(OCALA, Fla.) — While visiting a therapeutic horse riding facility in Ocala, Fla., Ann Romney said Tuesday night’s results in Wisconsin were “pretty exciting.”
Romney put two thumbs up and broke into a grin when asked by ABC News her reaction to Gov. Scott Walker’s win Tuesday night in the Badger State. (Tuesday’s gubernatorial recall election was the third in the nation’s history and the first in which the governor survived.)
Mrs. Romney is on a three-day tour of Florida, campaigning for her husband, but there wasn’t much talk of politics Wednesday at the Marion Therapeutic Riding Association. Instead she was focused on her favorite pastime: horses.
She credits horseback riding for easing her symptoms from multiple sclerosis; diagnosed with MS in 1998, she says it’s now in remission. Romney met with patients who, like her, ride as a form of therapy to rid themselves of symptoms of a variety of illnesses and disabilities, including children suffering from cerebral palsy and other adult MS patients.
After visiting the stables, Romney put on a helmet and rode a horse named Duke around the ring. Talking over driving rain on the tin roof, Romney told patients as well as facility staff, family and volunteers around the ring that she was “not able to get out of bed” or even walk at one point, her MS symptoms were that severe. But the “excitement of getting on a horse” helped her.
“Horses are amazing teachers,” said Romney, who was dressed in a floral blouse, jeans and sneakers. “I love these wonderful, sweet companions that teach us so much.”
The Marion association treats a range of illnesses and disabilities in adults and children, including autism, MS, cerebral palsy, even soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Romney explained to the crowd that the “four-step gait” of the horse mimics the crawling of a baby and is why it helps build core strength in patients weakened from MS.
Although she was stumping for her husband, his name was not mentioned until the very end when an MTRA board member shouted, “Vote for Mitt Romney!” Ann Romney repeated the line, with a laugh.
She continues campaigning in the Sunshine State Thursday with a stop in Pensacola. She will tour the breast cancer unit of the Woodlands Center for Specialized Medicine. Romney was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, but is now cancer-free. Tuesday, she addressed a group of women in Miami in a much more overtly political event where she touted her husband’s credentials and openly tried to woo voters in this battleground state.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ruth Brown, Idaho Press-Tribune
Marissa Morrison, KIVI