OK. I might not be the perfect person to write about Rafalca and dressage and Ann Rmoney. After all, I have piloted a horse exactly once as an adult. That particular horse was alleged to be the gentlest, calmest, oldest one in her group. That's why she and I were together. Briefly. I don't think she liked me any more than I liked sitting on her sweating back.
And given an apple recently to feed a different, smaller horse, which horse happened to have the job of pulling a small wagon (don't ask), I arranged for somebody more experienced in horse matters to do it instead of me. I just didn't want to put my clean hands near said equine's toothsome mouth. In fact, everybody is probably more experienced with horses than me. But that does not matter.
Yes, some of my friends and neighbors have some horses, or ride them, or are interested in rescuing abused horses, or they compete in simulations or actual barbaric blood sports in which simulated or real foxes are chased with real live hounds while they ride after the melee on huge horses. I live in the country, after all. In upstate New York. But I know nothing about the details of those outings. It's not a topic I have discussed.
Put simply, I am just not a horse person. I have nothing against horses. But horses, as opposed to races and betting, are not something that the formerly urban, lower middle class (that would be my family of origin) generally has dealt with. Yes, the kids occasionally got in touch with a pony or two, but that's it. And my experience with horses was limited to day old Racing Forms. And speculation about great windfalls.
Despite this generational equine aversion, I was delighted today to read the following in the newspaper of record:
As he rode into the ring on his horse, Rafalca, the equestrian Jan Ebeling blew a kiss to a few women in the stands he calls the three amigos: his wife, Amy Ebeling; Beth Meyer; and Ann Romney, whose husband, Mitt, is the presumptive presidential candidate for the Republican Party.Look. I've got a problem with this. We're talking here about the New York Times. The Gray Lady. There are three women, so they are tres amigas, or if you insist on mixing languages,which I do all the time but which the Newspaper of Record frowns at, three amigas, but they cannot be three amigos. Never. And then we have the piaffes. Ignorant moi. I thought there was only one, Edith, whom I adored. How little I knew. I didn't know horses could talk, let alone sing. Except Mr. Ed. And as far as I know, he didn't do dressage. He was a talker, not a dancer.
They share ownership of Rafalca, a 15-year-old mare, and they were on hand at Greenwich Park on Tuesday morning to see what would be Ebeling and Rafalca’s last ride at the London Games.
“I’m really happy with her piaffes,” Ebeling said about Rafalca’s moves in the ring after their turn in the Grand Prix Special portion of the dressage finals.
Ebeling and Rafalca received an individual score of 69.302, not enough to advance to the Grand Prix Freestyle on Thursday. Ebeling and his “three amigos” learned on Tuesday afternoon that the United States finished sixth in team dressage. Britain won, followed by Germany and the Netherlands.
But enough of this confused quadruped palaver.
The best news of all: this by now famous horse hasn't made the grade. It will not advance. It will not be on NBC's Olympics, though it might be on the MSNBC news. Again. But it won't be because of sport. (An aside: how can what a horse does be considered in the same arena as something like the pole vault?). No. It will be because of our national reflection on Rafalca's significance.
I wish I had said this:
Mitt Romney would have us believe that he cares nothing about the Olympic performance of his horse Rafalca. Why, then, own this exquisite and superbly trained animal whose housing costs alone are nearly $29,000 a year? Could it be that the horse yields the Romneys a $77,000 plus yearly tax credit?Hah. Why indeed. And that's the conservative Union Leader's editorial staff talking about Rafalca.
Our family owns an adorable and very spoiled Dachshund who animates the household with her cheerful attitude and her unconditional love. Yet, the cost of her housing, food and veterinary care do not qualify for a tax credit.
Why does the United States tax code discriminate in favor of fancy horse owners as opposed to those of us who love dogs? Both Rafalca and pet dogs are luxuries and not essentials. They are not business investments but choices to enrich our lives. But, maybe there is a distinction based on who influences and produces the tax code to the benefit of some and not to others.
This is about a $77,000 per year tax credit on a horse that is 15 years old and does not win a medal. And does not qualify for the finals. It comes in sixth. So would that be like 15 x $77,000? I spare you the math: it's $1.15 Million. I also spare you the inevitable comparison to US annual household income. Let's just say the horse's numbers are way higher. Significantly higher. The horse's housing and eating expenses are higher than an average American's (to clairify: an average North American variety American, and ridiculously much higher than all the rest of the Americans in this Hemisphere).
So I'm happy that this particular tax boondoggle has now failed, at least as far as Olympic medals are concerned. But you must note that this particular equine boondoggle is an outrageously successful winner in the Form 1040 arena. It's apparently succeeded wildly at that. Just as the tres amigas and the chofers thought it would.
I confess it. This Olympic, equine comeuppance really makes me want to see Rmoney's tax returns. I want to see all these tax credits for horses like Rafalca and heaven knows what other nonsense he's making a killing on. Note, if you will that you make the tax killing whether or not the beast is any good at whatever it's supposed to be good at. In other words, even if you fail in horse dancing world, you win, win, win in Form 1040 world.
I'd like to see all of Rmoney's returns for the past decade. I'd like to see how he's been horsing around (I've suppressed that this far into the essay, give me a break). I bet his tax returns would make my eyes fall out. And you know what? I bet he knows that our eyes would fall out, too, so he's not going to allow the Affordable Care Act to replace our eyes. No. He's going to repeal ACA and just not show us his income tax returns. That, Willard, if I can be forgiven from using phrases you yourself might use, is mighty white of you.
I know. I know. I'm never gonna see those returns. I'm going to have to trust Rmoney on this one.
Know what? I don't think I do. I don't think I do at all. And I won't bet $10,000 on Rafalca either.