Ann Romney gleefully discussed the weekend news that her dressage trainer and horse she co-owns with him were going to compete in this summer’s London Olympics saying it’s been a “dream of mine for a long, long time.”
The wife of the presumptive GOP nominee sent out a tweet after Jan Ebeling came in third in the Olympic qualifying event guaranteeing him a spot on the team with their horse Rafalca. But, this is the first time she spoke about the achievement and her happiness and pride were evident in her voice.
“I’m so excited honestly to be able to represent the United States,” Mrs. Romney said on the Frank Beckmann radio show, which airs in Michigan. “To have a horse that will be fighting for gold in London and I’m very excited about that…ever since I’ve been a little girl I loved horses and what a dream come true to be able to go to the Olympics.”
The Romneys and several other family members are in the midst of a five-day, six-state bus tour and they will head to their native Michigan Tuesday. In the interview, she said they were “excited about getting back” to their home state. Mrs. Romney took a day off the trail Saturday to attend the U.S. Equestrian Federation National Dressage Championships in Gladstone, N.J., and watch Ebeling and Rafalca earn their spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
Romney is avidly involved in the expensive world of dressage, sometimes known as “horse ballet.” 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, but the Romneys’ involvement has given the sport more notoriety than it has ever experienced. Even satirist Stephen Colbert has been targeting dressage and the Romneys with his humor naming dressage the “Sport of the Summer.”
Romney told Beckmann she rides Rafalca as well, but not in competition, comparing her level of horseback riding to an Olympic level like a “country club pro…and then going to Wimbledon. You don’t understand how professional these riders are riding at this level. It’s quite difficult, it’s quite competitive.”
On Sunday Mitt Romney told CBS News’ Bob Schieffer his wife “cares very deeply about this sport and about the horses.
“I joke that I’m going to have to send her to Betty Ford for addiction to horses,” Romney said.
Mitt Romney is expected to attend the opening ceremonies in London, but he said Sunday he won’t be with his wife to watch Ebeling and Rafalca compete because he will have to get back to the campaign trail. He’s attended every Olympics since heading up the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and the story of those Games is a frequent campaign talking point for the candidate.
Ann Romney said in the interview she and her husband love the campaign trail, but Sunday she took on some protesters who threatened to disrupt her husband’s campaign event in Newark, Ohio.
Beckmann asked her about encountering protesters on the campaign trail and she said, “It’s what we love about America so I don’t mind them.”
“They were…trying to shout us down yesterday and I don’t mind,” Romney said. “It’s a great contrast for why we love this country and how hard people have to work to accomplish their dreams and we don’t want to punish people who have success.”