Charlotte Jorst’s 20-year-old stallion Kastel’s Nintendo and Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu’s 18-year-old KWPN gelding All In both bowed out of competition sport in emotional retirement ceremonies at Wellington International during the CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle night under floodlights on Friday, March 17. Both decorated horses have had long and illustrious careers at top level.
It was a fitting place for the “powerful and quirky” All In (by Tango x Ramiro B) to retire as he and his long-time rider Fraser-Beaulieu made their international debut — at small tour — in Wellington in 2013. Ever since, they have been a familiar face on Canadian teams and at shows across Europe.
Under the watchful eye of long-time trainer Ashley Holzer — who rode for Canada at four Olympics before switching nationality to the U.S. — Fraser-Beaulieu trained him up through the levels, recording 23 CDI wins.
All In and Fraser-Beaulieu represented Canada at the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2017 (winning the Prix St. Georges and helping Canada claim team silver), the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in 2018 and the Tokyo Olympics, where the pair qualified for the freestyle, scoring 76.404% — setting a new Canadian Olympic record.
All In, who has been competing at CDI grand prix level since 2015, was bred in Holland by H. Verstraten. He is owned by the rider, her father Craig Fraser and her husband Marc-Andre Beaulieu.
Their career high freestyle score of 79.145%, set in February 2021, is the Canadian record score. They also hold the Canadian CDI record in the straight Grand Prix, of 73.891%.
Fraser-Beaulieu and All In were the highest-ranked Canadian combination on the FEI Dressage World Ranking for six consecutive years — even though she also gave birth to her two children in that time. In 2021, All In was proclaimed Equestrian Canada’s Horse of the Year.
An emotional Fraser-Beaulieu said, “Everybody dreams of having a horse like All In and he’s accomplished so much for me — we’ve been through the highs and the lows and when he was five I wondered if he would take me to the Olympic Games — I hoped and dreamed he would.
“He’s 18 this year and I wanted him to go out on a high. I had an incredible two last years with him and I was feeling his body getting a little bit older so I decided it was time.”
Fraser-Beaulieu bought All In at the 2010 Equine Elite Auction in The Netherlands. She clearly remembers the first time she tried him.
“I went to the auction with Chris von Martels and he said I should look at him,” she recalls. “I said, ‘But he’s humongous!’ I got on and felt this sense of positive power — it felt like a rocket ship and I decided I wanted him.
“It’s hard to say if I’ll ever have a horse that I have a connection like that with ever again,” she added. “He’s put me on the map and done everything for my career. I had the best rides of my life at Aachen and in Tokyo — he just knew it was really important. What more could he have done for me?”
He will retire from competition but continue to be ridden at home, although “his hard workdays are over” and he will spend a lot of time in the field.
Nintendo, a KWPN stallion (by Negro x Monaco), was bred in The Netherlands by C. Rommens and has been Jorst’s top grand prix horse for the past decade. He retired fit and sound, having posted 74.04% in the World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) earlier this month. Jorst grinned throughout the ride and received a standing ovation.
Danish-born American Jorst bought Nintendo in November 2013 from Helgstrand Dressage, and it proved a perfect match. In 2016, they competed at the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, and were crowned 2018 U.S. Grand Prix champions. The pair has been short-listed for U.S. Dressage team selection several times and represented their country on numerous Nations Cup teams.
Nintendo and his 58-year-old rider enjoyed nine years at international grand prix and contested well over 100 tests together at the level. Her secret to keeping him fit and keen was trail riding, turnout, and limited schooling. She already has three yearling clones of Nintendo, named Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 64 and Super Nintendo.
“He won 25 grand prix CDIs, but mostly he won our hearts,” said Jorst. “He gave us all hope that if we found a horse like him, we could all be stars. Nintendo inspired us all. He gave us a feeling that we could do it all, and not only that we could do it all, but we could do it with so much happiness and joy over and over.
“No partnership will ever be the same. That horse has given me everything over and over. I have not been brave about this, it’s been such a hard decision. Every time I even think about it, I start crying. I’ve probably waited too long, it’s hard to say because he wants it so badly and after Friday night [at AGDF] he’s been so happy.
“Someone asked me what I would miss most about him. He gave me purpose and value. I’m going to miss his spirit, our conversations, the way he fights for me, the disappointment when he’s not ridden first. I’m going to miss the friendship and the feeling of comfort of his back. My partner Nintendo, I will always take care of you, I will always love you.”
The team at Wellington International wishes Nintendo and All In a collective congratulations on their lengthy and exceptional sport careers and wishes to express their sincere thanks for all the memorable moments they have provided.