Brian Cahn / Zuma Press
Ann Romney's horse, Rafalca, under the sure-handed guidance of trainer Jan Ebeling, trots around the ring after placing third in the National Grand Prix Dressage Championship at the United States Equestrian Federation Festival of Champions.
By Molly Mitchell
In case you slept in this morning and missed Willie's coverage of the Romney's equine adventures, we've got some news: A certain Romney is Summer 2012 Olympics bound.
That Olympian is none other than Rafalca Romney. No, it’s not some long lost son or a distant European cousin. Rafalca is Anne Romney’s horse that she co-owns with Jan Ebeling. When Mitt was asked about Ann and Rafalca on Face the Nation, he laughed saying, “I joke that I’m going to have to send her to Betty Ford for addiction to horses.”
For those of you who are unfamiliar (and maybe we're all sort of unfamiliar with this), dressage is a French term meaning “training.” Essentially it’s horse ballet, with the horse trained to respond to minimal directions as how to move around the ring. The Daily Beast reports that, “The actual competition consists of the horse and rider completing a series of movements from memory. Movements like the walk, trot, and canter are included in all competitions. Judges award each movement a score between 0 and 10, and whoever has the highest total score wins."
Sounds pretty serious.
Rafalca may not be helping Mitt shrug off accusations of being out of touch with the common man. After all it’s one thing to co-own a horse and have it make it to the Olympics, where the horse is competing in an event the majority of the nation knows nothing about without heading to Wikipedia (like jumping for example?). But when your wife’s horse is competing in horse ballet (a sport most Americans didn't know existed) it doesn't bode spectacularly well when people are claiming that you're out of touch with the Joe Six-Packs of bygone elections. Stephen Colbert joked, “The image of Romney as a privileged princeling ends today because Mitt is just your average blue-collar fan of dressage."
But who knows, maybe Rafalca is the Romneys' personal Seabiscuit and his Olympic gold will help tip the election in Mitt and Ann’s favor? We'll have to wait until London to find out.