Archive for the LexLinGypsyRanch Category

Step in the right direction; Mane Support gets huge gift for expansion

Posted on December 22, 2017 with No Comments

Editor’s note: The following story appeared in The Daily Times —

By Melanie Tucker

Mane Support, Blount County’s and Tennessee’s only free-standing grief counseling center, has received a wonderful gift just in time for Christmas.

That gift comes in the form of new fencing, additional horses and funding that will put this equine-assisted center on the path to reaching more clients right here and the opportunity to branch out much further.

Dr. Eric Barton, founder, president and CEO of Maryville-based Vanquish Worldwide and owner of LexLin Gypsy Ranch in Rockwood, is donating 14 gypsy vanner horses to Mane Support. Ten of those horses will be sold beginning at midnight on Christmas Eve. The money from the sale will be donated to Mane Support. Barton will also provide $30,000 worth of fencing so Mane Support’s two pastures can become five. That will give this ministry more work space for its grief counseling and also leadership training.

Kim Henry, Mane Support’s CEO and founder, is ready with her new campaign, The Power of the Post. She said the need is for 500 posts in order to complete the fencing of the pastures. Through a partnership with AgCentral Farmers Co-Op in Maryville, the community is invited to come alongside and help. Individuals, businesses or other organizations can purchase posts in honor or in memory of someone. The co-op will sell them for $8.19 each. Plaques will be placed on the posts for those who purchase them.

There’s Work To Do

The fencing will need to be in place soon, Henry said. She will be receiving four horses, two that will stay at Mane Support and two that will be donated to a therapeutic center in Morristown. Any of the 10 horses that don’t sell will also be kept here. The date for the horses to arrive is Jan. 19, 2018.

“This gift of Eric’s allows us to make a stronger foundation for Mane Support and its services, by adding posts to make it stronger,” Henry said. “Metaphorically, people who invest in Mane Support are that foundation of support that allows for more to be done.”

The horses being donated are gypsy vanners, Henry explained. It is a domestic horse that originally came from the British Isles. The gypsy vanner is known for its sweet disposition. The breed is strong but mild-mannered enough to be with children. Henry has one gypsy vanner at Mane Support now. She has used Hopeful Cherokee Gold in her work with first responders who worked during the horrific and deadly wildfires in Gatlinburg last year.

The fencing, rubber mats and horses are part of what is being called the Barton Legacy Project, Henry said. The funding will assist Mane Support in obtaining more staff and increasing structures here in Blount County. All of Mane Support’s programs will also be aided by this gift, Henry said. Programs include Supporting Our Schools, Horses Helping Heroes, Changing Reins, HOPE, which stands for Horses Offering Peer Encouragement for teens, internship opportunities and also individual, group and family equine assisted grief counseling services.

Clients of all ages work through their grief of losing someone they know, other trauma or post traumatic stress disorder.


Stretching its legs

The goal is to also implement the Mane Support Model training for other facilities nationally and to implement a partnership with Ridin’ High in Morristown. That would allow Mane Support to extend its reach from Morristown to Pigeon Forge and Gatliburg to White Pine and Johnson City.

MANE Support is licensed through EAGALA, Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association. The grief counseling is done on the ground instead of on horseback.

“All of this has one goal,” Henry said. “To reach more children, families, individuals and groups who have experienced the effects of grief and trauma, to provide opportunities for interns and practicum students so that learning and training takes place and the sustainability of Mane Support and the Barton Legacy continues. And lastly, to provide a safe and secure environment where grief and loss can be expressed when words are too difficult.”

Henry and Barton met back in 2013 when Henry took part in the Leading by the Reins Leadership Program which Barton oversees with his Peak Technical Institute.

Another way to pitch in

In addition to the campaign to purchase posts for the pastures at Mane Support, there is also another way this community can get involved. Henry will hold work days on Jan. 12-15, 2018 before the horses arrive. Anyone who would like to help is welcome. Henry said that could include school groups, churches, Scouts or businesses and individuals.

“On the work days we will need tractors, augers, those who know about fencing and those who don’t,” Henry said. “Whatever time can be given will be greatly appreciated as everyone’s time and skills will be important.”

Barton said he is proud to be able to help Mane Support with its mission of serving others. He said this donation of horses is being done though the Gypsy Gift program. Barton and LexLin have donated horses whose total worth is over $1.1 million.

Barton is the largest breeder of Gypsy Vanner horses in North America. He has imported more than 500 of the horses.

And while he has donated more than 65 horses to centers across the U.S., Mane Support is the first center Barton has donated to that does its counseling with clients who stay on the ground and don’t ride.

“We are proud, happy and honored to be a part of this with Mane Support,” Barton said.

Jenny of LexLin Making Strides in Therapy Center Work After LexLin Gypsy Gift Donation

Posted on January 9, 2017 with No Comments

With the donation of 45 Gypsy Vanner horses over the past three years as part of the LexLin Gypsy Gift program, LexLin Gypsy Ranch has seen these horses affect 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.

Each horse’s impact is unique, but LexLin is honored to share updates on their Gypsy Vanners’ positive impact in PATH International Premier Accredited therapy centers across the U.S.

Indiana-based Reins of Life Inc. Therapeutic Riding Center was awarded Jenny of LexLin in the 2015 Gypsy Gift program. Since arriving at the therapy center, Jenny has completed training to become a therapeutic riding horse.

“Reins of Life received a grant from St. Joseph Community Foundation to pay for training Jenny. She was sent to Elizabeth Grainger, owner/trainer of Grainger Dressage in South Bend, IN for three months of professional training,” Reins of Life Instructor Holly Byers said. “Once she was back home, she received another three months of in-house training with Elizabeth and the instructors at Reins of Life.

“While it was a big task for a therapeutic riding center to take on a horse that wasn’t trained to ride, many involved with her will agree that she was one of the most trainable horses they have worked with,” she added. “She is so incredibly smart and willing to please.”

Jenny was introduced to the Reins of Life herd with her very own jubilee; complete with pink princess tiara cakes, a blessing of the herd and a demonstration of Jenny’s abilities to an audience of close to 100 people.

“It was her very first public performance and she acted like a seasoned pro. Everyone involved with Reins of Life quickly fell in love with her,” Byers said.

Jenny began working with students in the spring of 2016, and she now participates in 3-4 lessons a week and continues to work with the instructors to continue developing her skills.

“She is quickly showing that her specialty lies with some of our youngest students. They love to play soccer on her,” Byers said. “Thank you again for this wonderful mare. She is my princess and I adore her.”

30% off Black Friday Select Gypsy Horse Sale Starts Today!

Posted on November 27, 2014 with No Comments

Black Friday Flyer

Maryville firm grows worldwide logistics business

Posted on June 13, 2014 with No Comments

By Robert Norris | | Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014 12:00 am

Read article at

539a6c4711dd2.image 539a67d4db29a.imageVanquish Worldwide. The name evokes power and distance with a sense of precision and vagueness all at once. Sort of like the military. That’s no coincidence.

Consider the founder, president and CEO. Eric Barton spent 11 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He intended to make a career of the corps. Stuff happened.
Stuff happening today includes a ribbon-cutting at Vanquish Worldwide’s new headquarters, 235 S. Old Glory Road, Maryville. The event will last 3 p.m.-6 p.m. with the ribbon sliced at 4 p.m. There will be refreshments, music, door prizes, even exotic horses.

Vanquish Worldwide describes itself as “an asset-based premier transportation provider that delivers a wide variety and the highest level of transportation and logistic solutions for government and commercial clients.”

Here’s what Barton calls his elevator speech: “We’re a supply team management government contracting firm. What we do is deliver excellence to our clients.” The stuff they deliver includes fuel, food, ammunition, armored vehicles — all sorts of materiel the U.S. government moves around Afghanistan.

“Our mantra in our years overseas has been: Support the war fighter forward in developing nations in hostile environments. That means a lot of things to a lot of different people. But we support the war fighter in the mission they have, which means beans, bullets, Band-aids, transportation, helicopter support,” Barton said. “That’s been something we’re very proud of. To do something you really love to do that’s challenging, diverse, means something.”

It started when Barton joined the Marines at age 17. He was a “satellite technician for five years, got a meritorious commission, spent the last six years as an intelligence officer, had a sniper platoon for a couple of years, did a few pumps (deployments). Spent my last two years in Horn of Africa traveling around gathering intelligence for war.

“Which helped me out tremendously as I got out later on and went to seminary and transitioned to government contracting. It wasn’t planned.”

So naturally, Barton ended in seminary school in Atlanta and worked as a youth pastor in Conyers, Ga. His career path is anything but boring.

“Writing his bio can be challenging at times,” said Dawn White, sales and marketing manager for Vanquish Worldwide.

White outlined what’s happening now at the company. Vanquish has just been awarded a National Afghan Trucking contract (NAT 1.5) in Afghanistan — one of seven contractors selected for the more than $200 million deal. Vanquish’s cut will be $37 million. The company also just landed a Corps of Engineers HVAC contract in Loudon.

Commercial contracts

As U.S. involvement in Afghanistan winds down, the company is expanding into commercial trucking. It has contracted with FedEx and has trucks at the delivery firm’s Nashville terminal. It’s on schedule to add 11 FedEx trucks with drivers at the Knoxville terminal by the end of June. The company plans to acquire another trucking company and its 23 trucks in August.

As part of its diversification, Vanquish Worldwide has a couple of subsidiaries, Front Range Training & Consulting LLC. That sister firm recently completed a class training U.S. Air Force airmen to be aides for three- and four-star generals. New law enforcement training classes are filling up now in the Western U.S., and the company is looking into SWAT training for East Tennessee law enforcement, White said.

Peak Technical Institute provides condensed vocational training programs. It currently provides Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) classes, and a BETA equine leadership class is scheduled to begin in early August.

Equine leadership? It doesn’t seem so outside the box considering Barton also has LexLin Gypsy Ranch in Rockwood. Barton said it is the largest Gypsy Vanner horse farm in the U.S. The breed of draft horses (think of small Clydesdales) comes from England, Ireland and Wales.

LexLin Ranch recently sold more than $75,000 worth of horses in one month. The ranch plans to make 30 horse donations over the next two years to therapy centers. The gentle nature of the breed makes Gypsy Vanners well-suited for equine therapy for recovering military as well as autistic and special needs children. A horse auction is planned for July 26, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to Smoky Mountain Service Dogs.

White cited a number of other community involvement and charitable contributions, ranging from United Way of Blount County, to Foothills Land Conservancy, to Keep Blount Beautiful, to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, where Barton established an endowment of $100,000 and matches other donations that come in dollar for dollar.

On the job in Iraq

It’s a lack of dollars that eventually turned Barton into a businessman. He had planned to rejoin the Marines after seminary school, but while in Atlanta he and his wife, Mechelle, found themselves in a 900-square-foot apartment with five kids and in debt. Two of the children had been adopted from Ethiopia, where Barton met the founder of Americans for African Adoptions.

“So I started going to job fairs, and I found a guy that had a contract in Iraq making decent money — more than I’d ever made before, that’s for sure. So I said, I’ll take it.”

He’d never seen a government contract, but Barton ended up being the first contract manager for the company.

“We were very successful. In fact they went from a $40 million company to $285 million in a year-and-a-half,” Barton said.

Barton quit that job, deciding to start a business of his own. He was familiar with East Tennessee because he, an Illinois native, and his wife, from North Carolina, had often driven through Knoxville. They moved to Friendsville, where he founded his first company in 2006, Relyant, “a global provider of solutions to complex projects.”

Over the years Barton founded, closed, bought and sold several companies. Now, with Vanquish Worldwide at the core and Front Range Training and Peak Technical Institute as wing firms, Baron is adjusting to a business environment less reliant on government contracts.

“All three companies share the same thought process of delivery excellence to the client. It’s important for us, how we do business and how we treat our customers — make sure we’re asked to come back again. It’s a long-term vision not a short-term profit,” Barton said.

It’s almost like playing a pinball machine with three balls bouncing down the table at once.

“It’s the symphony in the chaos, that’s for sure,” Barton said.

Gypsy Gift – Unique Program for Equine Assisted Therapy Centers!

Posted on February 13, 2014 with No Comments

Gypsy Gift Intro AnnouncementGypsy Gift™ has been in the planning phase for quite some time. We’re excited to roll out a new program on Valentine’s Day 2014 to match LexLin Gypsy Horses with sponsors to raise and train them for future career placement with non-profit organizations as equine assisted therapy and activity horses. There are 850+ Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Centers across the US and around the world. Horses impact and enrich the lives of the developmentally disabled, sick, injured, troubled and developing lives on a daily basis through these programs. We believe Gypsy Horses are ideally suited to this type of work. Can Praxis, an equine therapy program in Canada, has had amazing results in working with post traumatic stress disorder in veterans and these results are similar to what happens on a daily basis in equine assisted therapy programs all around the country.

Eric and Mechelle Barton of LexLin Gypsy Ranch have enjoyed amazing success with their businesses over the past few years and are constantly looking for ways to pay it forward and give back to communities around the world. Their family and businesses have donated in excess of $6.8 million to charitable organizations, including land conservancy, United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Wounded Warrior, and others in 2013 and now feel that it is time to reach out and touch the lives of others by giving some of their much loved Gypsy Horses via Gypsy Gift™ to centers across the United States. LexLin Gypsy Ranch has donated several Gypsy Horses over the past few years to PATH accredited programs. We have received many thanks and glowing reports of the work our horses are doing and requests to expand our program.

Over the next two years LexLin Gypsy Ranch’s mission is to donate 30 registered Gypsy Horses (total donation valued in excess of $500,000) to  the Gypsy Gift™ program while simultaneously finding eligible sponsors who will train them for approved PATH accredited centers. If one center on average, reaches 25 people on a weekly basis, that gives 30 Gypsy Horses a chance to impact lives 39,000 times in one year alone! Imagine how many lives can be touched over 20+ years with 30 horses! LexLin Gypsy Ranch will donate Gypsy horses to centers after 2-3 years of a sponsor leasing and raising/training them through Gypsy Gift™ . The sponsor will give the horse daily handling in preparation to start their official training to become a therapy horse once they’re 3-4 years of age. This also allows the center time to decide if the horse will be suited to their particular program. By donating  young horses they will have many years to impact lives in the programs and can be trained exactly as needed for their job as a therapy horse. Ideally we’re looking for nominated centers who find a sponsor that will raise and train the horse for them for 2-3 years. The horse may be housed at the center or at the sponsor’s chosen facility. Sponsors may be Center board members, staff or others that want to participate in Gypsy Gift™. In some situations sponsors may opt to arrange to pay the center for the care of the horse which would enable the horse to be cared for directly by the center. This may qualify as a charitable donation if made directly to the center. This would enable the center to become directly involved with the care of the horse and give the horse the opportunity to interact with center members from the beginning of their 2-3 year lease period before donation.

We need your help to make this program a success!

Beginning on Friday, February 14, 2014, and continuing through July 3rd 2014, we will begin taking nominations for PATH accredited centers interested in receiving a Gypsy Horse through Gypsy Gift™. As nominations come in we will post them on LexLin Gypsy Ranch’s fan page on Facebook for you to “like” and share to spread the word in support of your chosen center. There will be five centers selected on July 4th to receive horses. The top 4 nominated centers with the most fan “likes” and 1 center chosen by LexLin staff will be entered into a lottery drawing on July 4, 2014 to select a horse for their program. The 5 horses drawn on July 4th will then be ready to immediately enter into a lease agreement with the nominated center’s sponsor for 2-3 years before being donated to the center for their program. Most of the horses in Gypsy Gift™ will be geldings, though all horses in the program will be DNA verified Gypsy Horses registered with the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society.

The horses available in the program will be announced on Friday, February, 21st. We will need your help to select the first 5 Gypsy Horses via Facebook likes between February 21, 2014 – July 3, 2014. Those 5 Gypsy Horses will then be selected by the 5 nominated centers from the lottery in the order their numbers are drawn.

Gypsy Gift™ is our primary focus for 2014 and will be the focus of our 5th Annual LexLin Gives Back: Honoring our Heroes. Honoring our Heroes will resume as traditionally run in 2015. We will share more Gypsy Gift™  program details and officially start on Valentine’s Day!

Questions? Watch for full program details to come on Valentine’s Day, and feel free to contact us via or call 865.816.2761.

Growing the Gypsy Vanner Breed – Interview with Brownfield AgNews for America

Posted on April 24, 2013 with No Comments

My recent radio interview with Julie Harker from Brownfield Ag News for America about the Gypsy Horse breed. The interview includes our introduction to the breed and beginnings in the breed as well as our programs to help spread awareness for the breed and put these wonderful horses in good homes with clients and partners now and in the future.

By July Harker – April 20, 2013

The Gypsy Vanner horse breed continues to grow.  Eric Barton and his wife Mechelle own the LexLin Gypsy Ranch in Knoxville, Tennesee.  They fell in love with the gentle breed and are helping others enjoy them.  Many things make them special, says Eric Barton, including their looks and their temperament.

AUDIO: Eric Barton on the Gypsy Vanner (3:00 mp3)

AUDIO: Full interview with Eric Barton (19:00 mp3)

View on Brownfield AgNews for America’s website

Help A Hero Win a Gypsy Horse – Contest Open for Nominations!

Posted on April 24, 2013 with No Comments

Help a Hero Win a Horse 2013

Help A Hero Win a Gypsy Horse! Nominate a disabled/injured veteran or supporting organization via anytime through midnight EST on May 15th. Open to entrants from the US, Canada and Mexico!

Essays will be posted on LexLin’s facebook  page at 3pm EST on May 16th and voting will commence through midnight EST on July 3rd. The winner with the most votes (must be approved by LexLin and be able to adequately care for horse) will be announced on July 4th as the new owner of Stormy! Stormy is a black and white Gypsy Vanner gelding who posses the excellent temperament Gypsy Horses are widely known for.

LexLin Gypsy Vanner Horse Ranch Announces Unique Care Lease Foal Partnership Opportunity

Posted on April 18, 2013 with No Comments

Rockwood, Tenn. – LexLin Gypsy Ranch, the largest breeding farm for Gypsy Vanner horses in North America, announced today a new broodmare partnership program to introduce prospective owners to the Gypsy Vanner breed.

Join our Breeder's Partnership program announcement April 2013

The LexLin Gypsy Breeder’s Partnership Program™ offers a care lease–foal partnership program for this distinctive horse breed, which is indigenous to the United Kingdom. LexLin is the only Gypsy Vanner horse breeding ranch offering this kind of program.

LexLin Gypsy Ranch matches approved applicants to the most appropriate Gypsy broodmare[s] to help partners meet their goals of owning and caring for a Gypsy horse. As part of this partnership package, LexLin Gypsy Ranch provides its active guidance and expertise to partners in the breeding and care of a Gypsy Vanner – prized for its ideal temperament along with great athleticism and presence.

The program allows partners an opportunity to become involved with this unique breed of horse, with a low-risk, minimal investment, which can lead to ownership of a Gypsy Vanner horse. No purchase of the broodmare is necessary, although many of the mares in the program are available for purchase.

A partner leasing mares through the program pays for all expenses related to the health and well-being of the Gypsy mares/foals in the partner’s care. In turn, the partner receives a 50 percent interest in the foal through six months of age, with the opportunity to purchase the foal for a predetermined price.

If the partner is not interested in purchasing LexLin Gypsy Ranch’s share in the foal born through the partnership, they may assist in the sale of the horse and share in the proceeds.

LexLin Gypsy Ranch staff will support the program’s partners through personal advice, educational programs and stallion services. Unlike other farms and ranches that just sell the horse, LexLin Gypsy Ranch seeks to build a true partnership to support the new owner / partner’s investment in the breed.

“Partnering with LexLin has been an incredible experience,” said Oregon partner Suzy Brown. “Eric and Mechelle Barton along with their breeding manager, Lisa Holdman, have been extremely helpful with the many questions I have asked when raising and training my first Gypsy Vanner foal through the program. They really put an effort into making the program a win-win for their horses and partners.”

Since a pilot program for this endeavor launched in March 2012, more than 40 LexLin Gypsy Vanner mares have been leased by program partners throughout the United States.

“This opportunity has helped me accomplish one of my biggest dreams when I turned 30 – to be able to ride, train and show what a Gypsy Horse is – and it’s been a special one at that,” said Jennifer Rose, a California partner

Interested partners can contact LexLin Gypsy Ranch for more information on how to participate. Visit to view more program details and specific mares available for lease partnership.

Located in the foothills of East Tennessee, LexLin Gypsy Ranch’s Gypsy Vanner horses – a majestic, athletic yet gentle breed – are bred from the most sought-after bloodlines from horses imported by LexLin from their native lands in the United Kingdom. Every LexLin Gypsy Vanner horse is registered immediately upon purchase or birth, with DNA and color testing conducted and documented.

Special Gypsy Valentine Offer + LexLin February E-News

Posted on February 9, 2013 with No Comments

Special Gypsy Valentine Offer

Activity at LexLin Gypsy Ranch is often a bustling whirlwind of activity. Want to know what we’ve been up to with our Gypsy Horse farm? Click to view our Feburary 2013 E-news that includes:

  • A limited time Gypsy In-Utero Foal Sale
  • News about our Gypsy Geldings,
  • Local show circuit that we’ll be showing our horses in
  • New Gypsy Breeder’s Partnerships formed in January
  • Last but not least – some great news from a client/friend who purchased one of our Gypsy Vanner fillies a few years ago.

If you want to keep up with ranch happenings on a daily basis please “Like” and follow us on the LexLin Gypsy Ranch Facebook fan page

You Are Invited to our 2012 Gypsy Horse Open House Oct 13, 2012

Posted on September 13, 2012 with No Comments

Fall is a very exciting time at LexLin Gypsy Ranch with the weaning of our 2012 Gypsy foals, beginning of many new Gypsy Breeders Partnerships and the annual much anticipated Fall Gypsy Horse Open House on Saturday, October 13, 2012! If you are interested in meeting our horses, learning about the breed and or are interested in ways you can become involved as a partner with LexLin Gypsy Ranch in promoting and caring for this wonderful breed of horse don’t miss our Open House. Many people have already RSVP’d for this relaxed and fun filled day. If you would like to come to the Open House feel free to click here to RSVP.