It always bothers me when people criticize politicians and politicians’ wives for things that have absolutely nothing to do with their positions on policy issues. I’m willing to defend former Governor Mitt Romney against religious zealots; despite the fact I lived in Utah for years, and know very well that Mormonism holds some strange tenets and I know for a certainty that my favor won’t be returned.
I will also defend Ann Romney and her horse, Rafalca. It makes no difference to me that the lady is filthy rich and the horse highly overbred. They enjoy each other’s company and that is the essence of the owner/pet relationship. The camera cannot lie about that. She and I have a bit of common ground upon which to meet – we could probably tell each other horse stories all night.
The relationship between humans and their pets is a special one; of benefit to both in both physical and psychological ways. It has been medically proven that one lives longer when one has a pet to care for; one’s blood pressure trends lower; ones outlook is more positive.
Mrs. Romney has multiple sclerosis and riding is beneficial to her musculature and coordination. One need not be as rich as the Romneys to be able to ride for health reasons. There are any number of “therapeutic riding” organizations around the country; which offer mounts and volunteers to the physically and mentally disabled. It’s a beautiful thing to see those triumphant grins on the faces of riders who never thought they’d be able to do what they’re doing.
I know from personal experience with them that the horses understand. They are much more intelligent than most people give them credit for being and much more sensitive to the touch and pressure of their handler’s legs, seat, hands, voice, etc.
I owned a mare who lived to be 30 years old; she and I had a lifetime bond of love, care and protection. She helped teach my nieces and nephews to ride when they were young children. I trusted her to walk endless, patient circles at a steady plod until the kids were confident enough to balance themselves and handle reins. She was the mount I chose for my 77 year old mother when she rehabbed from abdominal surgery. It was remarkable to watch; the mare’s legs acted like perfect shock absorbers and the line of her back never varied up or down to jolt my mother in any way, as she regained her strength and coordination to ride again. Horses know. So, please, lay off Ann Romney about her horse.