Her name is Star. She makes up for the fire and spirit I sometimes lack. She had a filly in 2004. Me and my grandma named her Docs Oklahoma Dreamcatcher. Her and Star keep my dreams alive. Since I can’t dive horse I want to learn how to trick ride. Thanks! I love you Star!

  106. Mary Ellen

    I also saw the movie and loved it. Its a shame the book could not be available for people who would like to read it. It is too expensive for most people the cheapest I’ve seen it was 300.00

  107. Sandra

    I’m currently reading the book right now – a girl and give brave horses that sonora wrote. it’s amazing and has some really good pictures. I got it through an interlibrary loan. if you don’t want to pay like $500 dollars, try interlibrary loan. only takes a couple weeks and it’s worth reading. there’s alot of insight in her book and it’s neat reading about her experiences and her feelings.
    the movie wild hearts can’t be broken is my favorite movie, so if you loved the movie, you’ll love the book. of course they’re both a bit different from eachother. since there was actually 5 horses they used to dive. it’s just an incredible book so get it if you can !!!!

  108. Lorna Debenedictis

    I have loved the story of the diving girl and her horse. My grandfather had told me the story of the diving girl a few times. We are from CT, but he said that back in the late 20’s, early 30’s he actually saw this death defying act. The women he saw probably was Sonora Webster Carver. Being a horse man his whole life, and the last of the real cowboys, he was truly in awe. He passed away a few years ago and every time I watch the movie I think of my grandfather and what an awesome lady Sonora must have been, I wished I could have met her. Thank you for sharing.

  109. Farris

    When I was a little girl, my mom bought the movie about Sonora for me. I never parted with it. I told everyone that was what I was going to do when I grew up. I use to put blankets on the edge of the couch and an old pocket book of my moms with wooden handles (for the bars that Sonora grabbed onto while diving) and I would act out every part with her through the entire movie. I still know it word for word to this day.

  110. kimberly amaya

    Just watched wild hearts can’t be broken with my daughter Sonora. Yes I named her after Sonora Webster Carver after watching the film several years earlier. I brought the DVD after my daughter asked me how I had picked her name. After watching the film, I said her name meant strength, courage, and never giving up on her dreams and that I picked her name with these qualities in mind.

  111. Dixie

    I watched the movie when I was about 10 and fell in love with it. I just got finished watching it and got on here. It really saddens me the Mrs. Carver died, I would have loved to meet her and Al too. I have a question is he still alive?

  112. Rhumer

    I am absolutely amazed by the life of Sonora Webster Carver. I saw the movie “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” just today at school and fell in love with it. I am now going to ask my library to loan “A Girl and Five Brave Horses” so I can read it. She is a real inspiration to me. I think I’ll name my daughter Sonora (if I have a daughter.) Her courage and perseverance is utterly tear-worthy. I almost cried right in front of my classmates. I was appalled to learn that shew died. She is my Number One Hero! Live in peace, Sonora. You will be alive for a long while, even though you are dead.
    Totally Inspired,
    Rhumer

  113. joseph harner

    I met her, she called herself ella carver-grabbe-sp? she showed me atrunk full of memorabilia- this was in mountain view arkansas,circa 1970,—- she lived in a trailor,and i went there with her son, who i worked with in memphis tn., at univ. of Tn. medical hosp. ———- anyone who knows this story contact me, she told me a very different story from any i have heard or seen——— josephwharner@yahoo.com

  114. babyqs4

    I just recently bought the “Wild hearts cant be broken” movie on dvd for kids since i loved it so much as a kid. Its still great and i love that its a true story. What a wonderful woman.

  115. Tammy

    no disrespect mr joesph harner, but could someone have just pulled your leg? maybe she was a fan or something??
    im certainly no expert, i ve seen the movie over and over and love it each time. and iam now looking for information on her, just for personal reasons. im really interested in her life and story. im certainly glad i found this site. i wish there was site with more information and pictures of her and al, and the family? did she have children? maybe someone with the history and knowledge will one day contruct a website
    Farewell

  116. scott

    hey tammy. sonora was my great aunt. my dad has tons of info on sonora. lemme know if you wanna ask him anything, and i’ll get you his email address. i used to talk to her when i was a kid. she had fun stories. later.

  117. Torey

    I don’t think it’s natural for people to dive 40-60 feet into a pool of water 10-12 feet deep. I imagine it would be really scarry at first, but exciting and normal after several successful jumps. Horses are hearty animals, I spent a lot of time around them growing up as my grandma had several. I don’t think they were any more in danger than the riders. Too bad we cat’t ask them. I would think, for a horse, that diving in shows might be more exciting than carrying people around or just grazing in a field. Don’t be so extreme in your concern over something so rediculous. Obviously the diving horses were loved and well cared for.

  118. Wanda

    I am amazed at the life and story on Senora Webster Carver. I just saw the movie today for the first time while channel surfing. What a rare find! I was so moved by her life’s story that I came immediately to the internet to find out more about her. I will definately be looking out to purchase the movie and have my teenage daughter watch it. I will also be checking with my library to get a copy of her biography to read. I am still in awe…..

  119. Amy E.

    I saw the movie for the first time when I was 13 years old, the year it came out. I’ve had horses my entire life, come from a family of independent/ extremly strong willed women and LOVE her story. If anyone has some, I would love pictures sent to my email amysphoenix417@yahoo.com (pictures that aren’t on the internet). BECKY, if you still read this, it sounds like you have some. It’s a shame that so many people are quick to bash horse diving and/or their riders, especially someone as great as Mrs. Carver. Sonora was and will always be an inspiration not only to women but ALL human kind. We could all use a more of her spirit and attitude in life. I can tell you first hand that if a horse doesn’t want to do something, it doesn’t. One of my horses, Bandy Sugar Bars, was very loving but if you tried to canter with her she would throw ANYONE off. Trot, sure she loved to but don’t make her run. One of my other horses, Chieftens Pojo, NEVER hurt anyone, one day I was riding him and he started to cow-hop, he just didn’t want to be ridden that day. Stop attacking Sonora & others who dove and have passed on. After all it was out lawed the year I was born, 1978, 29 years ago! Let’s remember that amazing time as a part of our countrys great historical events. May all those who are gone rest in peace. Sonora, I wish I could have met you, we will never forget you and what we have learned from your long and amazing life. I envy all that knew and are related to you.

  120. Jenny H

    I have seen Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken over and over, this is truly my movie. People often ask me what it is because I have it posted on my board, and I tell them it is about a very brave girl and tell them they need to see it. Sonora Webster Carver you are an amazing women, and you will always be remembered. If anyone should have any more information about her please send it to me.
    I have seen some relatives on here and I would really love to hear more about this amazing women.
    Thank you and bless
    Jenn
    sparkysgwid@yahoo.ca

  121. Lynne Mock

    I loved this movie about Sonora – WOW she was a great women!! I live in a small town in Georgia called Waycross and I think I heard in the movie “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” that Sonora was also from Waycross. Am I right? Please answer this question for me, I have puzzled over this for years now and desperately want to know if I am correct. Also does anyone know how I can get a DVD copy of the movie “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken”? My email address is : metco@wayxcable.com please anyone out there with any answers to my questions please, please feel free to contact me ASAP!! Thanks, Lynne Mock

  122. Lynn/Jaelynn Sonora

    I named my daughter after Sonora Carver. Since she has been a baby, Jaelynn Sonora (Norrie) has been fearless, a dive girl in spirit! Just this year I took Norrie to the fair, she rode the “Tornado” and this ride when you go on your stomach, whipping through the air.
    My heart goes out to Sonora–ride on! You will be dearly missed and dearly loved.

  123. robert

    Hello:
    in case anyone is interested I just recently acquired Sonora Carver’s personal scrapbooks and posters and hundreds of photographs fro the 20’s on..

  124. Amanda

    Hello! I am very interested in learning more about Sonora and her family. I have been in love with her inspirational story since the movie first came out. Like many people on this page, I am very interested in reading her book, “A Girl and Five Brave Horses.” I actually found one on ebay but was outbid at the last second and now can not find a copy for under $300. I would like to write to the publishing house to see if there can be a re-issue of this book. It seems like there are plenty of people out there who want to read this book. Maybe if enough of us ask for more of these great books to be published we will have a chance to read Sonora’s story in her own words. Just a thought! :-)

  125. bridget bense

    I am writing a story on Sonora. I have watched Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. I think it is a great story of how you can over come anything in your life. She tought me that no matter how hard life gets you can always over come that little or giant thing.

  126. danni

    hi my name is danni brown and i have seen the movie to i fell in love with it it is a great show she is a nice person in my opion and have a dream that she wanted and made that dream come ture some day i want to be just like her doing her dream
    i am a 13 yeat old girl who love sorna

  127. Stephanie

    I loved Wild hearts can’t be broken, it’s one of my favorite movies. Gabrielle did a good job portraying her and I LOVE horses. But in my research I found that alot of people believe they loved the 5 horses dearly(not saying they didn’t) but I just read that two of the horses,Gamal and Shiloh, were sold to an auction to be bought for any amount of money, if not bought they would have been sold to a slaughter house. Luckily they were rescued. I love the whole diving horses thing, but I’m kinda glad it’s not legally allowed anymore, ever since 1978, when they made it by law that horses could no longer be allowed to dive, due mostly to animal activist saying diving horses was cruelty to animals. I also read that on Sunday, February 17, 18yr old Oscar Smith dove one time and something went wrong and he died, the horse did not. I don’t mean to seem like I am disrespecting anyone but I was shocked when I heard that about the two horses. The movie wasn’t exactly how her life went, she went blind after 7 yrs of diving from a bad fall causing her to suffer from detached retinas. May she rest in peace and I will buy and keep this movie and love it and watch it forever.

  128. Arna

    hi i’m a 16 years old girl from iceland. since i first saw the movie wild hearts can’t be broken (when i was about 10), i’ve loved it. i watched it many times with my friends and just yesterday with my little sister and she also loved it. i would love to read the book a girl and five brave horses but i’m not sure if it’s available her in iceland:(
    i’m so glad to see that so many people are inspired by sonora webster carver and i know that i am. may you rest in peace

  129. Shabs

    I’m 15 yrs old, And I have got to say that the first time i watched Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken i fell in love with Sonora Webster. I look up to her so much for her courage and determination. After watching the movie, i really believed i could do anything i put my mind to. i mean, if sonora could do it, why not me? -God Bless. I hope the best.

  130. Amber

    I can never get tired of watching Wild Heart Can’t Be Broken. I really love the movie and I can’t wait to own it on DVD. I think that Gabrielle Anwar did a great job in the movie. I thought her love interest was hot in the movie. I wish he didn’t give up on the movie buisness because he did a great job in the movie as well. Mrs. Carver is great and her memory will live on.

  131. Erika

    Hi Robert, I met Sonora as a young child and used to talk to her on the phone quite a bit and write to her and Arnette. I still have all my things saved in a scrap book. She has pictures of my horse and I in her scrap books… do you have those. She told me that they were going to be placed in the Smithsonian. Please let me know, as I’d love to see those scrap books again. The last time I tried to talk to Sonora she was in the nursing home and not able to hear really well. I loved her and Arnette as though they were family. Please get back to me. Thanks!
    Erika

  132. Sarah

    I have read as much as I can find on Sonora Webster Carver. And I compeatly believe that she was a leader for all woman to look up to, I saw Wild Hearts Cant Be Broken and fell in love with her, her life and thru all the obsticals she over came. She never gave up on things even when it got a bit bad. She is a legand and I think one of the most brave, couragous, free sprit. All my respect to her. Question? Does any one know about any thing of in place of honnorment to her? I think that if it has not been done, it should.

  133. John Leeman

    Hi all you diving horse enthusiasts. I can truly appreciate your enthusiasm since my mom, Jacque Leeman (maiden name Booth), was also a diving horse rider in the early days with Sonora for many years even after I was born. In fact she met my Dad Charlie at the Steel Pier where he was in the water sports show. I have great though hazy memories of swimming in the horse tank and being involved with many of the acts since I was the honorary “mascot” of all the performers being just a little kid at the time. I know those days with so many wonderful people at the Steel Pier were the among the greatest times of my mom & dad’s life. Both Al & Sonora used to visit us and I remember Al giving me advice regarding winning prizes at carnival games which he ran later in his life. My mom was born in Waycross, Ga, where I understand Sonora was also born, and joined the show when they wintered there. It is now my home since retirement. By the way mom always stressed “THE HORSES WERE NEVER FORCED”.

  134. Becky McKeehan

    I knew Sonora when she brought her act to Playland Park in the early 50’s. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit her and watch her cook and clean house. The only rule she gave me was that if I moved something I must put it back where it was in the beginning. I don’t know why but watching her cook fascinated me. After she fried bacon she would let the grease cool. Then she would place a piece of cheesecloth over the top of a “grease can” and pour the grease into the cheesecloth to drain it. She also would let me brush her horse. What a thrill to see the movie about her life. I had always admired her as a child and even more as an adult.

  135. Beth Warren

    I too loved the movie “Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken” and am lucky enough to have a copy of Sonora’s autobiography. I wish I could have met her or spoken to her. To the person who bought her scrapbooks – if you would be willing to sell copies of any photographs (you can copy photographs at Target or Shop Rite or other stores, you don’t need a negative), please email me at warrenb@rider.edu. I was bedridden for 5 yrs in high school and watching “Wild Hearts” and reading Sonora’s autobiography gave me the courage to keep going. If you or any of her relatives have photos of Sonora, I’d love to pay to get a copy of one, to frame for my room, to remind me to keep going even when it’s tough, as Sonora did. She was an amazing lady, and I’m envious of those of you who are related to her or had the opportunity to meet her.
    Sincerely,
    Beth

  136. Jen Towers

    I saw Wild Hearts Cant Be Broken when I was a kid and I fell in love with the movie. It inspired me to chase my dreams no matter how impossible they seemed. I became so enamoured with the movie that I looked Sonora Carver up in a New Jersey phone book and wrote a letter in hopes that it was her. AND IT WAS! Her sister Arnette wrote me back telling me to call Sonora…what a dream come true for a 14 year old horse obsessed odd ball kid. I still to this day am so grateful that she took the time to make me feel special, telling me about her life and even sending pictures. She was an amazing woman and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know her. She is and always will be missed.

  137. MICHELLE MC RAE

    I JUST WATCHED “WILD HEARTS CAN’T BE BROKEN”. AFTER READING SO MANY WONDERFUL COMMENTS ABOUT SONORA WEBSTER, THE TITLE RINGS TRUE. THE MOVIE HAS INSPIRED ME TO READ THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND SHARE WITH MY STUDENTS.

  138. Zandra Falcon

    Since the movie “Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken came out I’ve watched it a hundred times over. I’m really surprised to find any information on Sonora Webster. I wish I’d have looked into her actual life history many years ago. She was an amazing person. If anyone has more information on her life history or pictures, please share.
    E-mail zanarbanana@yahoo.com

  139. BonnieLynnette

    “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” has been my favorite movie for years. The story has always touched my heart. I recently asked my chiropractor for copies of pictures that he has in his office of a diving girl in the 60’s named Barbra Gose. She’s a patient of his and gave him the pictures some time ago. The receptionist was kind enough to ask Mrs. Gose for copies of the pictures and not only did she leave copies of the pictures for me, but a copy of a children’s book called “The girl on the high diving horse”, a book that Sonora’s little sister Arnette helped write in 2003. In the author’s note it was mentioned that Arnette had passed since the book was published but that Sonora herself was still living in Jersey. I was so happy to hear that she was still alive and went straight home to go online to get contact information to write her and tell her how much her story means to me and I was greatly dissapointed to learn that she had passed away in 2003.
    I just want to say that, even though I never met Sonora Carver, I feel that she was an extrodinary woman that showed incredible bravery. She stood strong for what she believed in and her heart was filled with much love. Watching her story gives me hope that maybe one day I will achieve MY dreams.
    If anyone has any pictures/articles/ect. on the high diving act, PLEASE email them to me. I’m working on building a collection to one day give to my daughter in hopes that it will touch her in the same way as me. I’m also curious to know if Al & Sonora had any children???
    My email address is: mybabyandmewillalwayzbe@yahoo.com
    Thanks!!!

  140. Sara

    Sonora Webster Carver has inspired me to continue my dreams of being able to hear again. At age eight I was hit with an illness that caused me to lose 70% of my hearing. To see that Sonora could overcome her blindness and live a normal life has filled me with hope. Thanks for reading this and I hope that you too have been inspired by Sonora Webster Carver.
    Sara

  141. bridgetbense

    I think that sonara really did make a difference after i read the book and saw the movie i wanted to be a diver so bad it relly had to take a lot of nerve. I felt so bad that she was blinded by what she loved to do. I cried when i read the book and when i saw the movie. Thanks and i love sonara xoxo bridget lynn bense

  142. Teryn

    I have read that it was Sept. 24th, not the 21st that she died, however, lord only knows which of the information is correct. Which makes one response to this incorrect as whoever posted that in 2008 was born before she met her must have been only 5 years old when they posted on this blog.
    I have been a fan of the movie since it came out and watched it throughout my late childhood till now. I knew it was based on a true story but would have loved to see it once in person in it’s glory day.
    I also read that Sonora was unhappy with the movie version seeing as how the only thing that held true was the diving, her accident, and continuing for 11 more years. It would have been interesting knowing the true drama that insued with Animal rights activists and how her and Al grew to love each other.

  143. Marcos Costa

    Eu moro no Brazil e somente na semana passada (26.07.2008) foi que tive a oportunidade de ver o filme sobre a vida de Sonora Webster Carver. Achei muito emocionante, uma verdadeira lição de vida e coragem.

  144. Laura

    Sonora was a great inspiration to all who knew her, heard her story or saw her dive. I never got the chance to do 2 of those, but recently found out that the movie I LOVED growing up as a child and in my early teens was actually based off a true story for the most part. I wish I had gotten the opportunity to meet her. I would have thanked her for being such a great person and inspiration to so many people and proving that if you set your mind to it, you really can do anything , especially if you love doing it to begin with.No matter if you are “disabled” or not.Most of all, I am thankful that She , like my little brother, was NEVER treated any different because of what society coins as a disability. Thru great support my Brother who was born with autistic traits over came EVERYTHING and graduated top of his class and is now following his dreams. May she forever rest in peace and be remembered as a great human being who really could do anything she wanted to.

  145. McKenzie

    Sonora Webster Carver was an Amazing woman.
    I think she was a great example (and should still be) to millions of women across the USA! If we all made such a big impact on the world even just small parts like our city, Imagine how different the world would be!

  146. Briana

    I received this movie for my birthday as a little girl when it first came out and love it still to this day, I am 23 now and still have the original VHS. Every once in a while i will still put it in and watch it. Very curious about her, I started to research her and found that alot of the movie wasnt true. She said that all that was true was that she dove horses and was blind. So if anyone has more information on her please email me at bre_03_@hotmail.com I would love to find out more!!!

  147. jennyhayes

    my name is jennifer hayes I’m 36 years old i love the movie wild hearts cant be broken. the whole cast was wonderful. i had a question. did aunt hellen really kick out ms webster carver? i thought that was mean. i bet she felt bad after she becme famous. ms webstercarver is an insperation and was everything in the movie true?
    i’d love to have pictures?
    love jen hayes

  148. somie

    I have been a fan of the movie Wild Hearts can’t be broken for many years, and still continue to watch it. I actually just got finished watching it again. I think this is the best movie of all time. If anyone has more info. please send it to me as I am interested.
    After reading some of these postings I am finding out more info on Sonora and her family.

  149. AngieBatgirl

    I loved ‘Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken” when I was younger. I remember watching it over and over. I watched it again, for the first time in years and decided to look up Mrs. Carver’s story on the internet. Imagine my surprise when I found out that she lived in the same town I do!

  150. Glenda D. Crosby

    Senora Webster Carver, was my great great cousin,
    my grandmothers first cousin. I remember spending
    many many times with my grandma telling me stories
    about Senora and her diving horses. It was like
    a fairy tale everytime she would tell me about her. She was such an inspiration to me as a young
    girl of 11 or 12. I am now 54, She would show me pictures of Senora on her diving horses and I would look at them for hours, I finally got to meet her when I was about 14 and her eye seeing dog, she came to my grandmothers house in Jacksonville, Florida to visit with her several times while she was living in New Orleans, with my great aunt Cleo Nall, after her husband passed away. She made such an impact
    on my life and my daughters as well, my daughter has loved horses and has had her share of horses as well. She has Senoras movie also, Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken and has watched it 500 times as a young girl, she is now 24, and has just bought two more horses. she has that passion just like Senora. Senoras story tells every young girl if there is a will there is a way, and with a little will and a lot of courage you can be and do exactly what you want and still be happy and prosper no matter what. No obsticle can stand in your way of your dream. I think every young girl shoud see this movie. I think it gives them appreciation for life it self. Senora is greatly missed by myself as well as many others for her
    love story of life it self. Along with her is missed the sweetest grandma in the world, Libby Gertrude Hanner. I love you Grandma & Grandpa!
    Glenda D. Crosby

  151. Shanda

    I watched this movie recently.. when I was 16v my best friend died and she loved this movie..Before her passing she mentioned it.. at the time I had no interest..I thought it was a dull disney movie… 12 years later I just watched it..It really moved my heart. It showed me so much about my friend as well. She reminds me so much of the mian charecter.. Sonara. I cant put into words How it moved me .. Thanks

  152. Luther Arnette

    I met Sonora on a trip she and her brother in law took to Baton Rouge to visit my Aunt Virgie (her cousin). To say the least it was an interesting afternoon which has given me many years of good memories. She was a nice lady and full on inspirations for everyone…
    Luke

  153. Amy Ausbun

    When I first watched Wild Hearts Cant Be Broken I fell in love with it.It taught me that when u want something bad enough u will do anything to make it happen.And I loved how Al fell in love with her and stuck by her thru the whole thing.She was an amazing woman I thought that they would have had kids.How long were they married for?Also in the movie it didnt seem like she was 19 when she answered the ad….this movie will remain a fave of mine 4 ever…know the movie by heart!!!….Rest In Peace Sonora…

  154. Kristen K

    I just finished reading A Girl and Five Brave Horses. SUCH an amazing autobiography. I have also seen the movie and have just been so inspired by her stories. If any of her remaining relatives are reading this, I’d truly appreciate any chance to obtain more pictures, stories, etc. Please email me at: Ariel2582@hotmail.com

  155. michelle

    I love “wild hearts can’t be broken” when I was younger, everytime I saw the movie was on I had to run to watch it and then I had taped it on a vhs. I’m 24 now and have a two year old son and we will watch this move over and over again on the same vhs tape from when I was young. I never knew she was still alive untill 2003. wow what a wonderful women. I wouder about her husband “Al” if hes still alive? Well I just love her life story and now found out about her book “Girl and Five Brave Horse” so I’ll have to go buy it.
    Rest In Pece Sonora.

  156. Alfie Adams

    If anyone is interested, “A Girl and Five Brave Horses” has recently been reprinted and issued in hardbound form (in nearly what was formerly known as a “trade” edition, with no dust cover). I just last week bought a new copy from Amazon for about $26. Sonora Webster Carver was a unique, captivating, and inspiring woman, and her biography is a fascinating read that is difficult to put down – I finished it in two sessions. While “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” *is* a very good movie, I can’t help but wonder about the motivation for the script-writer to so blatantly deviate from the book. I know that movies seldom follow the books on which they are based with much fidelity, but usually the reasons are obvious. Most often this is done to add drama and interest to the story. In the case of Sonora Carver’s life, this is not possible. The book is far more interesting and dramatic than the plot of the movie, particularly the chain of events that happened on Steel Pier in the days leading up to her first dive after being blinded. That chapter was as riveting as the climax of a Stephen King novel (no spoiler – sorry, spring for the book:-) I did generally know of her story as a child, since I grew up in the Atlantic City area. (I actually did see a diving horse with girl rider act there when I was a lad, but this was well after she and Al had retired, so I have no idea who was running the act. I also seem to recall that the platform height was considerably lower than 40 feet.) However, I had no idea that she was still alive and in the area until I saw her obituary. It’s a bit sad that someone whose life was so intertwined with the history of Atlantic City was living here, unrecognized and unheralded until she died, although perhaps that was her preference.

  157. Sonora

    My mom named me after Sonora Webster Carver, And now i am 13, and it never occured to me that i should look up my name sake, and now i am amazed! All that i want for christmas is “A Girl and Five Brave Horses!” Sonora was SOOOOO Beautiful!

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