Alexus “Lex” Lasiter, 7, loves horses and receiving mail. So much so that her mother Wathena Sievert, on a whim, asked Travis Barker, a Florida artist that contributes to an online artifact website, if she could contract him to draw a picture of a horse to cheer her daughter on. Travis not only offered to create a picture for free (and mail it to Lex), but he opened a Facebook page, Horses for Lex, to invite other artists to follow suit.
It wasn’t long before the little girl – who has Cerebral Palsy, autism, seizures, heart trouble and a kidney condition – would receive over 200 drawings, paintings and sketches from across the world.
The effort to cheer Lex grew virally to become an online inspirational hang-out for others. Horses for Lex is a happy, Facebook page to follow. Visitors share drawings, photographs, videos and words of encouragement, yet experience great joy in return. Today, the Facebook page that opened last July, boasts over 5,450 followers.
Becky Ann Ross, owner of Alpha Boarding Complex in Riverview, Florida, was one such follower. As fate would have it, Ross owned a rescue horse named Snicker Doodle that had helped another little girl with Cerebral Palsy to win blue ribbons at the state fair. The former client had since outgrown interest in Snicker Doodle who worked exceptionally well with children that had special needs. Ross was hoping to introduce the horse to another child with a disability for a reciprocal relationship.
“I thought, you know, this is what I’m supposed to do,” Ross told TODAY. “She will be able to love him and he deserves it, and he will love her.” Ross wanted to know if Lex’s parents would like to own Snicker Doodle.
Interacting with a horse was anything but foreign to Lex, who at the age of 3 attended horse therapy, a form physical therapy that utilizes a horse to help individuals to balance and control muscles and movement. In fact, Lex’s interest in horses grew through her therapeutic experience.
“When this opportunity arose to get Snicker Doodle, we knew it had to be a God-send and after many prayers for guidance it was decided this was his plan and who were we to interfere with such a blessing,” states Wathena Sievert, Lex’s mother, on the Horses for Lex Facebook page. “We told Lex that a nice lady, Becky Ann Ross, had invited her to Florida to meet and ride Snicker Doodle, boy was she excited!”
In August, they journeyed to meet Barker to thank him for his dedication to Lex’s cause, and to meet Snicker Doodle at the Alpha Boarding Complex.
“We told her we would make the trip to Florida and she could ride the horse and see the ocean for the first time her life,” her parents report.
Upon arrival, “Miss Lex just stared. I could see the love in her eyes the moment she laid eyes on the horse,” said Sievert on the Facebook page. “It was at that moment that the love affair of a little girl and a horse began.” The moment is captured on
Lex, who had thought she was just getting a ride, was shocked to learn the horse was hers to keep. There was an instant connection with the 20-year-old.
“Why this horse is so special is every time that Lex would kind of wobble because she doesn’t have that lower body strength, that horse stopped instantly on its own, no one had to tell it… until she stopped wobbling and it would go again,” Barker told Today.
For more information:
To visit Lex’s Facebook page, visit Horses for Lex.
To learn about the advantage of horse therapy on individuals with Cerebral Palsy, visit Hippotherapy.
To learn about Cerebral Palsy, visit About Cerebral Palsy.
Correspondence with Withena Sievert through Facebook.
Hobson, Alex (August 14, 2014). “Horses for Lex: 7-year-old girl with Cerebral Palsy gets a big surprise.” ABC Action News.
McGlensey, Melissa (August 19, 2014). “Mom Asked for Pics Of Horses For Daughter With Disabilities. Bet She Didn’t Expect This Surprise.” Retrieved from Huffington Post.
Pawlowski, A. (August 12, 2014), “Horses for Lex: Sick girl who loves to ride is in for the ultimate surprise.” Retrieved from TODAY Parents.
Pawlowski, A. (August 15, 2014), “Horse for Lex: Kind strangers surprise ailing girl who loves to ride.” Retrieved from TODAY Parents.
Do you know of a research development that can improve the life of an individual with Cerebral Palsy? If so, share your scoop with TheCPBlog.org!
At TheCPBlog®, we strive to be the ultimate blog for everything Cerebral Palsy! Come join, follow and share.