This interview was recorded in 2011 when Sheila Wilcox was in the early stages of Alzheimer's and confined to a home in Oxfordshire, England where she was to stay until her death on June 9, 2017.
Sheila Wilcox was born on March the 12th, 1936 in Sutton Coalfield near Birmingham in England. Despite not being born into an equestrian family she persisted from an early age with a determination that was to become the driving force of her success. She embarked on her riding career at the age of four with half crown spent four pony rides on the beach near Blackpool. And despite the shortages of war convinced her parents that she was treading a path to her future that shaped the sport of eventing for the inclusion of women in the Olympics success in the show ring began with winning the champion hack title in 1953 at White City. But it was a visit to the European Championships with her brother John a year later that convinced her that her future lie in eventing and that consistency at the top level was attributed to fitness and conditioning a trademark which she was to make her very own. By 1956 she had caught the British team selectors eye with the partnership she had established with High and Mighty. However because women were not allowed in the Olympic Games High and Mighty were sold to become available for the Stockholm Games. But unsoundness denied him a place on the team and Sheila brought him back. Her record of three consecutive wins at Badminton Horse Trials is unsurpassed following her debut there in 1956 with High and Mighty where they finished runner up. They went on to take this prestigious four star title in 1957 and 1958. Sheila returned to take her third title a year later with Airs and Graces. She also won Little Badminton in 1964 riding Glenmore. Sheila competed in the 1957 European Championships with High and Mighty earning both team and individual gold medals. Two years later they also won a European team gold medal. Sheila competed successfully for several years winning eight major titles. However a fall in 1971 at the Tidworth Horse Trials left her partially paralyzed and she gave up eventing to focus on Grand Prix Dressage with success on Sun and Air in the mid 1970s. She took on the job of coach to the Canadian team leading up to the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games and including the 1975 Pan American Games. Sheila is the author of two books three days running published in 1958 was the first title ever written on the sport of eventing. The Event Horse was published in 1973 became a definitive work on the preparation and competing of the event horse. Sheila is divorced and has one son.
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