Hallsville girl suprised with dream of a lifetime: her own horse

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CENTRALIA — Many girls dream of getting a horse one day. For Gracie Smith, that dream came true today, thanks to the Central Missouri Dream Factory.

Smith, a Hallsville 9-year-old, was diagnosed with Von Willebrand Disease in 2016. VWD is a bleeding disorder that makes one prone to everything from nose bleeds to serious internal bleeding, according to the National Hemophilia Foundation.

Smith's parents, Greg and Lacie, submitted an application to the dream factory in May to make her dream come true.

It was soon accepted, and a team effort brought the dream together.

Lacie, the Dream Factory, and Smith's riding coaches all worked together for several months to find the right horse—color, cost, talent, size and more.

"We understand that it's different for them, and they don't get to be a normal kid all the time," Central Missouri Dream Factory volunteer Amy Bierk said. "So, it's wonderful to be able to give them something."

Today, Smith arrived at Ward Family Stables believing she was going to celebrate her horse trainer's birthday. Instead, Smith welcomed her new horse into the family, surrounded by friends and family.

Lacie Smith, Gracie's mother, said a horse of this quality was very expensive. So, the dream factory provided something the family couldn't.

"This is something that's going to be able to put her on the road to do that (compete)," Lacie said. "I can't tell the Dream Factory how thankful we are that this is something she'll get to do."

The horse will stay at the Smith’s house. With her new horse, Smith plans to compete at a more rigorous level.

“Over the last year she’s grown as a rider and competitor," Lacie said. "And so to be able to see that she now has a new team member and they get to learn and grow together is very exciting. I can’t wait to see where they go.”
Smith trains with Kelsey Ward at Ward Family Stables every week. Ward said she hopes the new horse will help Smith achieve more riding goals as well.
"She'll get to learn a lot of new things and hopefully be more competitive in the show world," Ward said. "She's awesome. And, she works very hard, and she wants to be good. She's a good little rider."
The Central Missouri Dream Factory is a branch of the national dream factory. It grants wishes for critically and chronically ill children—like Smith— in the area.