Ann Romney with her horse, Super Hit, in a 2006 photo. (Terri Miller/Handout)
Who or what’s that?
Oh… just another dressage horse the Romney’s once owned – and tried to sell.
Selling horses is not illegal, immoral, or unethical.
However, to attempt to sell a horse that is so doped up in an effort to masquerade, conceal or hide a defective, sick, injured or wounded condition… well, now, that’s a horse of a different color.
Ann Romney was named as a defendant in such a case.
Here’s what Dr. Stephen Soule, DVM – an expert in equine podiatry – said of the horse Mrs. Romney was trying to sell:
“In my 38 years of practice, I have never come across a drug screen such as this where the horse has been administered so many different medications at the same time.”
This was not some long-ago issue, for the complaint was filed February 10, 2010 in California Superior Court, Ventura County, is case number 56-2010-00372707-CU-FR-SIM, and was set for trial September 12, 2011.
Here’s the nut of the case:
In 2010, a San Diego woman – Catherine Norris – sued Mrs. Romney, dressage trainer Jan Ebeling and his wife Amy for fraud, claiming that the severity of a foot defect in Super Hit, a dressage horse she purchased from Mrs. Romney for $125,000, was concealed.
The expert equine veterinarian, Dr. Stephen Soule, stated in the record that, “In my professional opinion, based on 38 years of experience in equine veterinary medicine and in conducting nearly 2000 pre-purchase examinations during this time, the HA-VETALOG injections to the left front coffin joint coupled with Super Hit’s inconsistent show record, decline in test scores, consistency in the remarks of different show judges on score sheets that Super Hit was “tense,” had “tension” and “tight” and “stiff,” and the fact that he was not shown for nearly 2½ years prior to the sale in February 2008, Super Hit was more likely than not chronically lame prior to Catherine Norris’ purchase in February 2008.”
A pre-purchase drug screen/toxicology study performed February 13, 2008 by Center for Tox Services, Inc. – an Arizona lab – on 6 blood collection tubes drawn from the horse Super Hit found Butorphanol (a synthetic opioid pain killer), Detomadine (a α2-adrenergic agonist, used as a sedative in horses), romifidine (another sedative mainly used on large animals such as horses), and xylazine (a medication used in horses for sedation, anesthesia, muscle relaxation, and pain relief) in the horse’s system.
Also named in the suit was Dr. Doug Herthen, DVM, the veterinarian who treated Super Hit, and who purposely failed to disclose the nature of his relationship with Ann Romney and Super Hit to the purchaser, Mrs. Norris. In his testimony, Dr. Soule wrote that, “The professional ethics standard in veterinary medicine is to disclose any implied, apparent, or actual conflicts of interest before agreeing to conduct the pre-purchase examination. In other words, there is no such thing as dual representation without disclosure. In my professional opinion, the failure of Doug Herthel to disclose to Catherine Norris his existing and/or prior professional relationship with the defendants Amy and Jan Eberling, prior to the pre-purchase examination, was a breach of his professional duties and ethics.”
For very nearly a decade, Mrs. Romney has held a financial and ownership stake in The Acres, a horse training ranch about 45 miles northwest of Los Angeles, which is also owned by Jan & Amy Eberling. Mr. Eberling is a dressage trainer from Germany. With the Romneys, the Eberlings own Rob Rom Enterprises LLC, a foreign corporation registered in Delaware, which buys and trains dressage horses.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous is nothing new for the Romneys, because in a 1994 interview with the Boston Globe while Mitt was campaigning for Massachusetts governor, Ann described their years as “struggling students,” saying that “neither one of us had a job, because Mitt had enough of an investment from stock [from his father] that we could sell off a little at a time.”
Yeah. That’s gotta’ be a struggle.
Of course, it goes without saying – but here it is, anyway – that, in an interview with Neal Cavuto of Fox News in March 2012, Ann Romney said, “I don’t even consider myself wealthy, which is an interesting thing.” Many people would probably find that interesting, too – particularly given that Mitt’s estimated wealth is in excess of $250 Million. Perhaps $100,000 horses are but chump change to that crowd.
The New York Times covered the issue with the following story, which also mentions the $77,000 tax deduction the Romneys took in 2010 for Rafalca, another of the Romneys’ expensive dressage horses.
Other newspapers covering the story included the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. Because of the location of the case Read the rest of this entry »