First came the story of Mitt Romney “safely” strapping his dog to the roof of his car on a road trip. Now, it has emerged that Romney has an expensive hobby in horses.
The Romneys own a herd of dancing horses, competitive dancing horses (not just regular, run of the mill stallions, or even just derby racing horses. These horses are referred to as dressage horses in the sports world.
One of the horses, Rafalca even made it to the World Cup finals this past weekend in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, neither Anne nor Mitt could make the trip to watch their horse compete, something about having their own race to run.
In the end, their decision to stay state bound was probably for the best, Rafalca did finish the best of the American dancing horses, but the horse took 15th of a field 18.
These competitive dancing horses just becomes another factor that separates Romney from the people he wishes to stand for as a Republican candidate for the presidency.
I am in no way making fun or criticizing Mrs. Romney’s lifestyle choice to own horses. Anne Romney has faced unflattering scrutiny for being a “stay-at-home mom,” and I do not plan on making the same mistake as Hilary Rosen. In an ABC News article, Mrs. Romney noted how she has found horses “magic” since the 1990s after discovering that riding them helped her combat the effects of multiple sclerosis. The one caveat becomes Romney’s recurring problem: relatability to the masses and the role his money takes in the process.
Most Americans do not have the choice or the financially stability to own a horse, while the Romney family owes eight. Dressage horses can come with six-figure price tags that require sponsors like the Romneys to pay for veterinarian visits, care and support staff, and insurance. They also cover the enormous burden of paying for the animal’s transport so it can attend in dressage competitions further away.
According to Kenneth J. Braddick, a dressage enthusiast, “it runs thousands of dollars a month to maintain.” The sponsors, including the Romneys financially look after these horses like one would a professional human athlete; complete with a farrier, chiropractor, and even masseuse for the horses.
The exact costs of these horses for the Romneys is speculative, but based on her 2010 tax returns, which she has a $250K-$500K partner’s stake in her horse-owning corporation called Rob Rom Enterprises Inc. And also loaned amount also within that spectrum to another dressage group called The Acres.
The concern, right or wrong, will always be there when talking about the Romneys. The real question is how it will affect Mitt’s campaign?