FEI 'O' Judge Axel Steiner calls it like he sees it and is influenced strictly by what he sees, may have been the odd man out among the judges, but not the crowd, most of whom shared his opinion on the final results of the FEI Dressage World Cup Final. Did Anky Van Grunsven have the golden glow of Olympic Gold following her into the arena, or was it the order of go that affected the scores?
Regardless to be a judge in the sometimes subjective world of Dressage in the media era of the new millennium puts more pressure than ever on the outcome. Throw into the mix that among the sold out crowd was an audience of knowledgeable dressage enthusiasts who knew what they saw. A member of the 5 judge panel in the final, Steiner had Edward Gal first, Debbie mcDonald second, and Anky Van Grunsven third. Steiner (shown here with his lovely wife photographer and artist Terri Miller - photo by Charlene Stickland) shared his thoughts with DressageDaily.
"After being the '1' in a 4:1 decision, I appreciated that so many 'insiders' and general public were kind enough to let me know that they agreed with my placings. In this case I don't feel wrong or right by being the odd man out. Judging is a team event, and it is the sum of all five judges that determines the final placings. This was a particularly difficult class to judge, and I hope my colleagues would agree that if we could have tied the first three riders it would not have been a perfect solution but an agreeable one, because all three horse/rider combinations were winners -- each with a different highlight. Freestyle has come a long way!
Anky Van Grunsven and Keltec Salinero - "Phenomenal Freestyle Technician with great music. However, in my opinion, with some tension throughout the test and some movements below her standards, i.e., her difficult to judge approach to both her 1 1/2 pirouettes, both close to A, and both not quite in balance."
Debbie McDonald and Brentina - "Technically solid, performed a fun and entertaining ride. Great for the audience and for the sport especially here in the USA."
Edward Gal and Lingh - "Technically very solid with also great music and interpretation. He danced with his partner, it was 'Elegance in Motion' and what Dressage should be all about."
On the Scene at HorsesDaily.com
Complete results, news, photos, commentary of the 2005 FEI Las Vegas World Cup Final