Horserace turns (almost) literal in London
Jan Ebeling rides Rafalca in the Dressage Grand Prix at Greenwich Park in London
August 2nd, 2012
08:52 AM ET
2 years ago

Horserace turns (almost) literal in London

(CNN) – The political horserace turned into an actual horserace Thursday in London. Or at least a horse ballet.

Rafalca, the mare co-owned by Ann Romney, made her Olympics debut at Greenwich Park, competing in the individual Dressage Grand Prix event against a crowded field that included horses from at least seventeen other nations.

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Rafalca and her rider Jan Ebeling scored a 70.243 in the first round of competition, which put them in thirteenth place after one day of competition.

The next round takes place Friday.

Rafalca earned her spot on the U.S. Olympic team in June, when she placed third in the Olympic Grand Prix Special Test, held in Gladstone, New Jersey.

Dressage requires a combination of "the strength and agility of gymnastics with the elegance and beauty of ballet," according to the U.S. Equestrian Federation. The sport takes place in an arena and routines are judged on "accuracy of the transitions (changes of gait), obedience, suppleness of the horse, quality of the gaits, and the rider's use of aids."

Ann began riding horses when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, and has said the sport has helped lessen the symptoms of the inflammatory disease.

In an interview soon after Rafalca qualified for the London Games, Ann Romney said she was "excited, honestly, to be able to represent the United States."

"I have a horse that is going to be fighting for gold in London and I am very excited about that. Wow! It has been a dream of mine for a long, long time, ever since I was a little girl," Romney continued.

Romney said she did ride Rafalca herself, but the level of competition in London was beyond her abilities.

"I do ride this horse, but not in competition," Romney said. "People say, 'Well you can ride at that level,' and I say, "Well…" It's like being the country club pro in one place, and then going to Wimbledon. You don't understand how professional these riders are that are riding at this level. It's quite competitive."

Mitt Romney, however, said as the Olympics began last week that he would not watch Rafalca and Ebeling compete.

"I'm not even sure which day the sport goes on," Romney said on NBC. "She will get the chance to see it, I will not be watching the event."

The Democratic National Committee briefly used video of the Romney's Olympic-bound horse to portray the candidate as "dancing around the issues," but later discontinued using Rafalca because it could be seen as offensive to the GOP candidate's wife.

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Filed under: Ann Romney • Olympics
soundoff (318 Responses)
  1. Z

    The rich stay rich. And a lucky few get rich. Its been like this for how many years? 2,000+?

    August 2, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. dog1

    Once more a Romney does not quite know how to relate. Mrs Romney says she's REPRESENTING the U.S. in the Olympics! Her husbands wealth bought it for what they would consider pocket change, someone else cares for it, for small pocket change, someone else trained it, for pocket change and she has someone else actually ride it in the competetion. It only shows that their idea of doing anything is to throw out some money and have someone else do the work, and yeah, she's "representing" what this country is becoming! "Fighting for the Gold" kind of reminds us of a Romney hiding out in France and allowing someone else to do his "fighting" in Viet Nam huh.

    August 2, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. cwfusto

    HOW come they don't mention the fact that "romney's horse" is owned by two other women as well, and that these THREE ladies rescued this horse from a debilitating sickness????

    August 2, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  4. What??

    In response to Mike Dallas, it should also be noted that when Pension guaranty funds take over, they give the old folks only a fix amount. In most case old folks have to go back to work to fill the income gap. That is the sad part while mitt and his friend own race team, horse and a car elevator.

    August 2, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. Catherine

    UDidntBuildThat...The big difference between Romney and Obama is that Romeny is saying his taxes should go down and the middleclass taxes should go up. Obama is saying Romney and his taxes should go up and the middleclass taxes should go down. Romney is looking out for himself and people like him. He doesn't give a hair off his butt what happens to the rest of us. As for unemployment, the investment class has had a tax-cut since Bush was in office so they could create jobs. They didn't do it. Do they still deserve a tax cut? What did they do with the money they didn't pay in taxes? The economy is kind of like a freight train. When it is slowing down, it takes time to get going again. I don't think it really didn't matters who was president these past 3 yrs. I think they would have had the same problem.

    August 2, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. PHinMiami

    Good Grief! Mitt the Twit has outsourced his horse.

    Still, his mighty steed was good for a $70K TAX write-off.

    August 2, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. johnmenacherjr

    Seriously I think this horse blows big time ! What next , let them eat cake. No one I know period has a therapy that requires our tax dollars to support like this. I think its a slap in the face of All americans to have this big ofperk as she gets. No I dont think its not fair to say. I have every right to say what I want and even with the republican upper class snobs I dont care what you think. They pay less taxes than I. I have no insurance, no retirement and I am really sick of this crap being called new . Feel sorry for her and wonder horse not me!

    August 2, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. Richard

    The Romney's have it down pat. They definitely speak the same language. He is oing for the real GOLD. This way he can line his/friends pockets even more with you guessed it GOLD! Just like the misses, she's going for the GOLD! I wish they get everything they DESERVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 2, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Catherine

    Ruth Phillips...So you trust Romney because is wife loves her horse? Does this mean you don't like dogs? He put his dog on the roof for a ride down the highway and thought it funny the dog got sick. If you like Romney's policies (whatever they are), then fine, vote for him, but don't vote for him because his wife loves her horse.

    August 2, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Richard

    Well at least Mitt will get a $77,000.00 tax deduction.

    August 2, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Kate

    Beautiful horse! Dressage takes extreame training for both rider and horse. And horses are not an elitest sport, I show, breed and train horses. Make less than 30K and no entitlements. Yes, I do take them off on my taxes. Anyone in the same boat including all you jelouse put downers, would do the same thing because we pay too damn many taxes. if you don't like how he did businesses, start your own-quite biching. Then maybe you will understand how business works. Its time for a businessman to come back in the office. But I also choose to think for myself, not have government controlling my life. It makes me angry to pay all these taxes and see the list of people on entitlements on my dime. so yeah, I would still think its a beautiful horse even if Obama had it because its a beautiful animal. But we all know obama don't like animals.

    August 2, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  12. janice

    I see the need for horse theropy, but the one thing that I know of MS and cancer is that stress can do great harm.
    Has he not put her in the most stressfull position he could by running for President.

    August 2, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  13. BobInIrvine

    Anne Romney: "Well… It's like being the country club pro in one place, and then going to Wimbledon. You don't understand how professional these riders are that are riding at this level. It's quite competitive."

    Got Your Inner Marie Antoinette?

    August 2, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. Techknowledgy

    Someone explain to me how this hobby qualifies for a $77.000.00 tax exemption as a business expense?

    August 2, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. lies from obama (and mabye his father)

    I have never heard, and honestly doubt, that Mitt Romney wrote off 77k for his wife's horses. I want to see where that has been proven. Or is it just more propaganda distracting from the real state of our economy, which is absolutly terrible? Can someone show me the facts, please?

    August 2, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. Ready

    Who cares what they own, did anyone care how awful rich the Kennedys were??

    August 2, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  17. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Mitt Romney's people are running a fearsome and aggressive campaign in Pennsylvania and doing all they can to win the Keystone state in November. I was just reading up on an article where it was stated that the steel industry has served as the backbone of modern society and the force that drove the industrial age in America. It was also reported that half of the steel produced in Pennslvania steel country, (go steelers) are used by our Auto industry, GM, Chrysler and Ford. Then there was yet another report I read where it was said that at the onset of the recession in 2008, the unemployment rate in PA had jumped from 7.6% to 9.5% by June 2008. Do you see the correlation here? As our Auto industry go, so does steel jobs in PA and vise versa. Unfortunately Mitt Robme told the Keystone State to go to hell when he said no to a bail out for our Auto industry. Hey Mitt Robme, Pennsylvania and Obama, perfect together in 2012!

    August 2, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    -Myviewis

    pkbkr

    Oh, to be rich and be able to buy a horse like this, no matter what the reason. I certainly sympathize with Mrs. Romney's MS; however, think what the money spent on this could do to help people without health insurance! Let them eat cake......or buy horses fit for the Olympics! Obama/Biden 2012
    ---------

    Think about all the people making a salary taking care of this horse, trainer, training fields, food & water suppliers, clothing, saddle, truck to move a horse, blankets, washing, insurance, permits, licenses, veterinarian fees, etc....lots of people benefit financially from just 1 horse. Go USA Team.
    *******************************
    Would you be so enthusiastic if the Obamas were part owners? I doubt it. My view of your opinions is that if there is an R at the beginning of the name, you grovel and genuflect in their direction. Were you unhappy when Chicago lost its bid to host the 2016 Games? You were probably cheering. Go USA Team? I doubt you really feel that.

    August 2, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Myviewis

    Z

    The rich stay rich. And a lucky few get rich. Its been like this for how many years? 2,000+?
    ---------------------

    You are right, I just read an article that Nancy Pelosi got richer this year, go figure, in this bad economy, apparently her wine sales are up.

    August 2, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. A conservatave with brains

    Let's hope the horse does better in London than Romney did.

    August 2, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. Sashatree

    Mitt Romney, however, said as the Olympics began last week that he would not watch Rafalca and Ebeling compete.
    "I'm not even sure which day the sport goes on," Romney said on NBC. "She will get the chance to see it, I will not be watching the event."

    Wow – that's a supportive husband, eh? What a schmuck.

    August 2, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. cchuck19131

    So, the article states that MS is an inflammatory disease. Make your way to Inglis House in Philadelphia, Pa., and you can first hand see how dibilitating the disease can be. Ann Romney got off lucky.

    August 2, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    -lies from obama (and mabye his father)

    I have never heard, and honestly doubt, that Mitt Romney wrote off 77k for his wife's horses. I want to see where that has been proven. Or is it just more propaganda distracting from the real state of our economy, which is absolutly terrible? Can someone show me the facts, please?
    ******************
    Your name shows your inability to handle any facts that are presented to you that do not affirm your beliefs. You don't want facts.

    August 2, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. Sashatree

    @ lies from Obama - It is indeed a FACT that Romney took and received a $77,000 tax deduction for Rafalca – per his 2010 tax returns he shared with the public. Horses are big business for people like the Romneys. They may love them, and I have no reason to believe they don't, but having spent a good portion (30+Yrs) of my life being around the horsey-set, I can tell you that the majority of these folks categorize their horses as business investments. By doing so, they are eligible to write off what they see as "losses" in their "investments", which is precisely what the Romneys did in 2010 (and I'm sure for every year before and since then.) There's nothing illegal about it. However, it's unethical and miserly, IMO, when you're as rich as the Romneys – and it certainly doesn't help his campaign because it just adds fuel to the fire about him being so filthy rich and elitist. Not to mention how stupid he was to dismiss his wife's (and the co-owners') horse being in the Olympics by saying how he didn't even know when the competition was, and then further added that he wasn't even going to bother watching it on TV! Makes him look like a completely unsupportive/dis-interested spouse if ever there was one!

    August 2, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Balanced99
    What is your point?
    Most of what you state is true but in typical right wing fashion you miss the gist, the meat, the point that being that these people are too disconnected and oblivious to the concerns and realities of most Americans. They are simply NOT interested in us.
    Nor we in them.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    August 2, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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