This week’s Sunday Spotlight shines on Canada’s Taylor St. Jacques of Ignite Equestrian based in Lexington, Kentucky and Wellington, Florida. The talented young professional dominated as a junior rider, boasting a long record of prestigious titles in 2017 including the WIHS Equitation Finals, the Ronnie Mutch Equitation Championship, USEF Medal Finals, and the reserve championship at the 2016 ASPCA Maclay Finals. St. Jacques continued to hone her skills while competing for Auburn University’s NCAA Division I Equestrian Team. We caught up with St. Jacques after her grand prix win Saturday evening at WEC – Wilmington to learn more about her transition to professional and the horses currently in her string.

WEC: How did you get started riding?

My mom grew up on a farm in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She rode at Whitemud Equestrian and took lessons and did a couple of the shows there at the farm. She always loved horses. So, when I was younger, I played everything, she introduced me to every sport. Obviously, she introduced me to the horses, and I absolutely fell in love. I was posting the trot in my first lesson and my mom had tears in her eyes! As I got older, I had to decide which sport I was going to stick with and as a little kid a pony for Christmas sounded a lot cooler than a soccer ball. I stuck with riding, and I have never looked back since.

A woman jumping a bay horse over a fence at WEC Ohio.

Taylor St. Jacques and Ones Van De Heuvelhoeve. (Winslow Photography)

WEC: Tell us about your string of horses at WEC this week.

I brought Jakilly to WEC this week who is my top mount right now. Jakilly came to me in December of 2021 to develop and sell. I campaigned her in 2022 and I brought her into the FEI over the summer. I jumped her all the way up to the 5* 1.50m Major League Show Jumping class. This winter she was purchased for me, so she is officially mine and here to stay! It has been so much fun bringing her up all the way to her first grand prix win.

I brought two junior jumper sale horses, Studd’s Money Penny and Ones Van De Heuvelhoeve. I showed Studd’s Money Penny in the 1.30/1.35m classes and Ones Van De Heuvelhoeve in the 1.25m. They were both champion in their divisions!

I also brought a younger equitation horse here with me this week and I had Lilly Herzog do him in the 3ft equitation classes and she did a lot of winning. It was so exciting and a very proud trainer moment for me! I did him the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby as well and it was his first derby. He finished in the top ten, so I was very proud of him!

WEC: Tell us about Ignite Equestrian.

I have my own business now and I work with sale horses and development.

I work mainly with Tal Milstein in Belgium. He has been really awesome and has given me some great opportunities to work with some talented horses to bring them along and sell them. I have a couple of other sale horses right now from some other partners as well!

WEC: What is your most memorable career win?

The most special one to my heart was winning Washington International Horse Show equitation finals. I did it aboard my very own horse Di Samorano. He did all of the behind-the-scenes work getting me qualified for everything and Charisma, the mount that I secured the equitation championship wins on, took all of the glory. So he really stepped up to the plate and got his time to shine at Washington so that was a very bittersweet win for me.

WEC: Tell us about your experience at WEC Wilmington.

I love coming here. This is probably one of my favorite show venues to come to. It is a great horse show for the younger horses to step them up into their first 1.40m classes and even into their first grand prix. The horse that I had last year jumped her first grand prix here, and so did Jakilly. I think it is great for developing horses. I was really thrilled with the new renovations here, including the new jumper ring. I had three jumpers here this week and they all jumped beautifully out there. It is a great size for every level. The courses are all suited perfectly for the classes and competition.