"The cloud 9 I was on just sort of poofed away that night" as Lisa Wilcox headed home from Aachen Sunday evening with Relevant, after their unprecedented weekend where they secured the USET Dressage Team's Nation's Cup Silver Medal, and individually second place to Germany's Ulla Salzgeber.
She had received a phone call from her father, Bob, in Arizona, that her mother, Irene, who had suffered a long time from chronic emphysema, was not doing well. While at the time, he felt it was not critical Lisa took the first flight she could get, Tuesday morning to the United States. But by then her Mom had taken a sudden turn for the worse, and when Lisa landed in Chicago, for her connecting flight, she learned her mother had passed away.
Lisa has always credited her family, and her upbringing for the success she has achieved as a person, rider, and competitor. Her father's military background laid the groundwork for the discipline and focus that would be required for her to persevere in the European environment which has produced a winning partnership with Gestët Vorwerk, in Cappeln, the home and breeding operation of some of the finest dressage horses produced in Europe today.
Because of the strong character and support she has from her family, Lisa has been able to manage the sacrifice of being so far from home in order to pursue a career that has now become an important factor in the successes of the United States Equestrian Dressage Team. Lisa had been home in Arizona for a family Christmas celebration, and recently two of her sisters joined her in Germany for a visit. Lisa spoke with her Mom on the Tuesday, before leaving for Aachen. Irene Wilcox was so proud of her daughter, who had gone to Europe with not much more than a dream and determination to pursue her career with horses at the highest levels. Lisa Wilcox became the only non-European to make it into the coveted top ten of the FEI Rider rankings, and contributed to the US Dressage Team's historical Silver Medal at the 2002 World Equestrian Games.
It was the family's decision not to alarm Lisa before Aachen, an important event in the qualification process for the 2004 Olympic Games. This was her Mother's final gift and another sacrifice for Lisa, who because of her family's love and support has given the world of Dressage a bright new star.
Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the Wilcox family in their time of sorrow. Grief, is knowing that you loved, and loved well.
You can contact Lisa through her website at Lisa-Wilcox.com.