Gothenburg, Sweden – March 27, 2016 – Charlotte Jorst made a big impression at her first World Cup Final. So big, in fact, that her ride warranted a little discussion at the press conference despite her finishing out of the top three.
Louise Parkes, conducting the conference on behalf of the FEI, commented to Gustav Svalling, judge at C for the Grand Prix Freestyle, that Jorst came so close to the end of the ring on her final centerline that her horse could have reached out and kissed the judge.
“I liked that American, even if she came a little close!” Svalling replied. “Her music and everything about her performance – it was a great show!”
Jorst laughed, “I thought I was going to run out of music and obviously I didn’t – I should have turned a little later. But you know, I am very happy with that being my first time in a big arena like that.”
Aside from the slight misstep there, Jorst showed few signs of being a newcomer to an event like the World Cup, scoring a 73.232 percent in the Grand Prix Freestyle for a 12th place finish in the seasoned field of 18. She and her trusted Nintendo were beautifully in sync throughout their performance, featuring Bocelli’s “Time to Say Goodbye,” Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song,” and “Amazing Grace.”
“He was a dressage ninja,” Jorst said. “He was wonderful, and he always is. He is such a great horse, and I’m so happy with him. It was a fun test.”
Jorst did her own choreography – “because I know him the best,” she explained – and Karen Robinson arranged the music. Click here to read more about the creation of Jorst’s freestyle.
As she and Nintendo become more and more comfortable in their partnership, Jorst has been upping the difficulty of her freestyle, adding movements like piaffe pirouettes.
“I’m not sure how great (the piaffe pirouette) was actually executed, but it will come,” Jorst laughed. “This is all a process. I am in the middle of a big process. I’m here for the long run, and I’m not going anywhere, same as Nintendo. I just want to keep him happy and sound for a long time.”
She is especially happy to tackle the tempi changes with confidence after some difficulty with those in the past.
“For someone who has never done one in her whole life until two years ago, so that has been something I’ve had to work on a lot,” Jorst explained. “Now they are just there all the time.”
Also riding for the U.S. at the 2016 Reem Acra World Cup Final was veteran team contender Guenter Seidel on his up-and-coming mount Zero Gravity, owned by James and Charlotte Mashburn. Seidel had to draw on all of his experience to give Zero Gravity a sympathetic and positive ride as the gelding dealt with significant nerves during the Grand Prix Freestyle. They finished 18th with a score of 67.464 percent.
“A little electric is an understatement!” Seidel said after his freestyle. “The second time they clapped, he kind of just lost his mind. I could feel him being so explosive; he just wanted to buck and do whatever. Considering that, we pulled it of together OK. He couldn’t walk, he was so nervous. It was unfortunate.”
The pair rode to a beautiful piano composition created for them by a friend of Seidel’s. Although the horse’s tension kept him from being perfectly with the music, the relaxing melody showed off his elegant gaits.
“I think he did a lot of good stuff,” Seidel said. “The horse was not shown much before we got him, and he has never been an arena like this in his life. Yes, it’s part of growing up, but it’s still a little extreme. “
Seidel’s aim in bringing Zero Gravity to the World Cup Final was to give the horse some experience in a challenging atmosphere.
“Now, thinking back, it may have been a little much for him, but he’ll survive,” Seidel said. “I’ll settle him down in a little bit. I think if he would have stayed a little calmer it would have been a very good test.”