Final offering during the 2007 edition of the FEI World Cup Finals

By Father Mack- (a.k.a.: Father Larry David McCormick)

This, my final offering during the 2007 edition of the FEI World Cup Finals, will consist almost entirely of another person’s words. They will be the words of “O” Level judge Axel Steiner as he provided the broadcast audio commentary upon the Dressage Freestyle portion of the now nearly completed contests.

Courtney King & Idocus: “What we are going to hear is a full tour of Broadway. . . . A super rider, a super lady, and a super horse. . . . (At the extended trot): We all know that this is not his favorite move. The music very nicely underscored the movement. . . . This is the first real freestyle we are seeing.” (Ed.: This last comment made after five previous riders in the final had ridden, including 2005’s number two rider, Edward Gal.)

Edward Gal & Gribaldi: “That music [Ed.: Edward’s selection of “new age” music] is stronger than the ride. . . . Edward likes to push the envelope . . . . This music is difficult to interpret.” (Ed.: Apparently the five judges around the ring agreed as they offered quite low scores for artistic merit to Gal’s ride.) During Edward’s ride, Steiner supplied this piece of advice to all riders and their musical advisors who select melodies for a freestyle, “It is most important that the rider like the music since he must listen to it at home ad nauseum.”

Jan Brink & Briar 899: “His freestyle contained an awful lot of passage. Perhaps too much. . . . I’m allowed to be a little prejudiced tonight, so I can say that I like Idocus’ freestyle better.”

By Father Mack- (a.k.a.: Father Larry David McCormick)

Imke Schellekens-Bartels & Sunrise: “She’s spot on to the music. (Ed.: “The Spirit of Sunrise” composed for Imke by Dutch pianist Wibi Soerjadi. This was only the second time the duo rode to this music in competition.) “A beautiful piece of music. . . . The music was nice. The pirouette itself had significant problems. . . . I hear the composer is in the audience tonight. He should be congratulated. . . . That’s the difference between having to ride to pre-recorded music and having music especially created for you.” (At the Friday “consolation round” freestyle for the four riders who did not qualify for the final, Steiner opined during the ride of Wayne Channon and Lorenzo: “It is terribly difficult to find really nice walk music.”) Kyra Kyrklund & Max: “Here we see one of the top pros in the world riding. . . . Well, sometimes it works. (Ed.: Referring to Kyra’s failed attempt to increase the level of difficulty by riding a canter pirouette with only one hand on the reins.) A nice enough ride, but she’s not going to challenge Isabell. . . . Now it’s going to get interesting. Let’s see what Steffen can do. He can use a lot of help from the audience, guys.”

Isabell Werth & Warum Nicht: “And now, ladies and gentlemen, hold onto your hats. . . . She is the originator of the extended canter to a double pirouette transition (with a different horse, of course). It is something to behold in her hands. . . . She’s proud of her walk, so she makes sure that at least four of the five judges can see it clearly. . . . This is surely a nice reward (Ed.: Isabell’s cumulative score of 84.25) since, as you remember, two years ago Isabell had to withdraw because her horse was unsound. . . . Steffen’s (Ed.: Steffen Peters) got his work cut out.”

By Father Mack- (a.k.a.: Father Larry David McCormick)

Steffen Peters & Floriano: “It’s going to be difficult to catch Isabell, but there’s a lot of room between two and one. It will be great if Steffen can finish number two. . . . The music works. . . . Nice music change for the pirouette. . . . The old boy, Floriano, a nice extended canter. . . . He doesn’t have to hide the walk. He has a nice walk. . . . Some of you have been listening to me for three days now. You must be tired of me. But we have seen super sport. Good night.”

At this point in the evening Judge Steiner turned off his microphone but resumed broadcasting a few minutes later when Steffen’s and Floriano’s scores for the freestyle appeared on the Jumbotron. Steiner’s last two sentences of the evening were: “That’s a split decision. That should not happen.”

That is all for this go-around from your humble scribe. Thank you for letting me visit upon your computer screen. I look forward to returning.

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