LexLin Gypsy Ranch will be hosting its fourth annual Passing of the Lead ceremony July 22nd, where 20 LexLin Gypsy Vanner horses will be donated to equine therapy centers across the U.S., donating a total of 65 horses since 2009 through its philanthropic program Gypsy Gift.
To commemorate surpassing its charitable goal of donating at least 30 horses by the end of 2016, LexLin opened its 2017 Gypsy Gift program to all PATH International therapy centers within the U.S., including premier accredited equine centers.
Gypsy Gift is a LexLin program dedicated to breeding and training quality purebred Gypsy Vanners and connecting them with therapy centers throughout the nation to work with disabled veterans, autistic children and disabled adults.
“I am beyond humbled at the thought of how LexLin’s Gypsy Gift program has evolved from just a vision to a reality where 65 horses have made an impact on equine therapy programs nationwide,” LexLin President, CEO and Owner Dr. Eric W. Barton said.
Daily voting for this year’s Gypsy Gift closes at 12 p.m. (noon) EST on June 15th, and the top 20 centers with the most votes will be announced on June 16th.
As the Gypsy Gift program, and community support for the program, has grown over the years, hundreds of therapy centers – many of which were not PATH Premier Accredited Equine Activities and Assisted Therapies (EAAT) centers – reached out to LexLin about building their therapy programs through Gypsy Gift. Many of these therapy centers, while not PATH Premier Accredited, are well qualified and would greatly benefit with the addition of a well-tempered Gypsy Vanner horse to their program, LexLin staff said.
“As this charitable program has grown and evolved, we at LexLin had an epiphany that Gypsy horses should be instilled into programs where they can truly make a difference,” Barton said. “Expanding our Gypsy Gift qualifications will help us more rapidly spread this philanthropic mission.”
Donating 65 horses since 2009, LexLin has received countless praise and positive feedback about the Gypsy Vanner horses making a positive impact in therapy programs across the U.S. These horses are working in veteran programs, with autistic children and have even been soothing to those grieving the loss of a family member.
Bonnie DePue of C.H.U.M. Therapeutic Riding, Inc., who received Above the Law (renamed Serenity) in 2015, called their Gypsy Vanner “sweet” and “a fast learner.”
“He has been a great addition to the program, not just well timed because of our need in the program, but well timed because of the lives who are being touched as they watch him become a part of this program,” DePue said, adding that Serenity currently works with autistic children and adults.
Strides to Success equine therapy center in Plainfield, IN received LexLin’s Gentleman Jack on the Rocks, renamed Rocky, in 2014. While Rocky works with both children and adults in various equine therapy and professional learning services, Rocky helped to restore the will to live for a grieving widow who had recently lost her husband.
“Because Rocky requires a great deal of grooming in order to keep him healthy and pretty, we suggested that the widow come and be his groom on a daily basis. The woman reported that if it had not been for Rocky and his need to have her she would have not had anything that would have kept her going,” Debbie Anderson, of Strides to Success, said. “The time that she spends with Rocky allows her to step back from her grief and enjoy Rocky’s funny little mannerisms that make her smile.”
“Rocky has been a favorite of many because of both his beauty and his kind and gentle nature,” Anderson said. “Rocky allows the girls to love on him and teaches them about how to love themselves once again. I love this horse!”
The 2017 Gypsy Gift Passing of the Lead ceremony and Gypsy Horse Open House will be held on Saturday, July 22nd at LexLin Gypsy Ranch in Rockwood, TN. Doors will open at 11 am EST and the Gypsy Gift Passing of the Lead Ceremony will start at 2 pm. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.