In an interview with Fox News, Mitt Romney was asked to respond to the news that his wife's horse would be competing in the Olympics dressage competition, as well as the notion that the sport itself was elitist.
"It is actually Ann's passion, not so much mine, to tell you the truth," Romney replied, with laughter. "When I get the chance to ride a horse, it is Western and it is on the trail. But Ann is very much devoted to the sport and she loves it and it's of course been an extraordinarily powerful healing element in her life. So what works for her is not something I'm going to get in the middle of."
The benefits that horse riding has provided to Ann Romney's medical well-being are well documented, and it certainly is eminently reasonable to note that in a response to the question. But it's not clear how Romney himself dispels the elitist idea by clarifying that he only rides Western -- a delineation that will, in all likelihood, be lost on the public.
While the Romneys' horses might not be staying in the White House if he wins in November, take a look back at some other presidential pets:
The Obama family's new dog, Bo, made his public debut in April 2009. The 6-month-old Portuguese water dog was a gift from Sen. Edward Kennedy, a fan of the breed. Here, Bo pulls Malia while Sasha and President Barack Obama follow. Click through for other presidential pets. (Ron Edmonds, AP)
Before Bo, two Scottish terriers shared the title of First Dog. Here, President George W. Bush and Laura carry their Scottish Terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, before departing via Marine One to their Crawford, Texas ranch in 2005. (Lawrence Jackson, AP)
The Bushes also had a cat, India. She died in 2009 at the age of 18. Barbara Bush, then 9, named the female black domestic shorthair after baseball player Ruben Sierra, known as El Indio. India, shown dressed up for Halloween in 2007, was also known as "Willie." (Shealah Craighead, The White House/Getty Images)
Socks, held here by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1999, did not get along with their chocolate Labrador retriever, Buddy, here with President Clinton in 1998. When the Clintons left the White House, Socks moved in with Betty Currie, Bill Clinton's former secretary. (AP | Getty Images)
George H.W. Bush had Millie, who co-authored a book as "told to" first lady Barbara Bush. 'Millie's Book' became a best-seller that outsold the 41st president's own memoirs. Here, Millie watches as President Bush gets a kiss from wife Barbara on the South Lawn of the White House before leaving on a 1992 trip. (Barry Thumma, AP)
The Reagans originally had a Bouvier des Flandres named Lucky, given to Nancy Reagan by the 1985 March of Dimes poster child Kristen Ellis. Lucky moved to the family's California ranch in 1995 after getting too big for the White House and was succeeded by Rex, a Cavalier King spaniel, here with his owners in 1986. (Dennis Cook, AP)
The Carters shared their presidential palace with a dog named Grits, here being petted by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. Grits was given to first daughter Amy Carter by one of her teachers. The family also shared the White House with Misty Malarky Ying Yang, Amy's Siamese cat. (AP)
President Gerald Ford often sat with his dog Liberty, a golden retriever seen here in a 1974 photo, in the Oval Office. Liberty had a litter of pups while at the White House. Shan, first daughter Susan Ford's Siamese cat, also lived there. (AP)
President Nixon pats the head of his Irish setter, King Timahoe, as he walks from the Executive Office building to the White House in this 1970 photo. White House electrician Traphes Bryant holds back the other first family pets -- Pasha, a Yorkshire terrier, and Vickie, a miniature French poodle. (AP)
President Lyndon B. Johnson had beagles named Him and Her, a white collie named Blanco and a mixed breed named Yuki. President Johnson holds Her by the ears as White House visitors look on in a notable 1964 photo. This picture raised criticism from dog lovers. (Charles P. Gorry, AP)
The Kennedys were lucky they weren't required to have a zoo license during their time in the White House, from 1961 to 1963. The family's animals included dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks and a pony. (AP)
First lady Mamie Eisenhower stands outside the White House with her granddaughter, Barbara Anne, and the Eisenhower's pet Weimaraner, Heidi, in 1958. (Ed Clark, Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
President Harry Truman once said, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." But after the president received this cocker spaniel, Feller, as a Christmas gift in 1947, he elected to give the puppy to the White House physician. Feller was handed off several more times before ending up on a farm in Ohio. Here, Feller is shown on White House Lawn in an undated photo. (Thomas D. Mcavoy, Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt rest at their Hyde Park, New York home in 1941. Mrs. Roosevelt is knitting as the president gives his attention to his dog, Fala. Fala had a bone every morning brought up on the president's breakfast tray and traveled with the president on both long and short trips. (AP)
Herbert Hoover poses with his police dog, King Tut, in this 1928 photo. This photo was widely circulated during the 1928 presidential campaign, and some observers credited it with helping boost Hoover's image in his election win over Democratic candidate Al Smith. (Library of Congress/AP)
President Calvin Coolidge once said, "Any man who does not like dogs and want them about does not deserve to be in the White House." He and first lady Grace Coolidge had a wide array of pets, including dogs, cats, canaries, wombats and raccoons. Here the couple is shown with one of their dogs on the White House portico in 1924. (AP)
President Warren Harding had a Airedale terrier, Laddie Boy, who had his own hand-carved chair so he could attend Cabinet meetings. He also delivered the newspaper to the president each day. Here, the pair is shown in a 1922 photo. (Library Of Congress/AP)
During World War I, sheep were brought to graze on the White House lawns in order to save the manpower required to mow the grounds. Wool from the sheep was sold to raise funds for the Red Cross. (Library of Congress) <br> Sources: CNN, Presidentialpetmuseum.com, AP, WhiteHouse.gov