After 45 years of judging, Axel is an overnight sensation. Funny how that works!
For each of the three California Dreaming Production shows this winter and spring, Axel was the Voice of Dressage, commentating on all of the CDI classes for the live streaming, which was broadcast in partnership with The Chronicle of the Horse.
I don’t know the exact viewer numbers, but I know that people were watching from all over the country, from Europe and from Australia…. And I’m told that our broadcast garnered more viewers than the show at Wellington the same weekend.
Axel’s first live public commentary was years before live streaming existed: he was the headphone commentator at the 2006 Olympic Selection Trials, at the 2007 World Cup at Las Vegas, and at Gladstone before London. He says that husbands came up to him at these venues after classes were over to thank him, because after listening to him during the competition, they finally understood what their wives had been trying to accomplish with their horses all these years.
This year, I saw trainers and parents standing by the wide screen TVs, taping Axel’s commentary about their students and children so that it could be played back after their rides. Long time owners were thrilled at how much they learned about the how’s and why’s of scoring. Nervous juniors wrote thank yous because they were bolstered by his comments. And Axel’s email and news feed were awash in messages.
Oh, it made me so very happy! You see, I know how kind, and funny, but utterly honest my man is, and it’s a thrill to hear others discover this as they listening to him. He’ll never tell his listeners that the piaffe was fabulous when it wasn’t, but he comments with the utmost respect for the riders and horses…. He calls himself a cheerleader, after all! He wants everyone to do their best, and he’s always on the side of the horse.