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Ann Romney’s High Horse

Ann Romney found herself briefly the subject of a lawsuit at whose core, according to court documents, was a heavily-medicated horse.

Romney and her trainers sold the horse, Super Hit, in 2008 for $125,000. And Super Hit had what a prominent veterinarian described as a staggering quantity of drugs in its system at the time of its examination before being sold, according to a toxicology report that’s part of the lawsuit over the horse’s condition.

The lawsuit, which was mentioned in a New York Times story last month, was filed in 2010 by a woman in San Diego who had bought Super Hit from Romney and her trainers, Jan and Amy Ebeling. The woman, Catherine Norris, sued Romney for fraud after the horse allegedly proved physically incapable of performing as a dressage horse.

The case with Romney was settled last September and she is no longer involved in the lawsuit.

According to a toxicology report provided to the horse’s vet and testimony from a veterinarian, Dr. Steven Soule, included in the lawsuit, Super Hit had three sedative pain killers and one narcotic pain killer in her system when the horse was examined to check her condition pre-sale. The drugs were Butorphanol, Delomidine, Romifidine, and Xylatine.

Soule, who has been the United States Equestrian Team veterinarian since 1978, writes, “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.” The horse had a defect in its foot, and Norris’s lawyers alleged that the Ebelings had drugged the horse in order to hide its condition.

The New York Times has over the last few weeks turned a spotlight on the related topic of performance-enhancing drugs in horses. A Romney spokeswoman didn’t respond to inquiries about the case or the broader policy.

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