It always bothers me when people criticize politicians and politicians' wives for things that have absolutely nothing to do with their positions on issues of importance to America. I'm willing to defend former Governor Mitt Romney against religious zealots; despite the fact I lived in Utah for years, and know very well that Mormonism holds some strange (to say the least) tenets - and I know for a certainty that my favor won't be returned.
I will also - and much more gladly - defend Ann Romney and her horse. It makes no difference to me that the lady is filthy rich and the horse highly overbred. Look at the happiness in both their faces in that picture of them; they enjoy each other's company and that is the essence of the owner/pet relationship. The camera cannot lie about that. She and I have some common ground upon which to meet - we could probably tell each other horse stories all night.
The relationship between humans and their pets is a special one; of benefit to both in both physical and psychological ways. It has been medically proven that one lives longer when one has a pet to care for; one's blood pressure trends lower; ones outlook is more positive.
Mrs. Romney has multiple sclerosis and claims riding is beneficial. It is. Her musculature and coordination benefit from the stimulation. There are any number of what are called "therapeutic riding" organizations around the country; which offer mounts and volunteers to the physically and mentally disabled in order to provide these benefits. It's a beautiful thing to see those triumphant grins on the faces of riders who never thought they'd be able to do what they're doing.
I'll tell you something else that I know from personal experience: the horses understand. They are much more intelligent than most people give them credit for being and much more sensitive to the touch and pressure of their handler's legs, seat, hands, voice, etc. Look at the picture of me on my mare; out for a ramble with my dog. All of us are obviously happy and enjoying ourselves in that photograph. We rode hundreds of miles of trails together; taking anything that came. We jumped logs; crossed creeks; flushed deer; raced birds on the wing.
That horse lived to be 30 years old and I owned her for that entire time. She and I had a lifetime bond of love, care and protection. She helped teach my nieces and nephews to ride when they were young children; I trusted her to walk endless, patient circles at a steady plod until the kids were confident enough to balance themselves and handle reins. She was the mount I chose to care for my 77 year old mother when she "came back" from abdominal surgery. It was remarkable to watch; the mare's legs acted like perfect shock absorbers and the line of her back never varied up or down to jolt my mother in any way as she regained her strength and coordination to ride again. Horses know.
So, please, lay off Ann Romney about her horse. There are plenty of other things we can discuss.