Olympic Dressage gets under way. How did Ann Romney's horse do?
Dressage has been compared to ballet, but from a scoring standpoint, it’s a lot like gymnastics or figure skating: the more difficult the routine, the higher the starting point value.
Dressage, which wraps up its first day of Olympic competition today at Greenwich Park in London, may be having its most high-profile season ever, thanks to the Romneys. Ann Romney’s horse, Rafalca, made her Olympic debut this morning in the first group of riders in the team competition. So, in the wake of becoming a political liability and a favorite punchline for Stephen Colbert, how did the 15-year-old Oldenburg mare do on her first day?Skip to next paragraph
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Great, if you ask Ann Romney. “She was consistent and elegant,” Mrs. Romney told the Associated Press following Rafalca’s outing with rider and co-owner Jan Ebeling. “She did not disappoint. She thrilled me to death."
Mr. Ebeling was excited, too, telling the AP that Rafalca was “amped up” and had a little more “oomph” than usual. The pair scored a 70.213 out of 100 on their initial test, a solid score that put them in the middle of the pack fairly early in the day.
"I am not even sure what day the sport goes on," Romney said. "I will not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well."
How does it work?
Dressage tests are comprised of a series of movements, with the horse and rider receiving a score out of 10 for each element. The sport has been compared to ballet, but from a scoring standpoint, it’s a lot like gymnastics or figure skating: the more difficult the routine, the higher the possible starting point value.
As in figure skating, competitions are determined by multiple routines, or “tests” (three for dressage). The test with the highest point potential is the freestyle, where competitors choreograph their own routines to music they choose.
Dressage scores in the 70s are respectable enough; crack an 80, though, and you’re in it for a medal. The highest Grand Prix score on record is a 92.30, hit in a freestyle routine back in 2010 by Dutch Olympic team member Edward Gal and his former mount, Tortilas.