Charlotte Jorst has started two successful retail companies from scratch, so she knows a few things about running a business, and there’s one thing she’s adamant about when it comes to discussing her horses, her barn and her status as a Grand Prix dressage rider recently shortlisted to represent in the U.S. in the 2022 Blue Hors FEI World Dressage Championships:
“I’m not ‘running’ ”—with emphasis on that word—“any operation,” she says. “I’m just riding my own horses. I don’t teach anyone; I’m technically an amateur.”
Being “just” a rider is perhaps one of the only concessions that Jorst, 57, Reno, Nevada, makes in a life that involves three equally all-consuming passions: running her equestrian clothing line, Kastel Denmark; competing internationally and holding down the No. 34 spot in the FEI Dressage World Rankings; and being a mother and grandmother to her two adult daughters and two grandsons.
“You can try to do everything 100% all the time, but that’s not going to work; you just have to accept it’s not always going to be as big as it could,” she says.
Typical of the positivity she exudes, that statement comes out as an affirmation that it’s OK not to limit oneself rather than an admission of guilt over not giving all, all the time.
Her days generally start and end doing Kastel business, and on days when she’s home in Reno, each of her passions conveniently overlaps the others: She rides in clothing from her Kastel Denmark line and posts pictures of herself to social media to advertise the brand, and she rides at a barn where her daughter Christine McCormack, a real estate agent who rides hunters and has two horses of her own, now lives with her sons, Mattias, 5, and Otto, 2.
“She took over my barn because I’m gone all the time. She lives at the barn, so I get to see her and see the kids every day,” Jorst explains. “For the little kids, I think it’s kind of fun for them to see their grandma out there in the snow and rain and see her doing stuff.”
Jorst didn’t start riding seriously until age 35—certainly an anomaly amongst riders representing their countries internationally—and says it was because of Christine and her little sister Camilla, who were 9 and 6 at the time.
“I’d always dreamed of riding, and then I was like, ‘There’s no time like the present!’ ” she says. “I started riding with them and jumping with them at this local little barn. I’d pick them up from school at 3 p.m., and we’d go to the barn so we had something to do together after school.”
Now, at home in Reno, Charlotte is able to go hiking with one daughter or eat lunch with the other and play with her grandsons after riding.
But life doesn’t always sort itself so conveniently, particularly with all the travel that showing internationally demands, and when that happens, “You have to compartmentalize a little bit,” she says, “and you have to make it a priority when your kids come.”
So when Christine and the grandchildren came to visit her in Florida during the winter season, and a four-day trip to Disney World got scheduled right before she was entered to ride her up-and-coming horse, 9-year-old Zhaplin Langholt (Zonik—Sonia Langholt, Stedinger), in the Summit Farm Future Challenge Young Horse Prix St. Georges, she decided “he can be turned out four days and be all right” while she went to meet Mickey and company with her family. (Apparently she was right: They won the class with a score of 74.14%—almost five points better than their nearest competition.)
In May, Jorst was named to the shortlist with her longtime partner, 19-year-old Kastel’s Nintendo (Negro—Rodieni R, Monaco) to represent her adopted country at the 2022 ECCO FEI World Championships, coming up in August in her native Denmark. More recently, she was named to The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team for the prestigious CHIO Aachen (Germany).
“Now I’m going to Europe for 2.5 months—there’s a season for everything for me,” she says. “Right now, I’m in the middle of this very high competition season.”
And while “Nintendo” has been on fire this year, piling up Grand Prix victories during the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (Florida), Jorst also is planning for his future retirement: Three clones of the stallion were born in May—Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 64 and Super Nintendo, as named by the family—along with one clone of “Zhaplin,” who has since been named Led Zhaplin, courtesy of Camilla Jorst’s partner, Zack Bergstrom.
“I’m 57, and when I’m 60-something, I don’t want to ride something I don’t know,” she said of her decision to clone the horses. “I don’t want a new 5-year-old that I don’t know if it’s going to dump me somewhere. With Nintendo and Zhaplin, they have great temperaments, really sweet. I know everything about those horses; they are really safe. I’m not 20, I’m 57.”
Follow along for a day in Charlotte’s very full life:
7 a.m. I get up and start the day by drinking coffee, checking texts and answering social media posts.
8 a.m. My first work Zoom call of the day lasts about 45 minutes
9 a.m. My second work Zoom call. It’s hard to get out of this one, but I told them I had a hard stop at 10 a.m., which is when I leave for the barn.
On the way to the barn I make a phone call to Joelle Spinoso, Kastel Denmark’s director of product development and my right-hand woman. We have a lot to discuss, so I tell her I’ll be in to the office later.
10:30 a.m. I get on my first horse, Nintendo. I’m wearing a Kastel sunshirt from the summer collection as I always take video and pictures to post.
11:15 a.m. It’s Zhaplin’s turn for a ride. In between horses, I check on the contractor who is building a couple of new barns for the horses. I specifically check on the fencing as we don’t know if we have enough.
I also schedule the weekend’s rides as my trainer Charlotte Bredahl is coming to teach, and everything needs to be in order.
A charming neighbor has called the police because of the construction. The police arrive and leave angry at the neighbor for calling them.
Noon “Botticelli” gets ridden. Atterupgaards Botticelli (Benetton Dream—Atterupgaards Dicte, Caprimond) is a 10-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding I purchased in 2018. I am working toward Grand Prix with him, but he’s extremely hot and spooky, which has kept us out of the show ring so far—a real shame because his piaffe and passage are so great.
1:15 p.m. I go to my daughter Christine’s house for a quick lunch with her. I am lucky to have both my daughters living locally in Reno, so when I am home instead of traveling, I try to divide my time equally and spend as much time with both of them as possible. (That said, on this particular day, I spend lots of time with Christine and don’t get to see Camilla.)
2 p.m. Zoom call.
2:30 p.m. I leave to go to Kastel. In the car I call my consulting group to discuss various business issues.
3 p.m. At Kastel’s headquarters, we just got a wire from a new German customer, so a huge order is going out with stickers for euros and different pricing, which requires checking everything.
3.15 p.m. I have a conference call with a commercial real estate broker about finding a new, larger space for Kastel. This is a real headache as there is no space to be had in Reno, and the proposal is not good.
4 p.m. Joelle and I continue meeting about how to solve some complex accounting issues. We have a follow-up call with consultants to get help and input.
5 p.m. Leave Kastel and stop on the way to Christine’s house to buy a gift for my son-in-law, Zack.
6.30 p.m. Enjoy dinner with Christine and my grandchildren, Mattias and Otto.
7.30 p.m. I put the grandchildren to bed. Being able to see them so often is one of the joys of having Christine and her family living at the barn.
8 p.m. Check on today’s emails—there are many—and respond where necessary.
10 p.m. Time for bed.