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. Cody King, the eldest of two girls and three boys, writes the third and final installment in the blog series. Cody writes on how Eric, Mechelle and the LexLin family has inspired him to want to change the lives of others. From all of us at LexLin Gypsy Ranch, we hope that you have enjoyed this unique perspective from LexLin’s next generation.
My name is Cody and I am 22 years old, which makes me the oldest of the five children. Throughout my life, I have had the opportunity to spend time with my parents while the younger kids were able to play. At times, I enjoyed the quality time. On the other hand, I had to do “adult” work, but now I would never trade listening to my parents’ dreams and ambitions for LexLin.
As I listen to the people that now have these incredible horses, read testimonials on the programs that they are in, and mostly see the change that is happening around me every day because of Gypsy Gift, I pause in my life. I am impacted! My life changes because I can reflect on how blessed I am to have a family that instills giving back. I am not personally injured. I am not a veteran. I am not sick or disabled BUT being a part of this and seeing the growth of Gypsy Gift reminds me to thank those who are heroes and fight for our country as they are all around us every day. This program instills passion and allows me to see without judgment, as we never know when our own life could change in an instant, what our families and communities may face throughout life, or what our future children and neighbors will experience in the future. To see life through a different lens is sometimes hard but very necessary at times. This is what seeing this project means to me.
As I reflect back on LexLin throughout the years and read my sisters’ blogs, I thinking about Debra Rogers’ testimonial on her experience with Stormy.
“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. 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!”
It really hit home when I read that word. All of the horses at LexLin may not have the same personality or end up walking a similar journey, but they cultivate a unique and powerful disposition through their home base at LexLin Gypsy Ranch. They are able to reach a greater potential than ever imagined.
It is more than just a horse. It is these horses’ journey through the hearts and hands at LexLin that love and care for these lively creatures that enables them to have a giving heart to the people and places that they come in contact with through Gypsy Gift.
Even though we call it “Gypsy Gift,” as we visualize these horses gifted to PATH International Premier Accredited centers, we forget about the relationship and journey that continues to grow and develop mutually between the centers and the horses. The caring individuals at LexLin are making a difference in the centers by providing a well-trained and beautiful Gypsy Vanner but more importantly a horse that has a heart bigger than imaginable that is able to love the people that he or she meets. The programs that these Gypsy Vanners are becoming a part of are making a difference, and the opportunity to see Gypsy Vanners from LexLin take part in being one piece of the puzzle is truly inspiring.
LexLin is continually pushing forward and living out the motto, “Living The Dream.” A dream is exactly how this started in the first place, and the dreams of my family and the people that we call family on the ranch are always ready to listen to new ideas and opportunities. My parents are “go-getters” in the work place, and I am excited to see what is to come in the rest of 2016. If you know either of them, then you know 2016 is not over until the ball drops. LexLin hopes to donate 10 more horses in this year alone, and I cannot wait to see where these horses will go and the changes that will be made.
It is exciting to see the many opportunities that have risen from LexLin’s events new and old such as Honoring our Heroes, LexLin’s horse auction benefitting Smoky Mountain Service Dogs, our open houses, and donating part of individual sales to local charities in the community.
Dances With Horses was an event that LexLin took part in this year. I was able to spend time with friends and family, learn more about local businesses and impacts horses make, watch my mom perform a dance routine in the entertainment part of the night’s fundraiser, and mostly see LexLin help another incredible program Horse Haven.
LexLin went beyond its three-year goal of donating 10 horses a year and now has donated 45 horses over the past three years. The LexLin motto “Living The Dream” is not about my dream, my parents’ personal dreams or business dreams, my siblings’ dreams, or the dreams of the programs and charities that we collaborate with throughout the years. It is a LIVING dream that continues every day and does not belong to one individual. It is the collective life dreams of everyone coming together and breaking through what one could create on his or her own.
Give back. YOU can help someone and maybe that person will do the same for another just as these Gypsy Vanners dedicate their life purpose to helping others.
Whether you want to attend a LexLin open house, help or donate at a LexLin charity event, simply share a charity contest on social media, or take part in something in your own community – remember to live the dream. Share your unique ideas and dreams with others around you. You never know the imprint that you may leave on somebody or the impact something may have that could positively change your life.