The beautiful and iconic Golden Gate Bridge has been San Francisco’s most photographed landmark for more than 79 years. May 27, 1937, was the first day the bridge was opened for pedestrian and a day later for cars. Today, nearly 112,000 cars use the 1.7-mile long suspension bridge as a popular route for transport to and from San Francisco. Let’s take a look at some of the horsey history of the golden gate.
Many people are aware of the magnificent history and the architecture that went along with the construction of the bridge. But not many know the weird and fascinating facts about it. For example, an 11-year old girl was separated from her family on the first day it opened. Thankfully, she was reunited with her family on the same day.
Animals, especially horses, also have a place in the history of the bridge. In 2005, an ostrich managed to escape from the cargo van that was passing the bridge and caused a major traffic jam. Even though the Government of California has prohibited horses which are being led, driven, or ridden on the bridge, some horses have managed to make a name for themselves in the horsy history of the golden gate. To date, only one horse has managed to cross the bridge on foot. He and his rider along with a massive crowd of pedestrians walked over the bridge on the very day it opened.
Another horse also tried to cross the bridge from Marin County towards the city of San Francisco in 2009. However, he and his rider were halted by the police and were made to call a trailer for a ride over the bridge.
A horse named Blackie is also renowned as the “horse that swam the Golden Gate” in the history of the bridge. The 12-year old horse was made to swim the deep and cold Golden Gate Strait that ran between the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco bay when a bet was made between his owner and a gambler friend on the proposition that horses couldn’t swim. While Shorty, the owner of Blackie, insisted that his horse is a great swimmer, his friend Bill Kyne believed otherwise. A wager for $1,000 was set between the two and Blackie was made to attempt a swim in the great river. Shorty’s brother offered sugar cubes to Blackie for motivation while Shorty who didn’t know how to swim held onto his horse’s tail for the very lengthy haul. But Blackie didn’t take too long. He was able to cross the river in just 23 minutes and 15 seconds – without sweating a brow.
Shorty won the bet and Blackie made his name in the horsey history for Golden Gate as the only horse to ever swim under the bridge of Golden Gate. Bravo Blackie! Check out the video of Blackie’s triumphant win here.