Posted in: Politics

Romney’s Dressage Horse A New Source Of Political Criticism

Mitt Romney's Olympic dressage horse source of political criticism.

The Romneys’ dressage horse, Rafalca is set to take to the field in the Olympics, and with the fancy dancing horse comes even more controversy for the GOP Presidential presumptive nominee, who is already struggling with his rich-guy image.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Rafalca, the 15-year-old Oldenberg mare partially owned by the Romneys, helped them get a $77,000 tax credit in 2010. The dressage horse is reportedly worth $100,000, allowing for even more criticism for the GOP hopeful, who has yet to release his tax returns before 2010.

The stunningly elegant mare will compete for the U.S. dressage team in the London Olympics, ridden by Jan Ebeling, Ann Romney’s riding teacher, who co-owns the horse with the Romneys. The revelation that the former Massachusetts governor has decided to plunge into a blue-blooded sport often associated with kings, has caused Mitt Romney to be an even bigger source for comedian jokes, as well as political criticism. Comedian Stephen Colbert joked that:

“The image of Romney as a privileged princeling ends today – because now Romney is just your average blue-collar fan of dressage.” spokesman Nick Berning said:

“The Romneys’ dancing Olympic horse gets better health care than many Americans, and Mitt Romney is campaigning to take away people’s health care. If he wants wealthy horse owners like himself to get more tax privileges and for teachers and firefighters to be laid off to pay for it, we’re going to point that out.”

Olympic Dressage Rafalca Romneys

Ebeling, Rafalca’s Olympic rider, responded to the criticism today at Olympic Park, reports Bloomberg Business Week, saying:

“If you look at our team, there’s nobody who’s a millionaire. When I grew up we had no money. I worked my butt off. I cleaned stalls. People saw the talent and would let me ride their horses. Money is not something that defines dressage. It’s something you can do with a normal budget.”

Romney Olympic Dressage Horse

Of course, there’s no telling what a normal budget is for an event that includes Prince Abdullah al Saud of Saudi Arabia, Alvaro Affonso de Miranda Neto, husband of Athina Onassis; Princess Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein of Denmark and Zara Phillips, granddaughter of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, all competing in various riding disciplines. Hadley Freeman, a columnist for the London-based Guardian newspaper, added that:

“The only sport the Romneys could be involved in that would make them look wealthier than dressage would be gold-coin diving in their family safe.”

Do you think that Rafalca, the dressage horse co-owned by the Romneys, is yet another sign that Mitt Romney is out of touch with the rest of America, because of his super-rich status?

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23 Responses to “Romney’s Dressage Horse A New Source Of Political Criticism”

  1. Gregory Wright

    Okay let me understand the horse is worth $100,000 but they got $77,000 in tax breaks?

  2. Kathy Handyside

    Bet neither Ann nor Mitt know how to groom a horse, how to clean a stall, or how to ride. They just pay the money for the horse and take all the credit. Typical shallow rich jerks. Wonder how much Romney used from his campaign funds to buy the horse? You can bet he didn't take the money out of his Swiss and Grand Cayman accounts.

  3. Kathy Handyside

    You're thinking of the Lipizzan horses of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. They are white – it's a characteristic of the breed. But dressage is a discipline of training for all breeds, so you will see different colored horses doing dressage. Dressage is comprised of movements that are natural to the horse. The training gets the horse to perform those movements on command.

  4. Wolff Bachner

    this is an example of the class war the left in America is trying to start. They are quick to ignore that the current president is worth between 12 to 15 million dollars and that he is backed by several billionaires. class envy will not make anyone's life better. Romney lent his horse to the UNITED STATES OLYMPIC TEAM, the one Obama told us all to root for. He is entitled to a legitimate and 100% legal tax deduction and moveon is trying to make Romney's generosity into a crime. this is pathetic and it proves why Obama is unfit to be president.

  5. جلال عبدة قايد الحطامي

    اناء ايد الياهو فهواشى ابتكار في العالم الانترنيت في كل شى في المواقع وتصميم فالف شكر وشهر مبارك وكل عام وانتم بصحة وعافية يارب.

  6. Michael Graham

    Why isn't the horse competing under the Cayman Islands' Flag?

  7. James Rich

    Yeah, except that Obama was born into a not rich family and worked his way up to that money whereas Romney was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Obama is worth 15 million? Romney is worth 200 million and he earned that money because of his Dad's political connections and by slicing up companies and sending jobs overseas. And yes, its compete BS for a presidential candidate to play class warfare by saying he's going to take away health care reform and harping on welfare abuse when his wife's horse gets a 77,000 dollar tax credit and he's hiding money overseas in tax havens. But go ahead and vote for Romney and then wonder why he screws you over. You guys are so stupid. You vote against your own interests every time.

  8. Jasen Haas

    Let me make it clear that I am not a supporter of Romney, either financially or in spirit. I can't stand the guy, actually. But this article, and the SF Chronicle article from which it is derived, fit the dictionary definition of propaganda. If you take the time to read the Romney's return you'll see that a loss of $77,731 was claimed for Rob Rom Enterprises, the partnership which owns the horse. Directly below this stated loss you will see that $50, yes that's right, $50, was the allowable total DEDUCTION claimed. DEDUCTION, not a CREDIT. A deduction reduces your taxable income by the stated amount, a credit reduces the tax paid by the stated amount. The highest tax rate in 2010, the year for the return in question, was 35%. That means that Romney's reduced their tax bill by maximum of $17.50. A reduction of less than.0000005% of the Romney's total $3,000,000+ tax bill.
    Clearly, this is not just sloppy journalism, as the line "allowable income or loss -$50" is only three lines below the "ordinary income or loss $77,731" line, on a single 7 line statement covering this section of the return. Therefor, the obvious conclusion is; this is a cheap propaganda piece. Don't believe everything you read, seek the truth on your own.
    View the Romney's 2010 return for yourselves

  9. Gregory Wright

    Obama is worth about 6 million and this can be proved because he showed his tax returns. We have only a guess of Mitts wealth. He hides his money and will not let his tax returns be seen. The deductions he takes advantage of are lobbied for by the very people who will take advantage of them. That is were the unfair charge comes from. Those charges are very well deserved.

  10. Anonymous

    If you had a horse (or any animal) that is a rare athlete and could potentially make you millions of dollars in cash prizes, stud fees, or foals, how would you treat him/her?

    I think the press is perpetuating the emotionally-charged message that "Look! Their dancing frou-frou horse lives better than you do!" in hopes of swaying the opinion of the general public.

    To put it bluntly: these animals are investment items. Even to a horse-lover, they are potential MONEY-MAKERS in addition to being very beautiful animals and good advertisements. Some bring home large cash prizes, but often where the real money is is in breeding programs. Their foals may bring TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars each and stud fees can be $1K or more. One winning horse can potentially build a stable, or an entire horse-farm. Like a valuable car or piece of equipment, these animals are well-housed, many living in stables far more costly than my house, so that they aren't injured. Like our human Olympic athletes, they are massaged, have custom-fitted equipment, they go swimming, and they have expert medical care.

    Once you understand that animals of this caliber are business items (certainly they ARE more than just business items); you can understand that owning one is a business venture. No one complains if you treat your expensive computer system or machinery with care and house it in a multi-million dollar building. A business owner can deduct his office furnishings, rent, corporate gifts, travel and some meals. With an investment horse, there are certain legitimate expenses you can deduct. You as a business owner might deduct the cost of maintaining your computer system; a horse owner might could deduct the salary of a full-time groom.

    I also wonder if perception has anything to do with this issue. Dressage is being described in the media as the horse "dancing." This sounds sort of frou-frou and useless. In fact, many advanced dressage moves are based on the training of Renaissance war-horses, who were strong stallions trained to kick out with the back hooves or rear and paw down infantry troops. These were bad-a** horses. That puts a more masculine spin on it, doesn't it? To get to the point where a horse CAN build up strength and control to do those kind of movements on command, however, takes years of training and we only see it in the Lipizzaner stallions now. Dressage today is very precise and detailed, like ballet, and it takes a true fan to appreciate what the horse is able to do. To other people it's like watching paint dry.

    Maybe it would be more popular if we brought back the "pawing down infantry soldiers" moves.

  11. Spencer Cox

    Why are people more concerned about how Romney spends his money than Obama spends ours?

  12. Wolff Bachner

    I have no love for Romney, but if he broke the tax laws he would have be charged with a crime. I support a fair flat tax with no loopholes for anyone. Obama's family was not poor. His mother's family did just fine and his mother worked for some of the world's largest foundations. both Obama and Romney are wealthy. but only the conservative is wrong to be wealthy in your opinion. who the hell are you to judge anyone because they come from a successful family. Class envy maybe?oh btw, where the hell did i say i was voting for Romney? i was commenting on the fact that Romney is being criticized for taking alegal tax deduction. you think obama doesn't deduct every damn cent he can also?

  13. Gregory Wright

    I am not speaking of the tax laws but the money used to get certain tax laws passed that are only to your advantage. It is making one citizen of more value than the next and that is not what we want. I understand that horse deductions are a generations old tradition. That horses and animals have been valued far more than a human life is not a new concept to me. Blacks and minorities have been in that position before and the truth be told have never moved past that stage…in the eyes of the power structure. Maybe that is why I resist what I see as a studied movement back to that 2 century old mind set. Trickle down did not work.

  14. Nikitia RosaLee East-Shipe

    It would be really wonderful if the news reporters would speak truth rather than make fun of a legitimate sport that they obviuosly know nothing about. As an owner of a horse farm I was disgusted with their stupid commentary. Just proves the saying true: you can educate ignorance, but there's no cure for stupid. But on the other hand, it show the desperation of the Democratic party if they have to resort to distorting dressage into "dancing, fou-fou horses".

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