Entries in Rafalca (6)


Ann Romney's Horse Rafalca Out of Olympics

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Rafalca, the horse co-owned by Ann Romney and her dressage trainer Jan Ebeling, was eliminated from the Olympic dressage competition on Tuesday.

Rafalca earned a score of 69.317, which bumped her out of the top 19.  Only the top 18 riders continue on to the freestyle portion of the competition on Thursday.  

In the previous Olympic test on Aug. 2, Rafalca and Ebeling earned a score of 70.2.

Ebeling and Rafalca danced to a mix of traditional and fast-paced music, and Ebeling took off his top hat and beamed at the conclusion of Tuesday's ride in Greenwich Park.  The weather looked chilly as audience members bundled up.  But there were still plenty of American flag wavers in the stands to cheer them on.

They faced stiff competition from many of the riders, especially some of the "stars of dressage," including Britain's Charlotte DuJardin and her horse Valegro, who earned a stunning 83.66 last week and hope to bring home Britain's first gold in dressage ever.

Of course, it's not just dressage fans who are closely monitoring how Rafalca performs -- it's veepstakes watchers, too.  It was believed that Mitt Romney would not pick a running mate until Rafalca and Ebeling were out of the competition so that Ann Romney could return to the United States.  The photograph of the two families -- the Romneys and the running mate -- side by side is something a campaign would likely not pass up.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ann Romney Heads to Wales this Weekend

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rafalca, the dressage horse that took an elegant turn in the Olympics on Thursday, gets a break this weekend and Ann Romney, a part owner of Rafalca, is off to visit her roots in Wales.

She’ll spend Saturday at an 850-year-old pub, the Old House, in Llangynwyd, Romney aides confirm.  There, she will do an interview with NBC News and no doubt mention her coal miner grandfather from Wales.  

Wales Online first reported the news and writes that this isn’t the first star turn for the pub.  The pub’s proprietors have welcomed Richard Burton and David Bowie as patrons -- or punters as the Brits call them -- as well.

“This is the biggest thing that has ever happened to us,” Old House landlord Richard Stephens-David told Wales Online.  “It’s great for the pub and for the area, after all it’s not often you get a possible future head of state visiting.  I just hope she will return the favor if she gets into the White House.”

Mrs. Romney’s grandfather, David Davies, is from Nantyffyllon, Wales, and came to America in 1929.  On the campaign trail, both she and her husband often mention him and his struggles in an effort to connect with the audience and dispel Democrats’ attacks that Mitt Romney is out of touch.

Wales Online also reports that Mrs. Romney may visit the graves of relatives in the St. Cynwyd churchyard in Llangynwyd on Saturday.

“I am going to ask if I can make a return visit to the White House for the day,” Stephens-David said, adding that he thinks Mitt Romney is the “man for the job.”

“And Ann will make a superb first lady. Her grandfather from Nantyffyllon had guts and so does she,” he said.

Ann Romney is staying in the U.K. to watch Rafalca and rider Jan Ebeling’s next dressage performance on Aug. 7.  Her husband has a campaign event in Las Vegas on Friday as well as a fundraiser in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How Ann Romney's Horse Could Decide VP Announcement Date

ABC News(WARSAW) -- The success of Ann Romney's dressage horse Rafalca in the London Olympics could determine when Mitt Romney announces his running mate.

As Mitt Romney prepares to head back to the states tomorrow evening after several days abroad, the frenzied speculation over who he will choose to be his running mate will reignite after a momentary pause.

But not so fast, veepstakes trackers.

One person who isn't heading back to the U.S. quite yet is Ann Romney, who will return to England to see her horse compete on August 2 and 3. Depending on how the horse performs, he could show again on August 8 and 9, according to Mrs. Romney's spokeswoman Sarah Haley.

That means Ann Romney may not be back in the United States for at least another week. It's unlikely that the presumptive GOP presidential nominee will announce his running mate - perhaps one of the most important moments of his campaign - without his wife, whom he often refers to as his "sweetheart," by his side.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Olympics Are Seen Broadly Favorably, Even Without Rafalca Fever

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Americans are favorably anticipating the Olympics in general, and the swimming competition in particular, according to the findings of the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.  But Rafalca fever hasn’t exactly gripped the nation.

Seventy-two percent of those surveyed express a favorable opinion of the upcoming London Olympics overall, and 79 percent see the swimming competition favorably.  Far fewer, 47 percent, hold a positive view of the horse-riding competition called dressage, in which a horse co-owned by Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, is competing.

The horse, Rafalca, has been the subject of some political debate: The Democratic National Committee last week pulled a television ad showing the horse prancing around (an allusion to Romney’s position on releasing his tax returns) after Ann Romney, in an ABC News interview, discussed how she has found dressage therapeutic in dealing with her multiple sclerosis.

While dressage is hardly a household word, it’s notable that more Americans see it favorably than unfavorably as an Olympic sport by 20 percentage points, 47-27 percent -- a testament, perhaps, to the strength of the Olympic brand.  The rest, another 27 percent, have no opinion in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

Inescapably, there’s a political component to these views: Democrats are 15 points more likely than Republicans to see dressage unfavorably -- 34 percent vs. 19 percent -- with independents positioned almost exactly between the two.  Democrats still see dressage more favorably than unfavorably, albeit by a scant 8-point margin.  That widens to 23 points among independents and 30 points among Republicans.

There are no major political divisions on the 2012 games overall, or on the widely popular swimming competition.  There, differences relate to education: Favorable views of the Olympics, and of Olympic swimming, are about 15 points higher among adults with at least an undergraduate degree than among those who haven’t been graduated from college.

The overall popularity of the swimming competition shows in “strongly” favorable views of that sport, 41 percent, compared with 29 percent strongly positive views of the Olympics overall.  Again fewer, 16 percent, see the dressage contest strongly favorably.  Perhaps a medal-winning performance by Rafalca, ridden by her co-owner, Jan Ebeling, could change that; at least, it may provide some respite to the presidential horse race here at home.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dems Hit Romney for ‘Dancing Horse’ Rafalca

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- For the second time in the 2012 campaign, Democrats are attacking presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney with mocking references to one of his family pets.

A new web video by the Democratic National Committee slams Romney for “dancing around the issues” while featuring footage of his Olympics-bound “dancing horse” Rafalca.

The horse is co-owned by Ann Romney and trainer Jan Ebeling. It will compete at the London Games later this month as part of the U.S. Dressage Team.

The video is the “first in a series of digital products highlighting Rafalca,” the DNC said.

Mrs. Romney has been actively involved in the world of dressage, sometimes known as “horse ballet,” and credits horseback riding for almost eliminating her symptoms from multiple sclerosis, which she was diagnosed with in 1998.

Earlier this year, Democrats jabbed Romney for what they portrayed as mistreatment of his family dog, Seamus, which was infamously put in a kennel strapped to the roof of a car on a road trip from Boston to Canada decades ago.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ann Romney’s Horse Rafalca Heads to the London Olympics

ABC News (NEW YORK) -- The Romneys won’t just be attending the 2012 Summer Olympics in London: They now have a horse in the race.

Ann Romney’s dressage trainer Jan Ebeling and the horse they co-own will head to the games after coming in third today at the U.S. Equestrian Federation National Dressage Championships in Gladstone, N.J.

Although an official announcement won’t be made until Sunday, Ebeling and Rafalca, a 15-year-old Oldenburg mare, are almost certain to go because of his third place spot. USEF spokeswoman Kathy Meyer said there are five dressage spots on the U.S. Olympic team.

Romney is avidly involved in the expensive world of dressage, sometimes known as “horse ballet,” and was on hand for the Olympic qualifying event. She credits horseback riding for almost eliminating her symptoms from multiple sclerosis, which she was diagnosed with in 1998.

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of dressage as an Olympic sport. This will be Ebeling’s first Olympics.

Kenneth Braddick, who runs and is an expert in the sport, called Ebeling’s ride one of “the best performances of his life.”

The Romneys are planning on attending the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Mitt Romney’s role overseeing the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics is an important selling point for his campaign on the trail.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio