(Reno, NV) September 23, 2015 – Charlotte Jorst and her horse Nintendo, the 2014 United States Dressage Federation Adult Amateur Grand Prix Champions, compete in the Rolex Central Park Horse Show this weekend.
The U.S. Open Dressage Grand Prix, presented by Breyer, on Friday and the U.S. Open $75,000 Dressage Freestyle, presented by the Axel Johnson Group, on Saturday will be their first New York competitions.
Charlotte, a Danish-born American citizen, is an entrepreneur who founded Skagen and Kastel Denmark, a two-time cancer survivor and an international dressage rider.
“I am excited to be competing here,” Charlotte said. “I'm going to do my best and enjoy it. I'll do everything I can to make it great!”
Dream Big, Work Hard
As a high school student back in Denmark, Charlotte dreamed of becoming a millionaire. “I knew I needed to come to the United States to do that,” she recalls.
After she got her business degree, she and husband Henrik moved to the U.S. where they worked for Danish beer company Carlsberg. After a few years, the Jorsts started their own business, Skagen, which they grew from a small watch company focused on a niche market into a multi-million dollar international business.
“We worked like crazy,” Charlotte said of those early years. “We did everything, from product design to shipping. A lot of watches went out the door of our first little condo in Nevada to retailers around the country. Every time we hit a bump in the road, we just kept going. We raised our family and expanded our business at the same time.”
Hard work and persistence paid off, and by 2012 Skagen was acquired by Fossil, the largest watch company in the world, in a deal valued at $236.9 million. Their adventure with Skagen became the subject of a book published in Denmark, where they are popular talk show guests and the poster couple for the American success story.
Olympic Dressage Dreams
After selling Skagen, Charlotte set her sights on riding in the Olympics. “Two and a half years ago when I said that was my goal, I had no idea what I was in for,” she recalled. “I'm not even sure I knew what I was talking about. I had no idea what steps to take or what it would entail. As I usually do, I said something and then started doing.”
She trained at home in Reno, bought international-quality horses in Europe, trained with Olympian Guenter Seidel in southern California, and competed across the country from Florida to New Jersey to Chicago. In 2013, the Danish-born American citizen represented the U.S. for the first time in Germany and this year she again rode for the stars and stripes at shows in Europe.
“It felt so great to represent the country that gave me so much opportunity,” she said of her experiences riding as a U.S. citizen.
Competitions can mean long weeks or months away from home, living alone in hotel rooms and missing her family. There’s also the unexpected.
“On one of my trips to Germany, I thought I’d ride my bike from my hotel in town to the training stable. Hours later, I had to admit I was lost. Luckily, I could call my trainer and he came to pick me up. I needed a GPS for that bike!”
Riding multiple horses each day is physically and mentally tiring, as is the self-imposed pressure to continually improve riding skills and show scores.
“I've learned how difficult it is, and how the taste of fear feels. I don’t want to disappoint. Once I spent hours hiding in my horse’s stall after what I thought was such a bad ride. When I came out, the world was fine. Nobody cared, no one else thought it was that bad. I'm learning to curb the fear, to just have fun.”
Inventing Kastel Denmark
Riding and training for long hours in the sun had serious consequences for Charlotte, who was diagnosed with skin cancer, not once but twice.
“That was scary,” she remembered. “I wanted to continue my outdoor active life, but I knew I couldn’t risk a third bout with cancer. I needed clothing that would protect me from the sun and I wanted it to be stylish, cool and fun to wear. There was nothing like that on the market. That’s when I invented Kastel Denmark.”
Named after the protective fortresses of her native Denmark, Charlotte started her brand with one shirt in UV-protective, breathable, anti-bacterial nylon/spandex fabric with mesh inserts so it was cool, and designed for stylish everyday wear as well as active sports. It proved so popular that she continues to expand her product line. From its Reno, Nevada, headquarters, Kastel Denmark distributes throughout the U.S., Great Britain, Denmark, Holland and Germany.
In addition to protecting her from the consequences of a life spent so much in the sun, Kastel Denmark gives Charlotte the ability to combine her apparel business with her dressage competitions. When she’s away at shows, she often calls on retailers and she stays in close touch with the Kastel Denmark headquarters so she can make creative and business decisions on the road.
“The Rolex Central Park Horse Show is an exciting equestrian event in one of my favorite cities in the world,” Charlotte said. “It just shows where hard work and big dreams can take you!”
For more information about Charlotte, or to schedule an interview, contact Nan Meek at 650-823-1671 or firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information about Kastel Denmark, contact Mike Paidakovich at 775-762-2368 or email email@example.com