The Romney's Influence on American Dressage
Regardless of your politics- or personal finances- it's clear that Rafalca's connection to the Romneys has sparked conversations about dressage in a pretty wide cross-section of America.
I really enjoyed this piece on NPR earlier this evening. So, do you think all the attention- stunts and jokes included- has been good for dressage in the US?
But none of this is a new "thing". The Romney's have sponsored Jan for 10 years and Rafalca has been around for almost as long. She competed at the FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas in 2009, which is a competition at a similar level to the Olympics.
And I don't think $77,000 for upkeep for one year is reasonable, especially with Jan campaigning for the Olympics I think costs closer to half a million are more realistic. So people should not really be complaining about that IMO!! I think overall the publicity has been good for the sport and in 3 years no one is going to remember "Oh yea Mitt Romney spent $77,000 on that horse" but probably more like "Oh year that's the prancey thing with horses" when they hear dressage.
That piece on NPR was good. I am glad they brought up that it is not just for the uber weatlthy, and that it is harder than it looks. I LOVE "All Things Considered".!
I think it wasn't that they spent $77k but rather that they figured $77k worth of deductable expenses.
I noticed that the coverage of the equestrian teams has been pretty much zero in the mainstream media. If Ann Romney wasn't involved the coverage would be less than zero, so if this makes people aware, and maybe even draws in a few more participants, that's a good thing.
The people who only have negative things to say about our sport probably only have negative things to say about everything else in life as well.
My observation has been that interspersing political commentary in the dressage world has forced the dressage riders to take them selves less seriously. Among the riders I know it has also encouraged discussions about the merits of dressage, the difference between dressage showing and dressage (as the word directly translates to, training). I have spent hours discussing the Romeny's contributions to the world of dressage, the evolution of dressage from the romans to new movement of western dressage.
I think the best thing that has come from Rafalca's competing in the Olympics is now "dressage" is a household word.
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