Ann Romney’s Horse Flies to the London Olympics in Private, Chartered Jet
Some facts about Rafalca, Ann Romney’s $100,000 hobby horse who is in London to compete in the Olympic dressage there:
Before she flew to London in early July with her Olympic teammates, Rafalca, whose chartered jet made use of the full length of the runway to ensure a gentle takeoff, stayed at Hamilton Farm in Gladstone, N.J. Once the 5,000-acre estate of the heir to a turn-of-the-century utility baron, the farm is now home to a private golf club and the U.S. Equestrian Team. Here, Rafalca, a 15-year-old German-born mare, lived under a vaulted, tile ceiling in a terrazzo-floored stable with brass fittings.
As Rafalca pursues Olympic glory, she’s become a political punch line. Al Gore’s Current TV put together a comparison of the costs of raising a family and raising a dressage horse. (Family shelter, $16,352; horse, $28,800.)
In 2006, Ebeling brokered the purchase of Rafalca. Neither he nor the Romneys will say what they paid, but Larissa Barilar, who breeds similar horses at High Point Hanoverians in Chestertown, Md., says a mare like Rafalca would have gone for at least $100,000.
In 2010 the Romneys claimed a $77,000 loss on their share of the partnership that owns Rafalca.
What a hobby.