Saturday, July 28, 2012

What do the Queen of England's grand-daughter, a Japanese senior citizen and Mitt Romney have in common?

The Olympics have a ton to offer horse lovers this year. Of course every Olympic horse event is special, but 2012 has some extra spark about it:

Zara Phillips, the Queen of England's 31 year old grand-daughter, will be competing Sunday in eventing, arguably one of the most dangerous horse sports out there. She will ride High Kingdom, owned by Trevor Hemmings. High Kingdom is an 11 year old Irish Sport Horse gelding, a very fancy boy indeed. Unfortunately, he was acting like a dork at his last inspection, and Zara was recalled by the judges to make him walk past again! Best of luck to the not-quite-royalty.

Hiroshi Hoketsu will be the oldest man at the Olympics this year, and he'll be competing on the back of a horse! Japanese athlete Hiroshi Hoketsu is the second-oldest Olympian ever at 71, and the oldest ever to compete in Olympic Dressage. In an interview, he stated that he doesn't have any secrets to longevity or athleticism:

"People might expect that I am able to participate for so long because I have special habits. But my secret is to have a good life, enjoy yourself and do the things that make you happy." 

He then went on to talk about all of the exercises he does-- sorry folks, nothing comes easy.

What would sports be without politics? Mitt Romney's wife part-owns an Olympic horse this year, the dressage mare Rafalca. Unfortunately for the Romneys, this hasn't exactly worked out in their favor. Half of America accuses them of being super-rich snobs, while the other half condemns his wishy-washy conservatism and lack of support for his wife's passion. In a succinctly snarky article, Nick Chiles puts it well: "Something tells me that if Romney were mayor of New York, he’d sneak into the opera wearing a fake nose and a mustache—while the next day we’d see him front and center at the Rangers hockey game, clutching a beer he doesn’t really want to drink."

I'd feel more sorry for Mitt had he not put his foot in his mouth this past week when he criticized London for being unprepared for the Olympics. That went over just peachy with the Brits; one London paper even called him a "twit." Mitt then bragged about having met with the British secret agency MI:5, a major taboo. I'm really glad our possible future president is doing so well with foreign diplomacy.

Not helping matters is the fact that the Romneys got $77,000 in tax breaks for their horse hobby, a sum larger than the average horse owner's annual salary. Then there's the near-media-blackout on the Romneys and Rafalca, annoying the press and public alike. Personally, I think the best thing to come out of this debacle is Rafalca's parody Twitter account. "How much should you tip a London cabby after you've shit in his car?" Rafalca tweeted several days ago.

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