• In Defense of Dressage

    During his recent sandpaper-smooth London tour, reporters asked Mitt Romney if he'd be watching his wife's horse Rafalca in the Olympic dressage competition. His response? "I have to tell you. This is Ann's sport. I'm not even sure which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it, I will not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well."

    Okay. Did Mitt Romney blow off his wife? Because it feels like he blew off his wife… and her horse, Rafalca, too. Mitt, where's the love? Not sure which day this goes on? A quick glance at the online Olympics calendar shows that the event will be held on August 2nd, 3rd and 7th. I'm sure Ann Romney would appreciate her Mr. Fantastic-looking husband in the stands whooping it up (or golf-clapping, or whatever you do at those things).

    Dressage isn't a sport (?) that's caught on with the youth of America's inner cities or trailer parks–not yet, anyway. It's pedigreed horse-dancing. But instead of trying to downplay his neo-gilded-age robber baron image by throwing Rafalca under the campaign bus, couldn't Romney have taken this opportunity to spread the grace and majesty of dressage to the American people? Move over, Nascar. I smell a new American pastime, and it's horse prancing!

    Sure, some would whine that dressage is a sport (?) for the monied elite. But Rafalca's rider, Jan Ebeling, sees it differently. In a recent interview Ebeling claimed that dressage can be pursued on a "normal budget," although he did not specify what he meant by normal. Horses like Rafalca cost more than $100k. So a family that earns the national median income of about $51,000 could buy a dressage horse, but they'd probably have to eat it to live. And forget about college, Junior, you can learn in the stable.

    Then again, maybe Romney isn't shying away from dressage for political purposes, but because it's just not his bag. Indeed, this sport (?) isn't for everyone. Literally. Especially not for you. Riders competing against Rafalca and Ebeling include the Prince of Saudi Arabia; Princess Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein of Denmark; Alvaro Affonso de Miranda Neto (you know, Athina Onassis Roussel's husband); and–shiver me crumpets!–Queen Elizabeth II's granddaughter, Zara Phillips. Mmm, think of the super-normal budgets these folks must have. They're living white-gloved hand-to-mouth, with barely enough resources to maintain that other Alpine chalet.

    As things stand right now, the sport (?) of dressage is not for everyone, whether for financial or personal reasons. Or personal finance reasons. But as the right is so quick to point out, those who earn less (let’s call them "the middle class") can someday earn more, as long as the government stays out of their way. Since there are not yet any nefarious liberal efforts to regulate dressage, it seems the path to prancing is wide open. Fetch your riding crops, everyone! I'll see you on the field.

    Jordan Carlos is a comedian. Follow him @jordancarlos.


    Related: Hey Mitt, Will You Do My Taxes?

    Photo by Marta Nardini/Flickr/Getty Images

    Tags: Ann Romney, Indecision Delegates, Mitt Romney, Money, Olympics


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