by Caitlyn Andrews
December 06, 2016
December marks the "season of giving". What better horse to feature this month than LoveWay's own gift horse, Mac?
Many horses have been donated to LoveWay over the years, but Mac is different. Mac's donation is special because he was part of a gift program where therapeutic riding centers across the country competed for the chance to add a Gypsy Vanner to their barn.
Mac came to LoveWay in July of 2014 after a long (but worthwhile!) process. LoveWay had been nominated for LexLin Gypsy Ranch's Gypsy Gift Program.
What is the Gypsy Gift Program? I'm glad you asked.
Gypsy Gift is a charitable program by LexLin Gypsy Ranch that ran from 2014 - 2016. LexLin Gypsy Ranch is a Gypsy Vanner breeding operation owned by the Barton family and located in East Tennessee. The breeding program focuses on importing high-quality Gypsy Horses from the UK. LexLin Gypsy Ranch makes these wonderful horses available to people in the United States without the high cost of importation.
From LexLin Gypsy Ranch's generous owners, the Gypsy Gift Program was born.
Above: Mac grows impatient with his photo shoot and decides he wants to walk himself.
The motto of LexLin Gypsy Ranch is “Living the dream." Part of that dream is giving back to the community and LexLin does so in a big way.
They started their Gypsy Gift Program in 2014. The owners knew that Gypsy Horses make wonderful additions to equine assisted therapy programs (like LoveWay!). Their overall temperament, brilliant minds, and kind disposition make them the ideal therapy horse.
Cait Wilson, LoveWay's Equine Manager, can attest to how great the Gypsy Gift Horses are for therapy programs. Before coming to LoveWay, Cait got to work with two other Gypsy Gift Horses from LexLin at therapy centers in Colorado. Each one had a great mind and the perfect temperament for therapy work. Cait commented on how "people-oriented" they were. Just like Mac.
Above: A very photogenic Mac poses for his pictures. He wanted a close-up.
The Gift Horse program was announced with its goal in 2014:
LexLin Gypsy Ranch is introducing a new program called Gypsy Gift to raise, train and donate 30 registered Gypsy Horses to PATH accredited centers across the United States over the next two years.
Above: LexLin Megalomaniac at LoveWay in Middlebury, IN.
LoveWay was nominated by an employee and the non-profit's loyal supporters from across the United States voted daily for them to win one of the horses.
LoveWay ended up being one of the centers with the most votes. They were able to select from one of the gift horses to join LoveWay. They chose LexLin's Megalomaniac, better known as Mac.
After choosing Mac, the process to bring him home began. LoveWay got their lawyer involved to help with the mountain of paperwork involved with transferring Mac over to the therapy program. Juanita, LoveWay's Equine Manager at the time, drove all the way to Tennessee to pick up Mac. There was a ceremony waiting for her and the other gift recipients.
The party continued when Mac made his way home to Indiana. LoveWay hosted an open house to celebrate the newest addition.
Above: Mac watches eagerly as students return from trail riding.
Today, Mac is in training to become the wonderful therapy horse that the LoveWay staff knows he will be. There's so much potential in the young Gypsy Horse, that everyone is looking forward to seeing what the future brings for him. Even though he was given a good start, Mac was just a 2 year old when he came to LoveWay so he still had a lot to learn.
Though he hasn't been ridden yet, he's ground driving now and has already worn a saddle. Sharon Jones, LoveWay's Program Manager and PATH Certified Instructor, looks forward to Mac's first ride. "He's smart! He's the smartest horse I've ever worked with." Coming from Sharon, that really means something. Sharon has been a trainer and instructor for over 30 years, so she's worked with many horses for comparison.
Above: LoveWay was fortunate enough to be given a few of Mac's baby pictures when he joined the team. He was definitely an adorable colt!
Mac will hopefully join the unmounted classes in the near future. He should be a perfect fit. Students in unmounted classes need interactive horses. Mac is very sweet and playful. He seems to be just the right horse for the job.
Would you like to meet Mac? LoveWay could always use new volunteers! Ask about the new Buddy Program. Once a week, volunteers spend about an hour of one-on-one time with their partnered horse. The time is spent on strength building and stretching exercises and games. Even people without horse experience can volunteer as a Horse Buddy!
Below: The original flyer for the LexLin Gift Horse program. You can see young Megalomaniac (Mac) featured on the top left!
December 08, 2016
Interesting and informative article!
by Caitlyn Andrews
April 02, 2018
At VPSI, we're proud to be able to sponsor the therapy horses at LoveWay. LoveWay is an equine assisted therapy nonprofit in Middlebury, Indiana. The nonprofit is well-known in the community for helping children with disabilities through their therapy classes.We've featured many of the special horses at LoveWay in the past. This time, we're putting the spotlight on a horse and rider pair: Gus and Suzanne...
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January 16, 2018
Not every horse can become a therapy horse. Some horses that enter the LoveWay program don't end up staying for long. It takes a special kind of horse to be a great equine-assisted therapy horse.
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