(Disclaimer: I am aware that Ann Romney, the Mittster's wife, suffers from multiple sclerosis, and that as part of her treatment for that disease she trains horses and works with horses. This is a story about a horse of which Ann Romney is part-owner. It is not a therapy horse, and, from everything I have read she has not been involved in the training of this horse. The pampered equine is simply a very expensive hobby and a hell of a tax break for a very wealthy individual and her two partners.)
Ann Romney is a part-owner of a horse that is going to compete in this summer's London Olympics - and, as with everything Romney, much about this horse is being carefully "sequestered" from the press and the public. Inquiring minds cannot find out how much money was involved in the 2006 purchase of the horse by the three investors, nor can they see pictures of the horse preparing for competing in the Olympics.
The particulars: The horse, a fifteen-year-old mare named Rafalca was born in Germany. She is an Oldenburg, a type of horse that is bred for show jumping and dressage - a stylized movement to music that is often demeaned in the press as horse dancing or horse ballet. One of these animals can sell for six or seven figures, but, again, the Romney's are going to extremes to keep the value of this particular horse a secret.
But here is a clue to Rafalca's value. In the Romney tax returns for 2010, they took a $77,000 loss (actually a tax credit) for their one-third share of the mare. Parents get a $1,000 tax credit for a child. The Romney's bought their share in this very fine horse in 2006, but Mitt is keeping his 2006-2009 tax returns secret, so we have no way of knowing how much money that ownership of Rafalca has actually saved the couple on taxes over those years.
Not every Romney tax dodge is hidden off-shore.
While Mitt Romney may not give a rip whether Americans have health care or not, and he definitely does not want the government assisting them in paying for health care, he is shelling out over $2,000 annually for Rafalca's medical needs. Her stable rent is $2,400 a month, over a thousand dollars a month above what the average family shells out for rent. And Rafalca's annual clothing budget is ten times that of a normal family in America.
So America, rest easy. While the rest of us ride coach, Rafalca flew to Britain on a private jet. She is well dressed and in good health, and it sounds like her stable is pretty damned fancy. Why a horse this special probably even gets to ride in the car elevator!
Rafalca, best of luck in your dance recital. Here's hoping you bring home the gold. Anything less could result in you taking your next trip on top of the family car!