Fiona Leviny with her mare Fig (left) and new foal Lottie, who was born with a leg defect.
Fiona Leviny with her mare Fig (left) and new foal Lottie, who was born with a leg defect. Adam Hourigan

Filly flies flag of hope

SHE only has to gaze at you briefly with her soft brown eyes and your heart will melt instantly.

Meet Lottie, the gorgeous young filly who at four weeks old is already displaying a tremendous amount of courage and character.

Born with carpal valgus, a common condition in thoroughbreds where the growth plate radius (bones) above the knee grow at an uneven rate, causing the leg to be crooked, Lottie underwent a surgical procedure known as a periosteal strip on Tuesday to help straighten her near-side (left) leg.

Doted upon as a miracle baby by her loving owner Fiona Leviny, little Lottie showed no signs of soreness yesterday when she was paid a special visit by The Daily Examiner.

Stretching and bounding playfully on her bandaged leg, Lottie made it clear that she has a bright future ahead of her.

And despite the dwindling expectations of her survival that hung over her before she was born, Lottie is living proof that miracles can happen.

During her pregnancy, Lottie's mother Fig suffered a traumatic shoulder injury while she was in the paddock.

Fearing Fig had broken her leg and desperate to save her and her unborn foal, Fiona spent weeks nursing the mare, which included fortnightly acupuncture, frequent walking and massages with arnica cream - all in between filming episodes of reality show The Renovators.

"I had people tell me she (Fig) would lose her foal and her owners at the time didn't expect her to pull through," Fiona said.

"They told me they would never have gone to so much trouble and when Fig pulled through they told me I could keep her.

"When Lottie was born our vet Alan Giles identified her as having a leg defect that would need to be corrected before she was four months old.

"He said surgery could fix it but obviously I was still concerned.

"On Tuesday Alan turned the paddock into a surgical ward and in less than two hours it was over and now Lottie will be perfectly fine."

Fiona hopes Lottie, who is by Clang out of a Thunder Gulch mare, can reproduce the talent of her family on the racetrack one day.

But before she will go into training, this chestnut filly will have her bandages removed in seven days and focus on enjoying her youth.


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