It's just a small thing, but it's oh, so important.
That's my opinion, anyway, and you know what that's worth.
After all of our foals were born this year, we were through. We had a good crop of babies, lots of spots on big, healthy young horses.
Then we found out that Mary was pregnant.
This little brown mare is 22 years old, and we only bred her to Willy because she wouldn't get bred to another horse that my friend had picked to be the daddy of Mary's last baby.
After three years and thousands of dollars, my friend gave up. She bred Mary to Willy, and that was that.
Mary never looked bred, and we just assumed that she was too old to have a baby, even though she looks like a horse half her age.
Then, just before doing an operation that she needed, we discovered that Mary was pregnant. She was due in only a couple of weeks, and we put on our worry hats.
No one was more worried than my friend, Mary's original owner. She has owned Mary for almost 20 years, and she loves that little horse like most people love their kids.
I love Mary too, because I know what the brown mare can do. She's hecka fun to ride, and just looking at her cute little self can make me smile even when I'm down in the dumps. Mary is my anti-depressant.
So we waited. And waited. Mary had no signs of foaling, and our anxiety level went through the roof.
I thought my friend was going to have a stroke, she was so worried. Whenever she talked about Mary, her voice got high and screechy, and she brought up everything that could go wrong.
Finally, almost a year after we had bred her, Mary started showing signs that she might be close to foaling.
So my friend camped out. Her aunt was visiting, and they sat up with the little mare, making sure that someone would be with Mary when she foaled.
My friend stayed up all night one night, and Mary was in agony. She had contractions, and she pinched her nose up, and walked circles.
But there was no baby that night.
The next day, we got everything ready for the little horse to foal. New shavings, blankets and cots in the barn, and lots of snacks.
Then my friend went to town to see her son and do some errands, and I went to another friend's house to visit for just a bit.
When my friend got back, in the middle of a cloudy Sunday afternoon, she found that little thing that means so much to us.
Mary had foaled.
We were so worried about that mare, and she fooled all of us and foaled by herself, in the pasture with one of Willy's yearlings.
The baby is perfect. She is a clone of Mary, looks nothing like Willy, and makes my friend smile constantly.
We are both happy, and proud. Mary is a great mom, constantly talking to her tiny filly, and making sure the only people that are allowed around the baby are people she knows and trusts.
Mary's baby might not be the greatest baby ever born, but to us, she's perfect. She's Lexi's sister, and this baby will never, ever go anywhere. She is ours forever.
I loved Lexi with all my heart. I still hear about her, and see her, and know that the cutest little red filly ever born has the perfect home.
And now we have another perfect filly. Little and brown and cute and packed full of good cowhorse breeding, we can't wait for her to grow up.
And believe me, we are going to watch this baby grow up, and we'll enjoy doing it. She's Mary's miracle, and now she's our miracle too.
Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org