Songs that lend a voice to the equestrian world in a way only music can.
For professional show jumpers, the sound of a rail clattering to the ground is not a welcome one. It usually marks they end of their hopes for victory in a given competition. But for The Soundman, Dennis Baxter, when miked properly, it’s music to his ears.
In a recent CNN Equestrian article, Baxter, who is most famous for bringing the ambient sound of the 2012 London Olympics into our living rooms said, “The jumps are interesting because when they fall to the ground, it’s never a flat fall… There’s a nice, resonant sound with an echoing tone. The camera may not be on that moment, but when you hear that sound, you know exactly what has happened.”
And, like the skilled musician Baxter is in his free time, he knows that great sound is as much about what you include as what you leave out. “”Music today is so compressed that it never really breathes, and I hate to see television get that way,” he bemoans. “We give the sound a chance to breathe between the jumps. The more you listen, the more natural it sounds.”
The clever work of Dennis Baxter is not the only achievement in equestrian sound highlighted in the recent CNN Equestrian article, entitled “Microphones On Anything That Moves.” Writer Ollie Williams also shares insights from one of the world’s leading showjumping commentators, Steve Wilde, as well as the world’s most in-demand composer of dressage freestyles, Tom Hunt, whose client list included the incomparable Charlotte Dujardin.
As for the future of sound in equestrian sport, both Baxter and Hunt are hopeful. “It’s getting to be a big part of the sport,” said Hunt. “It’s getting the crowds, and people acknowledging the music more. It makes the sport more accessible.” And for Baxter, the title of the article says it all, “Wireless microphones on anything that moves, in any competition whatsoever, is the future,” he pronounces – even the horses!
Read the article in full on CNN Equestrian here: Microphones On Anything That Moves.
For more on this topic, experience a week in the life of Dressage Freestyle Composer, Tom Hunt: A Week in the Life of Tom Hunt, Dressage to Music Composer.