Horse-mad tot wins way to fitness

LITTLE Milly Buchanan's parents have reason to be proud.Their daughter was only 12 weeks old when she was given two weeks to live and against all the odds pulled through to make an amazing recovery.

By Jo Macdonald

LITTLE Milly Buchanan's parents have reason to be proud.

Their daughter was only 12 weeks old when she was given two weeks to live and against all the odds pulled through to make an amazing recovery.

And now she has surprised them again, winning 12 rosettes and a silver medal with her brother Alan, aged six, at her first horse show.

The achievement comes only three weeks after starting to ride, and three weeks before she undergoes major heart surgery.

Today, as three-year-old Milly sits atop her Shetland pony Silver and proudly shows off her collection of rosettes, she seems unaware of just how special her mum and dad, Teresa and Wade, think she is.

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"She had an operation when she was 12 weeks old – that's when we were told that she had two weeks to live," explained Mrs Buchanan.

"They said it was 50-50 as to whether she'd get through the surgery, especially as she weighed only 7lbs. But she pulled through that so quickly and has gone from strength to strength."

"Right from when she was a baby she's been horse mad," Mrs Buchanan added.

"She's always going on about them so we thought it would be buy her a pony. She'd done pony rides before but only the ones where you pay 50p to ride up and down a few yards so she's only been riding properly for three weeks.

"We weren't going to take her to the show because she's having major heart surgery on September 2 but then we thought we'd let her have a go because of that, as she's not going to be able to ride for about two months afterwards.

"In the end we gave her the choice and she wanted to do it. She went and came back with 12 rosettes and a silver medal."

Milly received placings in a number of classes at the show held in Westerfield, near Ipswich, but it doesn't matter to her if they're second or sixth place prizes, it is clear that she loves them all.

"She's absolutely over the moon," said Mrs Buchanan, from the family's home in Felixstowe Road, Nacton.

"She's been running around with her medal round her neck and showing her rosettes to everyone.

"She doesn't speak much and is going to a therapist but you can tell by her eyes that she's so happy."

The next big event in Milly's life will be the operation at Guy's Hospital, in London, to close the multiple holes on her heart and remove a band from round an artery to her heart.

It is a big thing for someone so young to go through but Mr and Mrs Buchanan are confident that their daughter will be back riding Silver and playing with Alan as soon as possible.

"We're not as worried as the first time round because she's so strong and we know she can cope with anything," said Mrs Buchanan.

"Last time they said she'd be in intensive care for 48 hours but she was back on the ward within 12. That was when she was really tiny and she came through that really well.

"I'm sure she'll get better fast, especially when she knows she's got Silver to come back to. He is her pride and joy."

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