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‘A very dear friend has left us’: farewell to Butterfly Flip

Malin Baryard-Johnsson’s top mare Butterfly Flip has died at the age of 30.

The Swedish showjumper struck up a fantastic partnership with the brown mare, representing Sweden at two Olympic Games and being crowned the FEI’s best horse and rider combination in 2003.

Announcing the sad news about her beloved Swedish-bred mare, Malin said: “A very dear old friend has left us, the absolutely amazing Butterfly Flip. So many unforgettable memories she gave us all! And what a journey we did together.”

Malin Baryard-Johnsson started riding the Robin I Z x Moderene mare as a six-year-old and enjoyed a winning spree that spanned more than 12 years.

Butterfly Flip took Malin to her first World Cup qualifier at Geneva in 2001 and they went on to compete in five World Cup Finals, finishing in the top 10 three times and finishing third to Marcus Ehning in Las Vegas in 2003.

They jumped at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and again in Athens in 2004 where they won team silver. The pair were also part of the silver medal-winning team at the 2001 European Championships and jumped at two World Championships, winning team silver in 2002.

Butterfly Flip spent her retirement with the De Brabander family.

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“This very special lady taught me so much as a rider,” said Malin. “I’m very, very thankful to Kristina [De Brabander] who gave me the opportunity to work with this one of a kind personality and superstar for more than 12 years. RIP dear Flippan, you are for ever in my heart.”

Among the many tributes paid to Malin’s marvellous mare, US showjumper Lauren Hough said: “What an amazing team you two ladies were together.”

Butterfly Flip also produced some top-level offspring and her legacy lives on through the likes of Stephanie Holmen’s 15-year-old mare Flip’s Little Sparrow, a former international grand prix horse for Peder Fredricson. She even has a bit named after her.

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