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
9 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. Mike Dallas

    I am sure some of "you people" had visions of retiring with a pension "all of your lives".

    Then Bain came in, raided the pension fund, paid off the stockholder and "outsourced" the pension obligation to the Pension Guaranty Fund, where any shortcomings will be funded by the tax payer.

    Capitalism at it's finest!

    August 2, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  2. ShawnDH

    I think Princess Mittens and his fancy dancing horse need to learn how to be American.

    August 2, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. Sniffit

    "There are real issues and problems facing our nation,"

    Indeed, but real journalism would educate people about the issues and that's an advertising revenue no-no: educated people don't salivate over sensationalized soundbites, silliness and societal sewage the way clueless, gullible rubes do. So yeah, best for the bottom line to keep people happily distracted with bread and circuses.

    August 2, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. Myviewis


    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.

    August 2, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. UDidntBuildThat

    Who did Obama empower in his 1st term?
    More people are on food stamps since Obama took office. Unemployment is higher in poor neighborhoods. Middle class is stagnant as they see their income drop. But hey but Wall Street is up! Banks are doing great! Unions are doing great too. So again, exactly who was empowered with Obama's economic policies? Did the rich get richer in the last 4 yrs? Absolutely! "But shhhh. Let's just say that b/c Romney is rich (as are the Obamas), he is only for the rich. I'm sure a lot of our sheeple will believe and regurgitate."
    Just think if a R was next to Obama, the same sheeple would be on fire!

    August 2, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    As an American and as someone who loves the Olymics, I hope Rafalca wins. Unfortunately, owning a horse competing is Olympic Dressage is about as far from the Tea Party crowd ( or anyone else, for that matter) as Romney could get. He's managed to outdo John Kerry in appearing as removed from the average person as possible. The aristocratic image is not what Romney needs at this point.

    August 2, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  7. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Release your tax returns Mittens! The American people have a right to see how you write off $78,000 per year on on your "dressage horse". Do you realize that is more than most middle class Americans earn in a year?

    August 2, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It appears that once again you are trying to make an issue where there is none, and stirring up people's political passions just to get people worked up about NOTHING.
    Please see the Sarah Palin/Cheney re-run with it's 500+ and counting posts.
    Same horse, different crap.

    August 2, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  9. Steve in Virginia Beach

    Seriously? Really?

    "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.""

    Way to support you wife Mitt! I guess he considers the horse some to keep the "MRS." busy. This is his attitude toward all women and the Rebublicans

    August 2, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  10. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    The Olympics are not a place for politics? Really? Mitt Romney was playing politics the moment he landed in London, questioning how the British government was handling Olympic security. The head of the US Olympic committe called on the DNC to pull an ad to be aired at the start of the Olympics pointing to Romney's outsourcing, as he argued that politics goes against the spirit of the Olympics games. So I guess the Olympics is far more important than the growth and security of our country especially when the GOP and their Tea Party does everything within their means for three and a half years to see that our President and country fail.

    August 2, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Rickford

    Oh yes... Of Course... "Like the Country Club Pro playing at Wimbelton"

    I wouldn't mind that comment so much if my effective tax rate wasn't double or triple theirs and Mr. Romeny wasn't campaigning to making the tax rates of the super wealthy even lower...


    August 2, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. Catherine

    I think this belongs in the Olympics section. The only possible reason it should be in the political is if Romney's remarks ticked off the judges and his wife's horse was paying for it in scores. I really don't care how Romney and his wife spend their money. It's their money. What I do care about is what is he hiding in those tax returns. I heard that a non-partisan tax group reviewed Romney's tax plan and found that on average, a one-percenter will see a reduction of $87,000 in taxes and the average middle class taxpayer will see an INCREASE of $500. That should keep Romney's horse feed, but I'm a little worried about my dog.

    August 2, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. Woman In California

    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."

    No, WE don't understand because unlike YOU we actually WORK for a living and most of us don't have the time or money to own/ride expensive horses.

    Since the U.S. taxpayers have a share in YOUR "therapy" shouldn't we all be there enjoying the event as well? Again, I hope the horse loses because neither YOU, your husband or your sons think enough of this country to KEEP your money here or serve it and once again, YOU yell America when it suits you – so good luck with your unAmerican LOSS.

    August 2, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  14. BobInIrvine

    Well, clearly Mitt's is a horse of a different color.

    August 2, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. SCOTO

    "you people" who dont have a job should be crowded round your TV sets (if you still have one) and cheering this horse on. USA! USA! USA!

    August 2, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. What??

    Yes she is happy that the horse represent the USA. So much so that she use it as a tax deduction and gave healthcare to the horse and is tax deductible. Yes indeed it present the USA, at it's worst. Greed!

    August 2, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. billy davis

    Yes, all of us Americans dreamed of having a dancing horse in the Olympics when we were kids. No, wait we all can't afford a Million Dollar Horse. #outoftouchRomneys

    August 2, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. CryBabies

    Its sad to continually see the same "whiners" day after day on this sight. Must not have jobs....even they continue 24/7 vilifying the "right" for their sorry state in life. Please ..... get a life somewhere, somehow.

    August 2, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. Let them eat cake

    Show us your tax returns Mitt.

    August 2, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. Catherine

    BlahBlah, Romeny wasn't really playing politics when he panned the UK's preparation for the Olympics, it's more like he was saying no one could do it better than he. In other words, just plain arrogance.

    August 2, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  21. Balanced99

    These hate filled idiotic comments are disgusting – and exactly what the left wants, create class warfare. Congrats to those who are successful – as long as they did not break any laws. Realize that Romney likely annually pays 10 times in taxes what the combined amount is for all those posting on this site.

    Here's a couple of items to chew on:
    – Both the Dems and Repubs created all the idiotic tax loopholes (by the way – no one introduced more than Hillary during her Senate tenure). Then ask your favorite left wing celebs why they all have a horse they've never met – because they take a huge write off on their mansions as 'farms' (Sprignstein, Bonjovi... the list goes on).
    – What did the head of the Ways and Means committee do to improve tax code – NOTHING – he just kept cheating on his taxes (while the idiots of NY are on there way to electing him again).
    – You never see the Dems proposing real tax reform – just talking about 'fairness' (e.g. Marxism)
    – Outsourcing/Off-shoring – most businesses need to do it or go bankrupt – PERIOD. The economy is global. Even far left economists will tell you the same thing.

    There are issues out there that need to be discussed. This isn't one of them – but it's what Obama and the left wing media want you to focus on.

    August 2, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  22. Sirned

    Rafacia...Sounds like an illegal foreigner horse name....Deport this horse and give the job to an American horse...Geez just think how the right wing would crucify Obama if this was Michelle's horse...

    August 2, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  23. Z

    Are you all looking for handouts? Face it, every country in the world has its ultra rich. There are what, only 900,000 millionaires in the US...not everyone is that lucky. Except Jimmy Carter, what President was not a millionaire?

    Has any President since Lincoln really ever done much to help this country? This country has been set in place since then. This great country will remain exactly the same for the next 50 years+. It will have its ups and downs economically. In reality, the President has little to do with anything except for being a face of the US.

    August 2, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  24. Wake up people

    I feel for Queen Anne having MS because my sister suffers from the same thing. What I don't understand is how she can support denying health care to so many? I'm sure she has top of the line doctors, therapists and the best medicine. Do you know how much my sister pays monthly for her meds? Thousands of dollars and she is only a Fed Ex employee. So forgive me if I don't give a darn about a dancing tax deduction.

    OBAMA 2012!

    August 2, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  25. Lean6

    That Romney is not a very smart guy...this is obvious. Reminds of the White House Correspondence dinner, where President Obama dismantled Donald Trump while operations were already underway to dispose of Osama Bin Laden. Here we are talking about Romney's million dollar pony as we learn that in fact President Obama HAS been combating the Russia/China/Syria massacre. Romney is no contender, he's a pretender.

    August 2, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
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