Axel Steiner Judges Last CDI, Sydney Equitana World Cup

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Axel Steiner at "C" taking a rider's salute at the Sydney Equitana World Cup Freestyle, the last CDI to be judged by the American FEI 5* official. Photo: Patrick Jackson
Axel Steiner at “C” taking a rider’s salute at the Sydney Equitana World Cup Freestyle, the last CDI to be judged by the American FEI 5* official. Photo: Patrick Jackson

Axel Steiner of the United States judged his last CDI Saturday night, the Sydney Equitana World Cup Freestyle, ending 25 years as an International Equestrian Federation FEI “O” (now 5*) judge.

The retirement of Axel came after two one-year extensions beyond the FEI’s mandatory retirement age of 70 but he intends to remain active, including providing his popular commentary at shows.

The United States now has four 5* judges, the highest FEI ranking–Liselotte Fore, Anne Gribbons, Gary Rockwell and Linda Zang–although the number of CDIs in America at 3* and above has exploded to 23 in 2013 from 13 eight years ago. There are eight 4* judges and a single 3*.

Carl Hester, Great Britain's Olympic team gold medal rider, meeting up with U.S. 5* judge Axel Steiner at the Sydney Equiatan event. Photo: Patrick Jackson
Carl Hester, Great Britain’s Olympic team gold medal rider, meeting up with U.S. 5* judge Axel Steiner at the Sydney Equiatan event. Photo: Patrick Jackson

Axel started riding at the age of nine in Wiesbaden, Germany–the location of a premier European competition where he judged for the first and last time this year–and later attended the well known riding schools of Warendorf and von Neindorff.

After moving to the USA in 1961, he competed his own horses and on horses owned by the U.S. Modern Pentathlon Team until his duties in the U.S. Air Force interfered.

He received his first national judges licence in 1968, and was promoted by the FEI to Official status (FEI-O, now FEI 5*) in 1988.

Axel has judged Olympic Games, Pan American Games, World Cup Finals and many international and national competitions throughout the world.

After retiring as a lieutenant colonel from the military in 1988, he has also concentrated on teaching.

He and his wife, Terri Miller, the well known artist and photographer, live in the San Diego area of California.

Axel Steiner with the ground jury at the Sydney Equitana World Cup event, the last CDI to be judged by the America. Jean-Michel Roudier of France, Sue Hobson of New Zealand, Gisela Nilsson Harding and Ricky McMillan of Australia. © 2013 Franz Venhaus
Axel Steiner with the ground jury at the Sydney Equitana World Cup event, the last CDI to be judged by the American– Jean-Michel Roudier of France, Sue Hobson of New Zealand, Gisela Nilsson Harding and Ricky McMillan of Australia. © 2013 Franz Venhaus