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
8 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. stephen l. walkinshaw

    Anyone you would vote a rich creep and his creepy wife into the white house, needs a free mental exam's payed for under the new health care act. Don't worry my poor brothers horse meat taste good.

    August 2, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Peggy - TX

    Poor Ann, so sad that she has MS. I think it reflects positive on Mitt that he Bought his wife her Olympic dreams.

    I can relate... I have a little one an extremely talented figure skater .. takes private lessons, takes ballet .. Ice Time is expensive .. especially so now that the local rink closed. I have to drive three towns away to use their rink and I had to chose b/w having medical insurance for myself, which was about a weeks wages and providing the opportunity for my hard working little one to pursue her Olympic dream of representing the US as a figure Skater in the Olympics . I was never able to detect any of these expenses from my taxes through ... I guess I am just not smart enough .. according to Mitt “Smart people don’t pay a lot of taxes.”

    I am not whining .. just saying “I relate ...”

    August 2, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |

    Democrats are stupid and hateful, I would never vote for a Democrat. Remember to vote for Mitt Romney this November.

    August 2, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. jack

    This just in: Romney's horse owns an offshore corporation for which Romney is retroactively the CEO, President, and sole shareholder. He does not have to pay any tax because the horse is not a person.

    August 2, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC


    Mitt Romney did not write the tax code. Everything he claimed in his taxes is perfectly legal and smart tax planning. You can discuss that with your Congressman., ie. OBAMA... at least on the days he bothered to show up.
    No one has accused Romney of breaking any laws. The problem is that Romney has an established pattern of submitting incomplete or inaccurate financial disclosure statements to election commissions. His 2010 tax return revealed that he had made MAJOR omissions to the FEC. Omissions that were so significant that it is difficult to argue that they were accidental omissions. He forgot to mention anything about any of his overseas accounts, properties, companies and activities.

    August 2, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Democrat = Liars

    What a double standard!!! If it was Michelle Obama's horse the comments would be how eloquent and classy she is.

    Just like when Obama went to have dinner with Jessica Parker at a high rise in NYC...

    What a bunch of hypocrites...

    August 2, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |

    Anything to avoid the story about the tea potty telling Mitt the twit to move to the right,or else.

    August 2, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. Alaskatrailrunner

    Brenda said: "Mitt Romney did not write the tax code. Everything he claimed in his taxes is perfectly legal and smart tax planning. You can discuss that with your Congressman., ie. OBAMA... at least on the days he bothered to show up."

    Here's the thing, Bren. Romney didn't his share of taxes NOT because he didn't follow the tax code, but because he deliberately hid his earnings offshore. Do we really want a President who makes US pay MORE taxes, while he himself can't even pay his share? I don't. I think he's less than patriotic.

    August 2, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. NFLFan77

    Give it up you class-warfare obsessed know nothings! Obviously the Romneys have the financial ability to buy nice horses and have them trained by good trainers (good for them) but there are TONS of horse lovers around the world who scrimp and save and go without in order to own a horse or participate in equestrian activities. The sport is expensive but is not exclusive to the wealthy. I have been involved in the horse industry for years–and I'm not rich. I have made sacrifices, I drive a car (not a Benz or a Bentley!) w/ almost 300,000 miles on it. I work hard but rather than spend money on cars, clothes or other status symbols, I have chosen to spend what I can on horses. Their therapeutic value simply can't be disputed or overstated. I hope Ann's horse wins gold! Get a life and quit trying to incite class warfare. There are plenty of average Joe's who own horses...and support Mitt Romney.

    August 2, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. winchester74

    A horse is a horse of course of course – unless of course it's a Romney horse -- and then it's a tax deduction – of course of course ......

    August 2, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. winchester74

    "horses are people my friend"

    August 2, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Cyntha L.

    Mitt, the one-trick-trickle down pony.

    Cost of a Dancing Horse--$500,000.00 PLUS $77,000.00 PER YEAR UPKEEP (Family Fun is Deductible)
    Cost of a new Windsurfer--$1,800.00

    August 2, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. Russ in Md

    The amount of hateful despising ignorant bigots that post here is unbelievable. She tried something and she liked it. It made her feel better. It became a hobby and a passion. That happens sometimes when you like doing something. She expanded her love of a sport and expanded on it by going professional. I like astronomy. I started by looking through a friends telescope. Then I had to have my own which cost me about $50.00. After I seen all I could with it I wanted more so I bought a larger scope and then an even bigger scope. I am now looking at getting an $8000.00 telescope that is within my means financially. Maybe I should just give up what I love doing because you all think that money could be spent else ware for a better cause so somebody else can feel better with what I worked for. Hypocrites, all of you.

    August 2, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  14. lynn

    romney will lose ,i don't care if his horse can dance the huly guly .

    August 2, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. tonyl

    Offshore secret bank accounts in Cayman and Swiss banks. Offshore secret investments in companies overseas hiring cheap low wage labor while shutting down companies and laying off Americans.. Race horses and homes all over the world. Millions in income but paying 12% taxes. Secretive and not releasing his income tax returns. This is what the GOP has to offer America. Tax cuts for millionaires while the rest of the country is suffering from losses of life savings. GOD HELP US !!!

    August 2, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  16. Wile E. Coyote Super Genius

    Hey, maybe the Romneys can take the lead in showing the Horse Industry how to solve the skeletal problems that are causing so many horse to break down in races and events! Naw, they don't care about the animals either, unless there is a political angle and that is what the problem is now........arrogance, ignorance, politics, what a deal!

    August 2, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. truth hurts

    i want my kids to grow up and be rich and successful like the romneys. i want them to be rich enough to have 20 horses and several cadillacs and car elevators. then i'll be sure they can afford a good nursing home for me too. you loser lefties and your loser kids can enjoy taking care of me and my sensitive derrirore.

    August 2, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. snoozie

    @ Democrats = Liars, you wrote: "What a double standard!!! If it was Michelle Obama's horse the comments would be how eloquent and classy she is. Just like when Obama went to have dinner with Jessica Parker at a high rise in NYC...What a bunch of hypocrites..."
    Really?? You really think that if it were Michelle's horse the comments would be all sweet and kind? HA! That is a huge laugh. The truth is that yes, the dems would be praising her, but the republicans would be calling her all kinds of racist and no-racist names. That is the truth and you know it. Hypocrisy rarely goes one way.

    August 2, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. truth hurts

    >winchester74 – "horses are people my friend"

    horses are better than most lefties in here. most horses earn their keep.

    August 2, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    NFLFan77 wrote:

    ...I have made sacrifices, I drive a car (not a Benz or a Bentley!) w/ almost 300,000 miles on it. I work hard but rather than spend money on cars, clothes or other status symbols, I have chosen to spend what I can on horses....
    So, instead of spending your money on status symbols, you spend what you can on horses. Got it.

    August 2, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. Lisa P

    Critical Thinking

    I would do a commercial where I would use the horse and ask the horse how many triilion in debt has Presiden Obama put this country into during the last 3.5 years. Then a shot of the horses leg stomping out the number 5. Then the voice over that says; its just common horse sense, this country can't afford another 4 more years of Preseident Obama.
    August 2, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm

    Excellent idea! It would also be a great illustration of just how much people who mindlessly repeat Fox News factoids actually know about... well, anything. After all, the horse doesn't care about money, and isn't about to ask how the national debt got that way (hint: unpaid wars and back-loaded tax policies). The horse just wants to please his master. Same with the Fox News viewer - as long as they can count on a pile of hay, a measure of oats and a clean stall at the end of the day they are perfectly happy to do whatever the rich and powerful tell them to do. Wonder why government by the people and for the people is in trouble? Look in the mirror.

    August 2, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. supernaut1988

    Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life.

    August 2, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. Lando Carlissian

    Make Rafalca into HORSE MEAT!

    For all 'those people' smooching off government and collecting unemployment:

    Let them eat horse!

    August 2, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. pccel

    It's fine for Ann Romeny to own a horse, etc, etc.....who really cares? The part I find funny is that Ann says this has been a dream of hers since she was a little girl; by all accounts and to all appearances they appear to have a very close marriage yet Mitt professes to not even know what day the horse is competing and states he certainly won't be watching it....this is the Mitt I don't like; he can't be himself, can't say he is sharing in his wife's joy; why not....he's a robot and a phony.

    August 2, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. what about the horses?

    Anyone who pumps their horses full of painkillers to hide injuries from prospective buyers doesn't deserve to ride them or enjoy their successes.

    August 2, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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