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Horse, Olympics, feelings

The politics of horse ballet
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By Dana Milbank, Friday, July 27, 8:27 AM

The animal kingdom has been inhospitable to Mitt Romney in this election cycle.

First there was the damaging story of Seamus, the Irish setter he strapped to the roof of the Romneys’ car on a family trip.

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Dana Milbank

Dana Milbank writes a regular column on politics.
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Now it seems that, when it comes to Romney’s political aspirations, Seamus may not be the most dangerous animal in the family menagerie. This past week belonged to Rafalca, the dancing horse.

Rafalca, a 15-year-old Oldenburg mare owned in part by the Romneys, qualified as a member of the U.S. Olympic team and will compete in London in the dressage competition — a form of ballet for horses and their riders in which the animals do pirouettes and serpentines. They also do piaffes, which, according to the International Equestrian Federation, is a “highly collected, cadenced, elevated diagonal movement” in which “the haunches with active hocks are well engaged.” Rafalca, after qualifying, flew across the Atlantic on a FedEx jet (no, they didn’t strap her to the roof) and reportedly dined on an in-flight meal of watermelon.

Understandably, Romney was wary about discussing dressage when NBC’s Brian Williams asked him in London on Wednesday about his equine Olympian. “You actually have a horse in the race. What’s that gonna be like?”

“Well,” Romney replied. “It’s — a big — exciting experience for my wife and — and for the person that she’s worked with, the trainer of the horse who’s riding the horse. And — obviously, it’s fun to be part of the Olympics in any way you can be part of them.”

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