Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mustang A Day Challenge Painting # 328 The Passing of Flip, Sanctuary Mustang at Alder Hill Farm

"Flip with Branson"
5 by 5 inches Watercolor
by Linda L Martin Artist
$ 50.00
Prints available upon request to benefit Alder Hill Farm

Flip was one of  many mustangs rescued  or sancuaried by Alder Hill Farm in Missouri. This past weekend He passed quietly in his sleep from natural causes resulting from his age.

According to Jamie, the interim farm manager, Flip spent the last remaining months of his life at  Alder Hill farm as he was destined to, had he remained in the wild. He was a band stallion (of sorts). He had all the instincts and training that any wild horse receives from the day he takes his first wobbly step and breathes in the first delicious scents of freedom on the range.

Flip had been a hard keeper since his first days at Alder Hill Farm. He would incessantly walk the fence line, worried, wanting to gather a herd and be with his mares. It was hoped that gelding him would help him over come that desire but it seemed  that not only trust issues but never being able to adjust to not having a herd were hard  for him to forget. At first he spent time alone trying to recover. Then the summer of 2011 came with all the hardship of extreme heat. Hours were spent trying to keep him cool and help him make it through one of the hottest summers on record by hosing him down every half hour during the hottest part of the day.

Latter the little stallion was introduced into the stallion paddock with others like himself that had been gelded or were due to be gelded. He held his own with the other horses but still liked to be alone.

This past spring Flip was turned out into the general herd at  which was a mixture of mares and geldings of various ages. With in several hours the game little mustang had found and gathered the three most dominate mares in the herd and was established as their protector. Among the horses in his band was Honey the Branson Mustang and her foal Branson ( A.K.A Little Davy G) Flip was in his element for the first time since his long and varied capture experience.
Flip a few weeks before he passed away showing his adopted son, Branson,
how to swatt flies. Photo courtesy of Alder Hill Farm.

Like most Band stallions, Flip doted on Baby Branson his adopted son.  Flip knew his job well and when Honey was removed from the herd Flip doted on the quickly growing foal and helped to make his weaning less traumatic. Flip also in the following weeks allowed Jamie more contact. She was able to halter him and even give him a treat and touch his face. A great step for a little horse with such long ingrained trust issues.

According to Jamie, Flip quietly gave up his band sometime late last week. Then sometime on Sunday, After noon he passed quietly into a new found freedom where the skies are always blue, the grass is always lush and green, and the water never stops flowing. We shall miss your bravery, your courage and your ability to look past the cruelty of the world and  to hang on to the hope. You shared with us that tender spirit of freedom that never dies. Rest in Peace Dear Friend.

This painting is dedicated to the memory of Flip and all the people that came to his aid in his time of need. Thank you for your tireless efforts.


  1. Thank you Linda, for the wonderful painting of him to forever immortalize him. And thank you for your words. This is a little mustang that will always hold a place in my heart.

  2. You are very welcome Jamie. Thanks for all of your hard work at AFH. I will always remember him too.