Here's an amazing video of the Steeplechase mechanical horse ride at Steeplechase Park, Coney Island, in the early 1900s

Originally published at:




In that case you should take a trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach:


Beat me to it.

The old stuff has kept me going to Blackpool PB, but they’re gradually replacing everything with modern white knuckles.


If the video accurately shows the horses’ speed, then those women must have had their giant hats firmly pinned down to keep them on their heads. Men’s hats, too, though they offered less wind resistance. Maybe the race with the big-hatted outfits was staged. I notice that in other scenes many women and men aren’t wearing hats. I wonder if an employee went out and gathered lost hats after each race.


To win, all you needed to do was hold on for dear life and be seated on the horse that reached the finish line first. Yeehaw!

Assuming all the horse and track were equal (yeah - very unlikely) was it just least weight of passengers that determined who won, or was there some devious operator intervention?

The New York Times, Sat, Feb 17, 1900, Page 9



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Who knew that horses have handlebars.

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The current steeple chase at Coney doesn’t have seat belts either, but instead well hidden pneumatic restraints. The scariest part of the ride is when the device engages your entire lower body, and just as quickly as the brain is realizing this new bonded reality the countdown timer begins and away it goes.

I spent the entire ride looking forward to getting off the damn thing.


Probably done by the same people who made tractors with reins. :smile:


I was thinking the same thing. Individual tracks would have differences, and horses could be more or less lubricated, but the speed should be determined by the mass, mostly.

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Love those hats. They certainly knew how to wear them back then.

Riders had them.


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That was splendid.

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I think the emphasis is on “gradually” here. There have only been two rollercoasters constructed at Blackpool Pleasure Beach THIS CENTURY: Infusion (2006, but started life as Traumatizer at Southport Pleasureland in 1999) and Icon (2018). The average age of the eight other roller coasters is 65.7 years.

Agree. But I’m also interested in the closures:

  • the mouse-themed woodie
  • haunted house
  • ghost train
  • the log flume that wasn’t valhalla
  • the space one inside the fake hill. Totally justified - the queues were outrageous for the ride, but it had charm.
  • whip
  • Noah’s Ark. Now I don’t remember it being anything but a rotting mess, but it was original or near-original.

Add to that valhalla has had bits turned off since it was booted up for cost-saving, The Big One keeps breaking down and hitting the news, and my experience of the PB is that it’s in decline.

At the other park, forgot its name right now, we lost the “longest (european?) wooden roller coaster” through the pandemic as they pivoted to being a small-kids theme park.

I know, I know, there’s not enough market to support the sort of thing I want. But I’ll still sit here shaking my fist at the sky.

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