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. California Gary

    I'd like to root for the horse, I really would. But I just can't get excited about a dancing horse......if it wins, then we can go around saying "our horse can outdance your horse"...........somehow that just doesn't do it for me.

    August 2, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Sirned

    One of the members of the Royal family of Great Britain rode her horse in the 3 stage eventing dressage, cross country and stadium jumping. Now that's a hardworking equestrian. Her Family including Prince Harry and Prince William were watching her in the stands. Both boys served in their military...Now contrast that with the Romneys...They bought their horses rider and none of their boys served in the military. Mitt dodged the draft when he was called to serve and Mitt wasn't man enough to tell the press he was going to support his wife's love of horses and watch a once in a lifetime event for her. Instead he pretended he wasn't interested for political reasons... The Romneys are new flashy money ...The worst kind of snobs...

    August 2, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. HEHE

    It's a good thing Ann Romney is super rich because normies in America don't get health insurance if they have MS.

    August 2, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. anagram_kid

    lies from obama (and mabye his father) wrote “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?”
    ---------------
    It was listed in the only tax return he has released. Just out of curiosity, where did you hear that our economy ‘absolutely terrible’? Yes we are coming out of a recession, but absolutely terrible? That is just not true. Do most people have jobs, homes and will eat today? You have no idea how well off we actually are. Hyperbole Facts.

    August 2, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. bluedogboy

    At least its not a pony.

    I never liked the kids in my neighborhood who owned ponies.

    August 2, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. glorydays

    Many talented horses were by passed to get this horse in the Olympics. Politics are not new to the industry.

    August 2, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    s 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?
    ----------------------
    It was in the 2010 tax return that Romney released *several months* ago. Coincidently, Romney had to revise his financial statement with the Federal Election Comission, and add a few things revealed in his tax return. In other words, his original financial statement with the FEC was errorneous in a very significant way.

    August 2, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Steve in CT

    For you non believers, the deduction for the horse is on page 193 of Romney's 2010 return

    August 2, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Wanna bet if Rafalca wins gold, Romney goes up 20 points on the President? I remember when OBL was killed, President Obama's approval rating went up only 2 percentage points and by month's end, his approval rating dropped 4 percentage points because of the economy. That is how Americans weigh in on politics these days. Remember when the Affordable Care Act was passed, how the GOP accused the President of socialism and then used fearmongering to get Americans to give control of the House of Representatives back to them? So in retrospect, President Obama has had not four but actually only two years to clean up eight years of mess because when the teapublicans took control of the House, the President's agenda froze like the Cold War. I just hope Americans are smarter next time around.

    August 2, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. Hoosier

    i'm sick & tired of people complaining about others being successful! SO WHAT IF THE ROMNEYS HAVE WEALTH! Their wealth is employing OTHER people. Hmmm.... they bought a horse – someone is THRILLED to have sold that horse... someone is THRILLED they are grooming that horse and are taking PRIDE in the fact that a horse they're affiliated with is in the Olympics! Everbody can make their OWN opportunities to be successful. Quit belly-aching that instead of making your own wealth you're sitting around complaining that others took advantage of their opportunities as opposed to SITTING ON THE ARSE complaining!!!

    August 2, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. Expat American

    The medal for the winning horse will be as big as a pizza.

    August 2, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. me

    A truly real American family,,,,BS.

    August 2, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. anagram_kid

    lies from obama (and mabye his father) wrote “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?”
    It was listed in the only tax return he has released. Just out of curiosity, where did you hear that our economy ‘absolutely terrible’? Yes we are coming out of a recession, but absolutely terrible? That is just not true. Do most people have jobs, homes and will eat today? You have no idea how well of we actually are. Hyperbole is not a substitute for facts.

    August 2, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Terri

    Okay Cnn – stop with the fluff for your boy Robmey – what about the Harry Reid story over on Huffington Post – he has PROOF Robmey didn't pay taxes for 10 years from a Bain board member and he is NOT backing down on this story – you are becoming Faux News Light – CNN!

    August 2, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Just thinking.......wonder if anne is in London watching her horse....or was she to embarrassed to go back....lol The point is .. Its good to be successful and rich but not when your offer policies against others that are not like you..

    according to wikipedia....Anne ROMNEY parents could not attend her wedding ceremony because they were not mormon.....Upon death her mom was baptized and her father baptised after death.(.like jews all over the world have been into the mormon religion via a cermony) . Annes parrents were allowed to attend a breakfast across the street,however. So apply this to how he will be as President??????Maybe this explains Mitt Romney and his views.
    VOTE OBAMA

    August 2, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. iab

    The horse is considered a business or is incorporated. All expenses are a write off so Romney took a $77k write off since the horse does not generate revenue. Another loop hole for the wealthy. Since the congressmen in the house are usually lawyers they make the laws to benefit themselves and the wealthy who make LARGE contributions to their campaigns. Check Koch Brothers, Atleman, other billionaires who want to set this country 200 years, middle class becomes surfs, slaves with no benefits and if you complain you get fired or beat. There are no absolutes but most of the wealthy give less than a dam about the middle class in America. Their only interest is CONTROL.

    August 2, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @ The Real Tom Paine

    And I'm sure all the people he employed to train, feed, groom, shelter, ride, cuddle and kiss Rafalca Robmoney are severely underpaid.

    August 2, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Slow news day. Again. Shame on you, CNN.

    August 2, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Myviewis

    Terri

    Okay Cnn – stop with the fluff for your boy Robmey – what about the Harry Reid story over on Huffington Post – he has PROOF Robmey didn't pay taxes for 10 years from a Bain board member and he is NOT backing down on this story – you are becoming Faux News Light – CNN!
    -------------------------------–

    That's just a gimmick from Harry Reid to see if he can force Romney to produce his tax returns in an attempt to prove Harry Reid is lying.

    August 2, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. JCQueipo

    The economy is bad blame Obama, there are no jobs blame Obama, Gas is very expensive Blame Obama, my friends the economy is BAD all over the WORLD,even China is having problems !!!!

    August 2, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. fbythesea

    Do we think she'll pay taxes on her winnings if she gets the gold medal? Doubtful.

    August 2, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. Sirned

    My favorite Anne story is when she told reporters that She and Mitt struggled finacially in college. She said they contemplated cashing in some of their stocks to help pay some bills...lol Google the story I think it's when Mitt was running for Senate or Governor... It's true and funny how out of touch these two are about life for main street...

    August 2, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. jd

    Romney's plan for economic growth and job development-convince the remaining1%ers to invest in dressage horses and their training. Imagine the jobs (minimum wage jobs for labor oriented work) created by the needs of these horses and a boost to the equine insurance industry providing health and laibilty insurance for the horses. gotta protect those investments. Oh to be a dressage horse owned by a1%er

    August 2, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. Jack

    Next week, we can cheer on the Romney Yayht in the America's cup. It's amazing what paying no taxes (and screwing the middle class) can get you.

    August 2, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. British American

    So here's my question: how did Romney's horse get to the UK? Did they strap it to the roof of their car like their dog Shamus? Maybe onto the roof of their airplane?

    August 2, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
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