Archive for September, 2016

LexLin Gives Back – Part 2 of 3: Sharing The Dream

Posted on September 1, 2016 with No Comments

LexLin Gives Back is a three-part blog series that tells the story of LexLin’s Gypsy Gift donation campaign through the eyes of the children of LexLin Gypsy Ranch owners Eric and Mechelle Barton.  Lexi Barton, the eldest daughter of two girls and three boys, writes the following blog. In this second blog, Lexi shares her perspective on how LexLin has seen an outpouring of support for LexLin’s Gypsy Gift program over the years and how countless lives have been impacted across the country. The three-part blog series will conclude with a final blog written by Cody, which will be published Oct. 1st. From all of us at LexLin Gypsy Ranch, we hope that you enjoy this unique perspective from LexLin’s next generation.

Lexi Barton, the eldest daughter of two girls and three boys, shares her perspective on how LexLin has seen an outpouring of support for LexLin’s Gypsy Gift program.

Since we have begun this “Give Back” journey, we have seen our LexLin following grow exponentially. Being a part of this experience that provides services for others has been an incredible journey. Providing people in need with an opportunity to impact and enrich the lives of the developmentally disabled, sick, injured, troubled and developing lives on a daily basis by receiving one of LexLin Gypsy Vanner horses is an honor. Gypsy Horses are gentle loving animals and we at LexLin do believe our horses are fit for this type of work.  I believe that LexLin has given me the surest way to find happiness in my own life, which is to help others find happiness in theirs, whether that be across the U.S. or around the world.

Lexi pictured at the Smoky Mountain Service Dogs Auction, where LexLin donated proceeds from the day’s horse auction to the nonprofit program, which helps disabled veterans by pairing them with service dogs.

Lexi pictured at the Smoky Mountain Service Dogs Auction, where LexLin donated proceeds from the day’s horse auction to the nonprofit program, which helps disabled veterans by pairing them with service dogs.

For me, I have been in awe over the years witnessing all of the positive feedback on LexLin’s Facebook and other social media accounts. I love to read the testimonials and positive feedback these horses have been making in people’s lives. LexLin has donated 45 horses within the past three years with plans to donate many more to PATH International Premier Accredited therapy centers. These have an impact on 169,000 lives on average per year or 3.4 million lives, not including their families, loved ones and friends, over the next two decades. Here is some feedback we have gotten over the years that have really touched my heart.

LexxiBeth, a Gypsy Vanner President & CEO Dr. Eric W. Barton named after his eldest daughter, Lexi.

LexxiBeth, a Gypsy Vanner President & CEO Dr. Eric W. Barton named after his eldest daughter, Lexi.

“I have experienced first-hand what a difference a good horse can make to a therapy program!” Ginger Krause said. “It is just incredible that 10 of these gorgeous and kind horses will go to such deserving centers from the generosity of the LexLin Gypsy Ranch!”

Lexi, far right, and her younger sister Lindie pictured during a Veteran’s Day parade.

Lexi, far right, and her younger sister Lindie pictured during a Veteran’s Day parade.

And another:

“I have seen and interacted with one of their Gypsy horses. The horse I refer to is Stormy with Equest Hooves For Heroes (H4H). I just have never seen a more calm, friendly horse in all my life! Not only does Stormy possess strength, great build, and great color, he has an excellent disposition,” Debra Rogers said. “I’m thankful to LexLin for this donation and can testify that if all their horses are like Stormy – then all their horses are awesome!”

Gypsy Gift Mapping-01

Through Gypsy Gift, the community plays a pivotal role on which PATH center will receive a Gypsy Vanner horse. How the voting process works is based on fan favorites. When in the running, the community will vote for a fan favorite by “liking” and sharing through Facebook to spread the word. After the centers have been selected, the top nominated and one client selected by Lexlin staff will be able to enter the Lexlin Gypsy Gift program.

This year’s Gypsy Gift campaign received overwhelming support with 33 therapy centers receiving a combined 171,675 votes in less than two months of voting. Several of the winning centers received more than 1,000 votes in one day towards the end of the voting phase, and the winning centers from No. 3 through No. 11 varied fan favorite placement day to day. The 11th place center received 13,000 votes and was only 161 votes behind the 10th place center.

A teenaged Lexi shows affection to the Gypsy Vanners at the LexLin Ranch in Rockwood, TN.

A teenaged Lexi shows affection to the Gypsy Vanners at the LexLin Ranch in Rockwood, TN.

While our family has seen an overwhelmingly positive response to our Gypsy Gift initiative, it has been even more powerful for me and my family to witness the positive impact LexLin’s Gypsy Vanner horses are making in countless lives each week. According to feedback we’ve gotten from some of these therapy centers, each of the horses regularly impact 50-100 lives on a weekly basis. And as you can see in the graphic included in this blog, these horses and therapy centers are spread across the United States.

“We were really excited about receiving the horse,” Emily Gardner, with one of the therapeutic centers receiving a Gypsy Vanner said. “It will add additional spots to our schedule that we couldn’t have done before.”

Giving to PATH-accredited centers was the perfect fit and exposed the Gypsy Vanners to an even greater potential of positively influencing as many lives as possible. PATH International, dedicated to promoting safe and effective therapeutic horseback riding throughout the U.S. and Canada, has more than 850 member centers and nearly 7,600 individual members in countries all over the world today who help and support more than 54,000 men, women and children with special needs each year through a variety of equine-assisted activities and therapy programs.

LexLin only picks the very best purebred Gypsy Vanners, which are DNA verified Gypsy horses registered with the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society, providing the horses with only the best care and professional training.

“Gypsies are wonderfully suited for therapeutic purposes with their build, temperament, size and love for people,” LexLin President and CEO Dr. Eric W. Barton said. “We want to enable people in need around the U.S. to have access to these extremely tractable horses as it’s amazing to witness what these horses can do for improving health, skills and overall improved healing and quality of life for many people. PATH-accredited centers are giving back to people on a daily basis and we strongly believe in their programs and want to give back to communities around the U.S. in this special way.”

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LexLin Gives Back – Part 1 of 3: Living The Dream

Posted on September 1, 2016 with No Comments

LexLin Gives Back is a three-part blog series that tells the story of LexLin’s Gypsy Gift donation campaign through the eyes of the children of LexLin Gypsy Ranch owners Eric and Mechelle Barton. The following blog is written by Lindie Barton, the middle child of two girls and three boys. In this first blog, Lindie shares her perspective on the impact LexLin’s Gypsy Gift program has made on countless lives across the country. The second blog will be written by Lexi and will be published on our website Sept. 1st, and the three-part blog series will conclude with a final blog written by Cody, which will be published Oct. 1st. From all of us at LexLin Gypsy Ranch, we hope that you enjoy this unique perspective from LexLin’s next generation.

A 10-year-old Lindie Barton poses for a photo with LexLin’s Lindie’s Promise in 2010.

A 10-year-old Lindie Barton poses for a photo with LexLin’s Lindie’s Promise in 2010.

My name is Lindie Barton, the 16-year-old daughter of LexLin Gypsy Ranch owners Eric and Mechelle Barton. Over the last six years, the most formative years of my young adult life, I believe – I have witnessed my parents’ ever-growing desire to do something big for society. One of their biggest charitable missions eventually became LexLin’s beloved Gypsy Gift program. This emotionally-riddled, yet awe-inspiring program has taught me some very important lessons in life. One in particular that has stuck with me over the years is that helping others is a priceless, precious gift.

This blog, LexLin Gives Back, begins a three-part series on the evolution of the LexLin Gypsy Gift program, why LexLin gives back, its charitable mission and the positive response we have seen from this wonderful program and how the horses have positively changed lives. I hope that you enjoy my take on the LexLin Gypsy Gift program.

Lexi and Lindie playing at the LexLin Ranch in Rockwood, TN.

Lexi and Lindie playing at the LexLin Ranch in Rockwood, TN.

My Mom and Dad created Rockwood, TN-based LexLin Gypsy Ranch in 2009 as a family business with the motto of “living the dream.” The ranch was named after my sister Lexi and I; and ultimately for LexLin and its owners, living the dream means giving back to the community. LexLin has donated 45 horses within the past 3 years: 6 being donated in 2013, 17 in 2014, 10 in 2015 and 11 more in 2016. Their goal was to donate at least 30 horses by the end of a three-year period from 2014-2016. Our family has exceeded that goal by putting tons of time and dedication into LexLin and its multiple charitable programs such as LexLin Gives Back – Honoring Our Heroes Event, Honoring Our Heroes’ successor LexLin Gypsy Gift Program and donations to veteran-based Smoky Mountain Service Dogs and other nonprofit organizations.

The LexLin Gives Back – Honoring Our Heroes Event was LexLin’s first charitable program dedicated to giving back to its community. It was a great program based on giving back to our veterans by donating a Gypsy Vanner to a veteran who has served at least 1 year in Iraq or Afghanistan. In 2011, LexLin held its first annual LexLin Gives Back – Honoring Our Heroes Contest. The winner of this contest was Chris Kelly, a veteran of California who won LexLin’s Braveheart. In 2012, LexLin held its second annual contest, which was won by firefighter Jason Warrenfeltz, who won LexLin’s Swade. The third and last annual contest for LexLin Gives Back – Honoring Our Heroes Event was held in 2013 and for the first time, fans and customers of LexLin chose the horse and its recipient. The horse donated for that final year was Stormy, a black and white tobiano Gypsy Vanner who won the hearts of many and was selected for the program. During the voting stages, two applicants quickly rose to the forefront of the voting phase. One applicant was an outstanding individual whose support was well organized by a family member and the other was the Equest Hooves for Heroes program in Texas. My parents quickly realized that the customers and fans of LexLin know best who could really use a Gypsy Vanner horse for therapeutic purposes. LexLin’s Gypsy Gift program was born.

Lexi and Lindie Barton goof off during the 2014 horse auction to benefit Smoky Mountain Service Dogs.

Lexi and Lindie Barton goof off during the 2014 horse auction to benefit Smoky Mountain Service Dogs.

From Honoring Our Heroes came LexLin’s Gypsy Gift Program, which is a program to raise, train and donate LexLin Gypsy Horses for future careers in Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) for nonprofit centers accredited through PATH International. Through these PATH International Premier Accredited therapy centers, LexLin’s Gypsy Vanners work with military veterans and law enforcement suffering from PTSD, amputees, at-risk youth, autistic children, disabled adults, abused women and even families suffering the loss of a young child.

“If one horse on average reaches 56 people on a weekly basis that gives 45 LexLin Gypsy Vanners a chance to impact lives 126,000 times in one year alone, assuming that the horses need two weeks off during the year for sickness, holidays, etc. We’re not even taking into consideration the impact that therapy has on the families, friends and loved ones of that person working with the horse,” President and CEO Dr. Eric W. Barton said. “Imagine how many lives can be touched over 20-plus years with these 45 horses alone. The impact would reach 2.5 million lives.”

Lindie and Eric Barton spend quality father-daughter time together on the ranch.

Lindie and Eric Barton spend quality father-daughter time together on the ranch.

These horses have touched the lives of many. I am always touched to hear about how these horses have made an impact in so many people’s lives. Little Lyric, a Gypsy Vanner donated in 2015, has helped several in grief counseling who had lost their young child.

“Lyric took on the ‘role’ of one of the children and actual laid down in the grass with one of the Moms. As everyone cried this Mom said she felt touched by the spirit of the lost child,” Carol Young of Healing Strides in Virginia said. “This had mirrored another Mom and another horse the previous week. Both very extreme responses for a horse to have in the presence of people, let alone two weeks in a row with two different people.”

LexLin Gypsy Ranch, hailed as the largest independent Gypsy Vanner operation in North America, is a family business donating 45 horses over a three-year period. The Honoring Our Heroes Event and LexLin’s Gypsy Gift Program were both two huge programs that helped them achieve their goal. These horses impact the lives of the developmentally disabled, sick, injured, troubled and developing lives on a daily basis through these programs.

“At LexLin Gypsy Ranch, we are so blessed to be able to donate these high-quality horses, many imported or first generation imports, to such deserving therapy centers and individuals who truly make a difference in countless lives,” Barton said. “LexLin is constantly looking for ways to give back to people all over the U.S.”

We are excited to see what the future holds!

The Barton children: Jon, Cody, Lindie, Lexi and Ben.

The Barton children: Jon, Cody, Lindie, Lexi and Ben.

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