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. Marc

    I hope the Romneys don't make the horse ride on the top of the car when transporting it out of town.

    August 2, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. tony

    @you all have no class

    Please sir don't go their when it comes to who is UNAmerican because you righties are the ones who made our country go into default and is rooting for this country to fail so that you can take back power you republicans are so treasonous
    why all of you are not in jail AG Holder is not doing his job effectively

    August 2, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. Pam from Iowa

    The Olympics are tests of human strength and endurance. What does a horse have to do with the Olympics?

    August 2, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. Pander Bear

    "you all have no class – leftists and liberals are just very hateful for rooting against america's entry just because romney is involved. very unamerican and unpatriotic. you should be ashamed of yourselves. disgraceful."

    Nobody's rooting against the horse. We're simply pointing out that anyone who owns an Olympic level Equestrian horse should probably cut the cr8p about being a "man of the people". Or do you consider the rats in your trailer to be equivalent?

    August 2, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Montana Gal

    Agree with SIRNED and HEHE ... I'll bet the Romney's horse lives a lot better than many Americans. The horse is the only member of the family I'd be interested to meet.

    August 2, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. sf

    I couldn't agree more with you my sister..."Dominican mama 4 Obama"!

    OBAMA 2012!!!

    August 2, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. i_know_everything

    he can try horse racing after November

    August 2, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. iab

    Obama is rich. Romney, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Koch Bros, Adleman are WEALTHY. There is a difference.

    August 2, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. ritmocojo

    "Hmmm.... they bought a horse – someone is THRILLED to have sold that horse... " ,said Hoosier.

    Some Frenchman made some money selling Ralfaca to the Romneys. That's who was thrilled. Why couldn't they've bought her in Kentucky or New York and made some American thrilled to have sold a horse?

    August 2, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. Chaos

    >>>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.<<<

    She didn't ride that.

    August 2, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. pprty

    I'd hate to see the outrage from republican's if Pres. Obama's horse was in the Olympics and if he had written the horse off as a deduction.

    August 2, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Bet Rafalca Robmoney has better dental than most Americans. See how her teeth is glittering? I'm sure she never had plaque or gingervitis. Bet she has her own cable tv, flat screen tv, and IPhone and internet I bet Mitt has a talking car like the one in the movie. And I bet Robmoney's talking car has his own elevator...O' wait...

    August 2, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. Elwyn

    Pam from Iowa: The Olympics also test human skill. That's why sports like archery, shooting, and the equestrian sports come in. Takes a lot of skill - or a lot of money to buy a trained horse and pay someone to keep it "tuned up" for you - to ride at this level. That's why all or nearly all of the riders are really professionals.

    August 2, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. FreeLove

    Romney got a $77,000 tax deduction for his prancing pony. $77,000! When the GOP try to gut the funding for your school, this is the reason.

    August 2, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. macbil

    Yes, this is the horse the was a $77,000 tax deduction for Romney in 2010. That's more than most Americans make in a year in income. Capitalism is great, but the tax system has become seriously distorted over the last 30 years. How can I be making so much less than Romney and paying a greater percentage of my income in taxes?!?!? The system is very screwed up and if Romney is elected it's going to get even more screwed up and he will be paying even less in taxes and, I guess be able to buy another horse while the government has to cut food programs for the poor, support for education, the pentagon budget, etc.

    August 2, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. Piobair

    Might as well cheer for the horse. After all, with a $77,000 tax break, YOU PAID FOR IT!

    August 2, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. Woman In California

    The more I hear by the Romney's and of the Romney's the more I am convinced THEY ARE THE MOST DISGUSTING COUPLE IN MY LIFETIME TO EVER WANT TO OCCUPY THE WHITE HOUSE. There is nothing to LOW for a Romney and I nothing to do with either of them ever.

    August 2, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. truth hurts

    FreeLove – When the GOP try to gut the funding for your school, this is the reason.
    people pay for their schools at the state and local levels. the federal government is not and should not be building schools. it is not their job. you need to get educated on how things really work and stop posting this drivel.

    August 2, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. Marie MD

    @lilli – Mrs. Obama's father had MS and he died young. Probably because he didn't have the money that this wifey has to get the best care available. Unfortunately, just like sanatorium who used his daughter Bella to get sympathy votes any horse would do for therapy. I dont feel one iota of pity or compassion for this fish wearing woman!
    Yourlast sentence says all there is to know about you and people like you who just don't get it!!! Including the 73 year old that is going tom vote for this twit because ofnthe horse! Does she known what the flip flopper and ryan want to do with her social security and medicare?????

    August 2, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. Toby McDooogan

    Everyone!!!!! Please do not focus on the economy!!!!!!!!!

    August 2, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. Peace

    Are the Romneys thinking? Really!!! Strangling themselves!!! Sending their horse in the middle of campaign and expected people not to discuss about it!!! They should blame themselves of being silly when they lose election.

    August 2, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. Wilson

    The jealousy of the left is so hilarious!!!! I guess "attack" is the only strategy they have left, with no good record to run on.

    August 2, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. ooshie

    "country club pro": Gotta give to her there, she certainly knows country clubs.

    August 2, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. The Film Professor

    Tally Ho, Rafalca! aka "Tax Break", the horse who lives better - better accommodations, better food, and better health care - than at least 50% of our citizens, all subsidized by we the taxpayers!

    August 2, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. ProperVillain

    Just a bunch of regular folks just like you and me. Except they have multi-million dollar hobbies and more money than god. Yeah, I'm sure he's TOTALLY in touch with most of the population....

    August 2, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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