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The Madera Tribune

Dressage riders don’t just horse around

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webmaster | 07/28/12

Democrat comedians and some hand-wringing Republican strategists are making fun of presumed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney because he owns a top-of-theline dressage horse entered in the Olympics. They say it makes him seem out of touch with ordinary Americans.

I beg to differ. Without knowing how particular Democrat comedians or Republican apologists feel about horses, I believe ordinary Americans respect and admire the animals and those who care for them and ride them.

I wonder, has the comedic Democrat genius Stephen Colbert, for example, ever tried to ride dressage — as Mrs. Romney does, to help her cope with the multiple sclerosis from which she suffers. She’d kick his fanny in 30 seconds.

Dressage takes much skill and a lot of muscle. In the Olympics and at horse shows, the dressage riders dress in top hats and tails and the horses are beautifully groomed, but that is merely for formality and show. The skills the dressage riders must develop in order to conform the horse are considerable.

Dressage riding takes hours of hard work and discipline, and like any form of horsemanship requires an absolute commitment to the welfare of the animal.

Race horses are another example of showy animals that require work and care, and seldom return to their owners anywhere near the amount of money that is put into them. But they and their riders, whose styles mimic dressage, are said to be the toughest athletes out there.

Quarter horses that are used for livestock herding can be found working on many ranches locally, and the men and women who ride them generally love their animals, take care of them and treat them with respect.

Hundreds of teenagers in Madera and elsewhere have learned skills that have made them better adults by owning and working with horses.

The fact that Romney can afford to acquire good horses and a good trainer means he can help build the sport, which he does, and all American horses and riders eventually will benefit.

Ronald Reagan was a horseman, Teddy Roosevelt was a horseman, Jacqueline Kennedy was a horsewoman, Harry Truman rode a horse when he was an Army captain in World War I, Generals Douglas McArthur and George Patton were horsemen. Average Americans know about horses and love them.

Average politicians, on the other hand, generally only have familiarity with one end of the critter.


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