Flim Flam, Sue Blinks’ Olympic Grand Prix partner, was euthanized during surgery Oct. 28, due to a ruptured stomach. He was 17.
Owned by Fritz Kundrun and ridden by Blinks since he was 21Â³2 years old, Flim Flam represented the United States in three international championships–the 1998 World Equestrian Games in Rome, the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, and the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Flim Flam had been retired since the 2002 WEG. “Flim Flam was the horse of a lifetime for me,” said Blinks. “I am an incredibly lucky person to have shared a career with a horse of such talent and person-ality. He was extremely happy during his short and well-deserved retirement; I’m so sad that he didn’t get to enjoy it longer.”
He and Blinks’ stellar performance in Sydney helped the U.S. dressage team to its third consecutive Olympic team bronze medal and earned them eighth place individually. At the 2002 WEG, they helped the U.S. team win their historic silver medal, the first since 1948 in dressage, and finished ninth individually. In 1998, the U.S. team finished fourth and Flim Flam and Blinks were 12th individually.
Other career highlights included winning the USET National Grand Prix Championship in 2000 and finishing second in the championship in 1997, third in 2002, and fifth in 1998. He was also a member of the gold-medal team at the CDIO Hickstead (England) in 1997 and won more than 20 Grand Prix classes at some of the country’s biggest dressage shows from 1996 to 2002.
Flim Flam, a Hanoverian gelding by Wilhelm Tell, was a difficult and temperamental ride, and Blinks’ slow and careful approach to his training allowed Flim Flam to showcase his brilliance. The pair was famous for their flawless one-tempi changes, and the signature move in their freestyle performances was 23 consecutive one-tempi changes down the centerline.
Flim Flam was the Chronicle’s Dressage Horse of the Year in 2000. Said Blinks in an interview then, “I’m very proud of our mutual evolution. If Flim was happy, and he felt the whole thing was just, he wanted to play along.” Staff
Darn Tipalarm, one of steeplechasing fans’ favorite horses, was euthanized on Oct. 28 after breaking a leg in a schooling accident. The gray Thoroughbred gelding was 11.
Owned by Mrs. Henry F. Stern and trained by Maryland-based Jack Fisher, Darn Tipalarm was considered one of the iron horses of the sport. He made 87 lifetime starts, recording 10 firsts, 20 seconds and 16 thirds. He earned $341,639.
Darn Tipalarm was a stakes winner over both hurdles and timber, and his steeplechasing career spanned more than six years. The horse never missed a season of racing and made a remarkable average of seven starts over jumps in a year.
As a hurdle horse, the son of Darn That Alarm won the National Hunt Cup hurdle stakes (Pa.) in 2000, the Legacy Cup stakes (Md.) in 2001 and his richest hurdle win, the $75,000 AFLAC U.S. Championship Supreme novice hurdle (Ga.) in 1998.
In 2002, Fisher switched his indomitable front-runner to racing over timber, and he quickly made his mark in that division, finishing no worse than fourth in 14 races.
Darn Tipalarm’s jumping ability was his hallmark, and he flourished in the steeplethon races, where horses jump a course of varied obstacles, including hurdles, timber fences, coops, walls, and hedges. Darn Tipalarm won the steeplethon at the Gold Cup course in The Plains, Va., three consecutive times and last month just missed winning for a fourth time by a head.
Sixteen different jockeys piloted Darn Tipalarm during his steeplechase career, with no jockey winning more than one race on him. He had a small preference for running on right-handed courses, but he was a horse who always tried his hardest, no matter what the conditions.
The gelding was a crowd favorite because of his relentless front-running style, his beautiful jumping style, and his apparent joy for his job.
“He’s never lost his enthusiasm for his job and has always galloped down to his fences with his ears pricked,” said Fisher, in a 2003 Chronicle interview.
Susan Cocks Small Jones
Susan C.S. Jones of Unionville, Pa., died Oct. 16 at her home after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 62.
Mrs. Jones was born in Hot Springs, Va., to the late Hall of Fame Steeplechase trainer William Burling Cocks and Barbara Lucas Cocks. Mrs. Jones, formerly married to steeplechase jockey and trainer Doug Small, was an accomplished horsewoman who held a deep love for the environment. She served as the first director of the Winterthur Point-to-Point Races (Del.).
Outside of horses, Mrs. Jones championed the Green Belt Movement, a Kenya-based charity promoting environmental awareness, resource conservation and civil equality. She was a landscape designer and owned The Laurels Garden Design in West Chester, Pa.
Mrs. Jones is survived by her mother; daughters Susannah Small of West Chester, Micaela Small Raine of Charlottesville, Va., and Jessica Jane Small of Middletown Springs, Vt.; sisters Barbara Cocks Vannote and Jessie Cocks of Kennett Square, Pa.; brother William B. Cocks of Camden, S.C.; and four grandchildren.
Memorial donations may be made to The Green Belt Movement, c/o The Marion Institute, 3 Barnabas Rd., Marion, MA 02738, www.greenbeltmovement.org; or to the London Grove Friends Kindergarten Fund, c/o Jack Anderson, 500 W. Street Rd. Kennett Square, PA 19348. Staff
George Edward Braun
Former show rider George Edward Braun died Sept. 8 in Buffalo, N.Y. He was 92.
Mr. Braun was a well-established professional rider in Buffalo by the time he’d reached his late teens. His professional career spanned the ’30s, ’40s and early ’50s. Described as “a magician in the saddle” by the late Mickey Walsh, Mr. Braun rode several horses to AHSA Open Jumper of the Year titles. His most notable mounts were Sun Beau and Happy Landing owned by Sterling Smith Stables of Ohio, and Trader Bedford and Trader Horn, owned by the late Arthur Nardin of New York.
Mr. Braun operated a training and sales facility in New York’s Westchester County. After retiring from the show circuit, he trained race horses and managed racing stables.
Mr. Braun is survived by children Thomas F. Braun, George E. Braun Jr., Mary-Theresa Braun, Elizabeth B. Jacoby, and Sarah Bushing, as well as four grand-children.
Champion show hunter Aristocrat, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred owned by Laurie Barnes of Taneytown, Md., was humanely destroyed on Sept. 24 at the Marion du Pont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., just 48 hours after showing signs of endotoxemia. Although he had been vaccinated, the final diagnosis indicated Potomac horse fever.
In 1998 Aristocrat was Maryland green conformation hunter champion, Quentin (Pa.) fall grand champion, and HITS Culpeper (Va.) reserve grand champion with rider Ken Krome. In 1999, he was Maryland high-score second year green champion.
In 2000, with Barnes, Aristocrat was the Maryland Horse Show Association older adult amateur champion, AHSA Zone 3 and Upperville (Va.) champion. In 2001, he was again MHSA older adult amateur champion and AHSA Zone 3 champion, winning championships at Upperville and the Middleburg Classic (Va.).
Tony Workman took over training duties in 2002, and he was the older amateur-owner champion and grand amateur-owner champion at the Maryland Horse & Pony Show in his first show under Workman’s guidance. He was lightly shown thereafter, but he still garnered numerous championships in the amateur-owner division. Said Barnes, “His kindness and elegance and talent made an impression on all who ever met him. He was truly a ‘once-in-a-lifetime dream horse’ in every respect.”