Rafalca debuts

UPDATED: Thursday, August 2, 2012 08:11
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Thursday, August 2, 2012 8:11 AM


Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...

For all the jokes about "dancing horses", reading the following made me feel for Mrs. Romney and empathize with her excitement. That this has been made a political joke is to me not unexpected but nonetheless stupid. It's one woman's dream, and she has worked hard at it. THAT is valid, nothing else. Romney downplaying it is damned petty and purely political, and stupid if he loves his wife.

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.

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.

Damned glad they did; that's unconscionable.

Competition dressage isn't haute ecole, and is actually pretty boring to watch unless you know what to look for. I prefer haute ecole--it's more dramatic--but that doesn't mean I dismiss or make fun of someone who pursues dressage, it IS very difficult and physically hard, and Ann Romney's hobby has no place being used for political amusement.

That said, oh, what the hell, why not? Enjoy:






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