USA’s Charlotte Jorst & Vitalis Brighten World Championships, Advance to 6-Year-Old Final

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Vitalis ridden by Charlotte Jorst performing the trot that scored 9 in qualifying for the final of the World Young Horse Championships 6-year-old division. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Vitalis ridden by Charlotte Jorst performing the trot that scored 9 in qualifying for the final of the World Young Horse Championships 6-year-old division. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

VERDEN, Germany, Aug. 9–The smile on the face of Charlotte Jorst when she qualified Vitalis for the final of the World Young Horse Championships 6-year-old division Friday was returned by the crowd with one of the loudest rounds of applause for the Danish-born American who has never competed in Europe before.

The 48-year-old mother of two college girls rode the KWPN stallion Vitalis (Vivaldi x D-Day) to a score of 8.24, that included 9 for the trot, 8 for canter, 8.7 for submission and 8.5 for general impression.

If there had been points for enjoying the experience, Charlotte of Reno, Nevada would have been awarded 10.

The competition among the 40 starting combinations from a dozen countries was fierce. Germany’s domination at the top was led by Laura Stigler on Doubleyou W who has an American connection in that her older sister is the United States dressage rider Silva Martin based in Coatesville, Pennsylvania with her U.S. eventing team husband, Boyd.

“I had such a great time,” Charlotte told dressage-news.com. “I was so worried that something would happen, that he would run away.

“I thought I would do well. I have a very positive attitude. I have a great horse and I work really hard at it. I love to ride, there’s nothing better.”

Charlotte Jorst and Vitalis in the World Young Horse Chamionship 6-year-old qualifier. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Charlotte Jorst and Vitalis in the World Young Horse Chamionship 6-year-old qualifier. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The contrast of Charlotte’s smiles and many other riders so focused brought one of the loudest rounds of applause from the crowd that appeared to be infected by the positive feelings. Many commented how refreshing it was to see a rider obviously enjoying that they were doing.

“Some of the people look like they’re suffering,” she said. “Why look like that? It’s such a beautiful sport with such wonderful animals.”

Charlotte and Vitalis earned their place in these world championships by qualifying with 9.2, the highest score ever for a United States six-year-old.

She is, however, a latecomer to the sport.

Although she rode ponies as a kid in Denmark, she never competed. She took up riding again as an amateur at the age of 35 while bringing up her two daughters and building a designer watch business, Skagen Designs, with her husband, Henrik. The company was acquired by Fossil, the largest watch company in the world, last year. She became an American citizen in 1995. One daughter, Christine, lives in Dallas and works for Fossil while the other daughter, Camilla, attends New York University and rides on the school’s equestrian team.

She has a Grand Prix horse that she says is not of international caliber but also has a Prix St. Georges mount, Adventure, an eight-year-old black KWPN gelding by Ferro that she imported late in 2012 and will compete as a small tour developing horse at the U.S. Young Horse Championships in Chicago in two weeks.

Vitalis will fly from Europe to Chicago to also compete at the U.S. championships.

She bought Vitalis in late 2012 after the horse competed at the world championships as a five-year-old ridden by Marieke van der Putten, stable rider for Hans Peter Minderhoud of the Netherlands.

Hans Peter was one of the first to congratulate her at this show.

Volker Brommann, German-born trainer who moved to the United States 30 years ago, is her fulltime coach. While she did a three-day clinic with Steffen Peters before coming to Verden and has also received help from Scott Hassler, the U.S. young horse coach here, she believes strongly in sticking with a training program that works as it does with Volker.

Although her goal is to represent the United States at the Olympics, she does not want to push the horses but wait for them to tell her when they’re ready.

Vitalis could be a prospect for the U.S. team for the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015, an idea she admits would be cool but will see how it turns out.

Charlotte Jorst on Viyalis at the end of her ride to qualify for the final of the 6-year-old world championships. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Charlotte Jorst on Viyalis at the end of her ride to qualify for the final of the 6-year-old world championships. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com