Romney Puts Horse-Sized Distance Between Himself and Dressage

(Image Credit: Brian Cahn/ZUMA Press/Corbis)

Much is made during the Olympics of the robust support systems needed to send an Olympian into competition. The parents, families and employers who rally around their athlete to get them to the games. The village it takes to make Olympic dreams come true.

But for Mitt Romney, whose wife Ann's horse Rafalca will compete in the Olympic event of dressage, he makes it clear it's really not his thing.

In an interview with NBC News Wednesday night, Romney spoke of the experience of being in the Olympics with the disengaged tone and shrug of a husband who doesn't quite get his wife's hobby.

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"It's a big, exciting experience for my wife. I have to tell you, this is Ann's sport," he said. "I'm not even sure which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it, I will not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well. But just the honor of being here and representing our country and seeing the other Olympians is … something which I'm sure the people that are associated with this are looking forward to."

But it was just recently that Mitt Romney was one of "the people that are associated" with team Rafalca. During the Dressage World Cup in April, Rafalca performed to music personally chosen by the Republican presidential candidate.

Horses have long been a shared hobby of the Romney couple. Mitt Romney has talked enthusiastically about his interest in riding, telling Fox News in April that, "Me, I have a Missouri Fox Trotter. So mine is like a quarter horse, but just a much better gait."

So why the waning enthusiasm? Perhaps now, amid attacks on his wealth and financial dealings, he wants to try and distance himself from this rarefied world of "horse ballet," as dressage is commonly called.

Maybe running for office and making his first big foreign trip as presidential candidate have turned his mind to other things. But perhaps he'll find time during his meetings with foreign leaders to catch up on how his wife, whom he has called "my rock," and her horse are doing as they vie for an Olympic medal.