Former Olympian medallist and London hopeful
Sue Banks

It's 2012 and the Olympics are coming to London and the UK is looking forward to the games with much excitement. My fourth cousin 1x removed, Susan Mayo Blinks and a former USA Dressage Champion certainly put the Blinks Family on the map at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 when as part of a team with Robert Dover, Guenter Seider and Christine Traurig the American team won the Dressage Team Bronze medal.

Both of our Great, Great Grandfathers were born and lived in Tenterden, Kent. (Mine is Thomas Blinks 1801-1886) However, whilst I have only made the journey some fourteen miles away from Tenterden into the county of Sussex, Sue's Great, Great Grandfather (William Blinks 1833-1918) immigrated to Ohio in 1851 with several other members of the Blinks Family.

It was a great team performance by the USA to take the Bronze medal. Germany and The Netherlands, the two strongest nations competing in Dressage predictably won the Gold and Silver. The USA Team then went on to win further success: a Team Silver at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in 2002.

All of Sue's successes were achieved in partnership with her only horse. Flim Flam. However, the great horse died on the 28 October, 2004 following a severe colic attack.

Sue has since moved to San Diego, California and rides for the Leatherdale Farm. She now has several horses including a young horse called Robin Hood, whom Sue has trained herself. The USA team has not yet been selected for London and Sue will be there or thereabouts with Robin Hood.

Dressage is a very much on the day event as you can never quite be sure how a horse will perform. You only need something in the crowd to spook the horse and four years work will be lost.

I have actually watched Sue in action myself at Hickstead in 1997 where the United States won their first ever Dressage Nations Cup. Sue also went on to win the Individual Grand Prix Special on Flim Flam the next day by a clear thirty six points from her nearest competitor.

Sue's mother Doris Blinks (nee Chambers) is actually responsible for recording the Blinks Family Tree in the USA. Whilst Sue was studying at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, she was surprised to meet a Charles Blinks family, who boarded horses near the college. Doris was very inquisitive and found the family connection.

As a result Doris decided to build a record of the Blinks family in the USA and talked to many members of the family, recording all the names, dates and a potted history of each person involved. It's a quite brilliant paper document and I am slowly converting this in to save an electronic version for future generations. Such good work must not be lost!

Tom Blinks
East Sussex, UK

Photo Caption Sue Blinks is photographed at Hickstead in 1997 with my late mother, Helena Magery Millicent Blinks 1917-2005