Ann Romney’s “Pricey” Hobby

Never before has the mainstream media been so taken with “horse ballet.” But should Ann Romney’s “pricey private” hobby be used as a politicizing factor? The Los Angeles Times seems to think so.

I don’t like to bring up politics at the barn. The cross-ties are sacred ground, where dirty breeches are not only allowed, but encouraged, and no one’s going to give me the stink-eye for using the word “engagement” too much. When all that’s possible in one place, why chance it?

But here at HN, we’ve been keeping an eye on the Romney campaign–not because we’ve got any particular interest in Mitt, but because we’re definitely interested in Ann Romney’s love of dressage, which has lately been the subject of several questionably researched articles.

The Los Angeles Times most recently upped the “horse ballet” game, reporting in today’s article,  “Ann Romney and dressage: a pricey private world”:

[Ann Romney] soon fell in love with dressage, a fussy Olympic sport that is also called ‘horse ballet.’ In dressage, a horse moves in delicate, dance-like steps to music as the rider, formally clad in top hat and tails, imperceptibly guides the animal.

And further, that:

Dressage is not for the faint of wallet; it requires healthy outlays of cash for upkeep, training, transportation and veterinary care. It attracts some of the world’s richest people — the daughter of billionaire New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg competes. Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang and his wife own dressage horses.

Pricey, private, rich, fussy, top hats, tails: There’s a message here, and it’s not that Georgina Bloomberg’s made a discipline switch (a quick look at her public FEI record–or YouTube–shows she competes in jumping, not dressage), or that all dressage will henceforth be set to music (though I think I speak for many of us when I say good freestyles are next to godliness).

Where does this leave those of us in our dirty breeches, chatting in barn aisles after 8+ hour workdays, a large chunk of our paychecks fueling our love for horses? My guess is we’d have more than enough to chat about with Ann Romney, income brackets and politics aside.

So I’ll ask you, Horse Nation: Does the mainstream media’s portrayal of dressage offend you? Does it surprise you? Does it change your opinion of Ann Romney–and if so, for better or worse? “Horse Ballet”–awesome, ridiculous, overused?

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