Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Romneys' Dancing Horse Competes Without Them - ABC News

 I knew it would happen -- Dressage trotted out as the elite sport that it is (for some, but by no means for all): The Romneys' Dancing Horse Competes Without Them - ABC News. Here's an excerpt...

"The rarefied sport of dressage is a sort of classical equestrian dance competition that comes with enormous expenses and rarely involves prize money. It is a sport of the rich and famous, populated with relatives of Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Bruce Springsteen, and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Wang. Sponsors of world class teams shoulder an array of burdens that go well beyond buying the horses (The Romneys have owned, by some estimates, eight dressage horses, which can carry a six-figure price tag). The sponsors typically pay vet bills, insurance, help support the staffs that care for the animals, and help pay enormous transportation costs that come when horses and riders are shuttled to major competitions in Europe and around the U.S."
Just as there is nothing ennobling or virtuous about being poor, having money does not instantly make you a jerk. I may joke about wishing I had this or that, but there's no real emotion behind it, and in the end I'm happy for the kid who sits on the big gorgeous Friesian or the young rider who wins the dressage equitation class or the owner of the string of polo ponies (poloponies as Ralph Cramer would say). There is something very small in resenting the good fortune of others, and I hate to see this kind of thinking egged on by our friends in the media...


  1. Unfortunately I think they're confusing competition in general with the "rarified sport of dressage." Most serious classical dressage riders and trainers I know are not spending 6 figures on horses, 4 figures on an outfit to ride in, nor are they being shuttled to Europe to compete.

    What would impress me about the wife of a presidential candidate and their lifestyle, is one who, when interviewed because she was NOT traveling with her husband, replied, "I have to stay home to take care of the horses."

    That's a quality I could admire. :)

  2. I guess I don't see anything particularly insulting in that description. The horses the Romneys have are incredibly expensive and get the best, most expensive care they could. I think supporting US team members and Ann finding something to help with her MS are both good causes, and I applaud them for it.

    I imagine "they have money!" will be a battle cry for some just like "he's ELITIST because he's smart!" was against President Obama. Folks don't want to focus on the issues, but I wouldn't mind if the knowledge they are involved in dressage can get more folks interested in what I think is the most beautiful sport out there.

  3. I have to say, I am very disappointed in ABC's article, and a little irrate at the tone. The minority are rich. The majority are people with a passion for the sport, who work full time jobs to support our horses. And good for Ann Romney, that she has a passion in life (shouldn't we all!) that has therapeutic benefits for her (and ALL of us!!). Why not focus on that? Instead of "dancing horses" and how they have to hide her love of horses because middle America won't understand. I'm no fan of the Romneys, but as a rider, I am put out with the assumption that only the rich own horses, and the riders are all sponsored. Please. And I'd like to add...I think its sweet that Mitt wants to spoil his wife. He loves her and wants her to be happy. What's wrong with that?

  4. I agree. People should not envy the good fortune of others. It seems that the media is doing its best to perpetuate this kind of thinking. Blessings, Catherine

    1. Amen. And, unfortunately, it kind of drives the would-be burglar of said "rich" folks to feel somehow "justified" in taking from those with more. Instead of vilifying wealth, we should maybe be aspiring to simply make better of ourselves as well as enjoying what we already have.

      A lot of rags to riches stories would be horribly misrepresented if people disdained the happy ending. Some people work really hard to get where they get, and there shouldn't have to be a cloak over success. JHMO. ;)

  5. This is a shame for those of us on a budget who do all our own horse care work and might often struggle to scrape together the money for a lesson or show fee. It makes it look as if only the very rich can ever own a horse, so we all must be one of the 1% instead of the 99%. And, of course, it makes dressage appear to be an elitist sport, the very image dressage competitions have been trying to shed for years.


    And hey, where's my sponsor???

  6. Very well said, Stacey. I don't like Mitt Romney at all, but making character assessments of his family based on this is absurd, and it gives the sport a bad name. I wish I could shout from the rooftops, "Take it from me: dressage is for poor people too!"

  7. I agree. I don't get why people resent others with money so much. I kind of equate it to the kids that picked on the smart kids at school (or this is how I made myself feel better as I was always teased for being a nerd throughout my school years): it takes hard work to get good grades (or be successful and not spend every dime you have as soon as it comes in) so the rest of the kids wanted to drag you down for your success since it was easier to be a slacker than do the right thing.

    The media, and a good portion of the general public, tear successful people down that have worked for their income but celebrate lottery winners that didn't earn a dime of that money? Makes no sense. And no, I am not rich! but I don't begrudge those that are, even if they did get it because of mommy and daddy. Better that than mom and dad dumping seven kids into the state foster system, which is a situation that an acquaintance of mine is going through.

  8. Whole article makes me angry. We're currently paying for O's lavish golf hobby, and his family vacations to all kinds of places. He has a 747 and his beck&call every time he wants to go anywhere or do anything.

    And we're going to complain that Mrs Romney rides dressage? She's got MS! It's therapy, you ABC-modern-media-MORONS.

    Not all of us own 6-figure horses. Most of us aren't spending thousands a month in care and maintenance. I know I'm not.

  9. I am not anywhere close to a fan of Romney..but glad Ann can see the benefits of horse therapy..and can afford the best..a lot of folks out in 99% world who could benefit from hippotherapy can't afford it. I hope she contributes to those sorts of charities. least those horses get to "Ride Inside" unlike poor Seamus, their Irish Setter.

  10. I find it pretty comical that the relatives of Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, and Bruce Springsteen don't compete in the "rarefied sport of dressage" at all, they are hunter/jumpers.

    I guess the goal of today's media is to convince the population that wealth=bad, especially if you spend it.

  11. As a reader and a comparatively poor dressage enthusiast that wishes she had the money for regular coaching if not an uphill horse, I must point out that everyone that comments here, because of the nature of this blog, is a dressage enthusiast. To the uninformed, it will appear that Ann doesn't spend much time on the working end of a muck rake.

    They are wealthy. Very wealthy. They don't shop at Wal-Mart.

  12. How sad, my first comment didn't get published.

  13. Anon, I'm with you. That's pretty much the second thing that jumped out me, after "WTH, 98% of dressage people are NOT in the Romney's tax bracket." The Springsteen, Bloomberg and Spielberg kids are also most definitely not in dressage! If the media is gonna slam "rich horse people," they can at least get the events correct. :-/ Idiots. Completely unsurprising, though; the media leans faaaaaar to the left and any chance they get to spin a story towards "have and have nots" they're going to take it. The average American voter will lap this right up, I'm afraid....

    Goes right along with the people who say to me, "Oh, you ride? How many races have you done? How many horses do you have?" Sigh. (Answers: Yes, none, zero, never have - because no I'm not a Romney, LOL)

  14. To anonymous about Bill gates; fun little tidbit about his daughter in the hunter jumpers, all that money and she was getting beat by little people like us and not so spendy horses;-)

  15. The good thing is that the sport of Dressage got some press. Unfortunately, it is an election year and the press is slanting this to fit their own agenda - misleading the readers (again!) with statements that are incorrect and exaggerated. Dressage already suffers from some wrong assumptions (it's stuffy, it's boring, people ride Dressage because they are afraid to do the other sports, all you have to do is just sit there, etc.) and now it's only for the wealthy??!! You can spend a lot of money in any of the horse disciplines - and the wealthy usually have the best - if the general public knew more about the horse sports it would not be such damaging press.


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