By Lisa Engel
Eighteen-year-old Taylor St. Jacques of Glen Allen, Virginia, wowed show jumping spectators at the 2017 Devon Horse Show by winning all of the equitation classes Junior Weekend. She then went on to win the 2017 $250,000 Black Barn Jr/Amateur Owner Jumper Prix in Saugerties, New York. Sidelines had the opportunity to catch up with Taylor after she had finished riding her seventh horse for the day at Heritage Farm in New York.
How did you get started riding?
My mom has always been passionate about horses. While she didn’t compete, she lived on a farm with horses. She introduced me to horses when I was 4 and during my first lesson, I was posting to the trot. I fell in love with horses and the rest is history.
Did you ever do any other sports?
I played ice hockey until I was 10. I played soccer for the longest time and that was kind of my other top sport. I played softball as a second baseman and did gymnastics until I was in eighth grade. I also had a short stint playing basketball. By the time I was 11, I had to choose because there wasn’t time to do it all.
Which person has inspired you the most in life?
My stepdad. He is the hardest-working man I have ever met in my life. He has such a drive to be the best for everyone and puts others’ needs in front of his own, and somehow makes it all work.
I have two older stepbrothers, one older stepsister and one younger sister.
How many dogs do you own?
I have three dogs currently. We have a rescue miniature pinscher named Bounce and a pitbull mix named Puddles, and I have a boxer named Jackson. Bounce was with me for the longest time because he’s the simplest to take along, but Jackson is the one we bring now.
How do you relax?
I relax best when I’m by myself, distraction-free. No phone, no friends, just by myself. I don’t get to do it very often though — but at the end of the day I try to take some time for myself. In the evening when I’m making myself dinner, I try to make time.
If you could talk to anyone, who would it be and why?
I would love to talk to Brooklyn Beckham. He is gorgeous.
What’s the best feeling you have ever had?
Once it sunk in how much I won at Devon — I won every class — I was really on cloud nine.
What career path are you considering?
I’m currently enrolled at Auburn University and on their riding team, and that will be my main focus for the next four years. My major is pre-business and that kind of sets me up for the horses. Auburn was great and is letting me take my classes online this semester so I can get ready for Finals. My top choices are horses or finances. But I am really trying to go for the 2024 Olympics.
What’s your favorite piece of clothing?
I love everything from Lulu Lemon. It’s my go-to store — I ride in their shirts every day.
Where would you like to be right now?
I would love to be sitting on the beach because it’s so hot.
What’s your favorite movie?
What’s your favorite food?
Pasta or sushi
Who’s your greatest competition?
Emma Kurtz — while she’s one of my best friends, she’s also one of my biggest competitors. We became friends four years ago. We were both riding for Betsee Parker and we slept in a pull-out couch together — we had never met each other before. When we woke up, the pull-out couch had collapsed in the middle and we were smooshed on top of each other. We’ve been friends ever since.
If you could tell every hunter or jumper rider one thing, what would it be?
Don’t look down, because that’s where you’ll end up.
Do you have a personal motto?
Find the positive in everything