ROCKWOOD, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--LexLin Gypsy Ranch, the largest Gypsy Vanner Ranch in the United States, announces the donation of 65 horses to Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) accredited equine therapy centers coast to coast through its philanthropic program Gypsy Gift.
Gypsy Gift is a LexLin program that is committed to donating quality purebred Gypsy Vanners to therapy centers throughout the nation that work with special needs children and disabled adults as well as veterans, military personnel and law enforcement suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Expressing admiration to therapy centers for the lives that they change through horses, LexLin President and CEO Dr. Eric W. Barton said he hopes to continue the Gypsy Gift program for many years to come.
“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,” Barton said during the 2017 Gypsy Gift Passing of the Lead ceremony at LexLin’s ranch in Rockwood, Tennessee, on July 22.
From April 15 to June 15, 2017, members of the public voted online for their favorite among 81 nominated PATH-accredited centers around the country. The 20 centers earning the most votes determined this year’s winners.
This year the program donated 20 horses appraising at a total of $295,000, the largest annual gift in its four-year history. In total, the program has donated 65 horse donations valued at over $1 million.
LexLin expects these 65 horses to facilitate more than 175,000 therapy sessions each year. Over the horses’ lifetimes, they have the potential to impact millions of lives, both those of children and veterans receiving therapy and their friends and family who also benefit.
For Loving Thunder Therapeutic Riding in New Mexico, receiving Poetry of LexLin in July marked new beginnings. The heartache of losing the contest last year – by only 165 votes in the last few hours of voting – tried emotions for many of their volunteers. On top of that, this year the center faced looming decisions to retire several aged horses, and another therapy horse was euthanized several weeks prior to receiving Poetry.
“She will bring happiness and joy to all of the children,” Ella Mae Stakich, Loving Thunder volunteer, said. Loving Thunder has programs for veterans and children.
“Giving horses to therapeutic riding centers is probably the best blessing you can give to anybody,” Twuana Raupp, Founder of Loving Thunder Therapeutic Riding said.
“We’ve served the veterans for five years. We haven’t lost a man yet, a wife yet or a girlfriend after they’ve gone through the program,” Mike Raupp, Loving Thunder Founder, added. “This is so special to all of our riders and our volunteers and to our state, everybody who voted for us.”
LexLin has received outstanding feedback on their Gypsy Vanners’ installation into therapy programs over the years.
“Gypsies are wonderfully suited for therapeutic purposes with their build, temperament, size and love for people,” 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 this breed can do for improving health, skills and overall improved healing and quality of life for many people.”