Commentary from National Dressage Pony Cub

Oh my god, y’all, if you weren’t watching the National Dressage Pony Cup on USEF Network this weekend, you really missed out. Legendary dressage judge Axel Steiner was offering commentary on the live stream. I’m convinced this man is to dressage what George Morris is to hunter/jumpers.

He had some thoughts on freestyles:

  • “You have to be daring in a freestyle! This is straight out of the First Level test!”
  • “I’d prefer this music for the canter, but thisย sort of works.” (He clearly did not think it worked.)
  • “Certainly unusual music.” (I agreed; it was a very bizarre electronica mix.)
  • “She went quicker, but not longer. At least she thought about it.”
  • “Well, at least she finished with the music.” (This was very important to Axel Steiner.)
  • “Anybody who’s going to do a freestyle needs to be a dancer. You need to get on the dance floor.”
  • “The Third Level freestyle was the most satisfying to me, but who knows. I’m not sitting at C.”

He was frequently Not. Impressed:

  • “This was somewhat disappointing.”
  • “This was underwhelming.”
  • “Ehh *sigh*
  • “That was good. I’m surprised.”
  • “Why is she going around again? Don’t do that!”
  • “Now, ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to getย really exciting. We’re going to Intro B.”
  • “Intro Levels are there to get the horse in the ring. There’s no championships involved. THERE IS NOTHING.”
  • “I’m not sure what that was.”

He had opinions on the ponies:

  • “He’s a little over pony size!”
  • “This is a very bay Connemara.”
  • “Oh, he’s going to take a little night-night here in the free walk.”

And my favorite line of all:

“Somebody’s shouting someplace. We have some instructor or mother or somebody on the line. I’m sure we’re all hearing some good advice. I can’t hear it all.”

Don’t get me wrong- he had positive things to say, too! He seemed like a very “call it like it is” sort of guy; I’d love to audit one of his clinics.

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

15 thoughts on “Commentary from National Dressage Pony Cub”

  1. That sounds hysterical! I know some of my friends have cliniced with him, maybe the next time he’s nearby I’ll try to audit. The George Morris memes always make me giggle, perhaps Axel needs some! Haha

    1. I think he’s been in my area for a clinic before- I’ll definitely have to keep an eye out for the next one! And yes, he definitely needs some memes.

  2. God, I LOVE Axel Steiner. My friend clinic’d with him, and he ripped her apart. I believe she said that nothing he told her wasn’t “wrong” but it was certainly “very direct.” Lol. Ouch! I certainly would quake to ride Pig in front of him.

    That said, I have heard he’s a very fair judge. I’ve gotta agree with Axel on the freestyles, though. No one likes a boring freestyle, and I can’t dance a bit so I won’t be doing one!

    Aside: I’ve had a judge once remark that the trainer in the warmup was “client shopping” because of her loud yelling. The idea was, if you’re the loudest voice out there, you’re getting the attention of those who need help. They might reach out to you later for lessons. I’d honestly never thought of that until she said it. But since I decided to try my trainer based on her show coaching, I can see that it would be true! (Mine wasn’t the one yelling, FYI. Yelling is not a thing I personally look for in a trainer. The ability to give and take a joke, however…)

    1. I would NOT want to ride in front of him! Not even on Gina’s very best day ever! I prefer to ride for kindly, sympathetic instructors who will gently tell me what I need to do to improve.

      I 100% agree on the freestyles- I think he had some valid points about doing them at lower levels. The movements required are so basic that you absolutely have to have good music, be accurate, and try to do something interesting! Johnny suggested I put together a routine to Nate Dogg hits for Moe, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen. ๐Ÿ˜›

  3. I saw some advertisements for the Dressage Pony Cup in my FB feed, and it looked intriguing as is. Now hearing about this great commentary, I definitely feel like I missed out!

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