Sunday, May 27, 2012

Giddyup! Er, Schnell! Schnell!

[Photo: Hitler henchman Hermann Goring, 300-pound Nazi equestrian, demonstrates the finer points of dressage riding to der boss in this historical photo]

An amusing story in today's Times concerns Ann Romney and her expensive hobby of dressage riding, and the various horse-tradings and associated equestrian pursuits, and legal disputes, by the Romneys.

Hey, I'm a horse guy. You won't find me carping about how much it costs to keep a horse. A horse costs dough. Nor would I ridicule high-quality dressage riding, which encompasses the most precise movements of horse and rider together and stems not from some prissy riding-circuit, but from the most exacting maneuvers of warhorse and cavalry in a very old tradition of superb ridership.

Still, it does not appear from the photo accompanying the story that Ann Romney has particularly good control of her horse, perhaps understandably because she's a relative novice as a rider, though a very well-heeled one (excuse the pun).

But I'm amazed by the Romneys' exorbitant horse expenses and their amusing relationship with a German horse-seller and dressage trainer, one of those familiar types barking away in the barns of the high-stakes, super-wealthy dressage world -- one Jan Ebeling, who is said to be a shrewd horse-trader and a very tough trainer/instructor.

Here's where I laughed out loud in the story: "Asked if she was ever unhappy with Mr. Ebeling’s instruction, Mrs. Romney said in a deposition in the lawsuit, “I think that is not a fair question because we all get upset at certain times with anybody that is — you know, especially a German.”

Several of the 1,000 or so readers who commented asked whether Ann Romney transported the horse on the roof of one of her Cadillacs, before the editors shut down the comments.

Me, I will resist the urge to elaborate on the somewhat colorful history of Mormons and disputes over horse-trading.


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