The dun gelding took consecutive Badminton titles in the 1950s, and put the “glamour girl” of eventing Sheila Willcox on the map. Madeleine Silver charts his swift – and turbulent – rise to the top
Watching High And Mighty thrashing around in merciless sinking sand, Sheila Willcox – who died in 2017 – wondered if she was about to lose the gelding that she’d brought home to Lancashire just a few short months earlier.
Hacking in the country behind the seaside town of Lytham, she had approached a stream which “Chips” had leapt at in an effort to stay dry, resulting in both horse and rider landing in the water. Scrambling out, Sheila turned to see her new mount trying in vain to reach the bank. A breathless dash to a nearby farm followed, and Chips was rescued with a tractor.
As her brother John Willcox says: “Sheila was always good with horses, but I think she had a particularly good bond with High And Mighty – and I would imagine that got a bit stronger when she saved his life.”
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