Two years ago, she was our first foal born that was Willy's baby.
We had stayed up all night and worried and fretted about this baby, even though we knew the mare, Robbie, was a good mother and had her babies easily.
But despite that knowledge, we also knew that sometimes things just plain go wrong with horses and foaling. So we hovered over the big bay mare, and were tickled to death when she had a big, long-legged sorrel filly.
The only thing wrong? No spots. Willy's first baby was pretty much a plain Jane, with only a big white face and her daddy's blue eyes.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
But we were still tickled pink. We immediately named her Mia, after her grandmother Tia, and the baby showed us from the first that she was something special.
Mia always liked people. She came up to us when we went out in the pasture, and nothing, and I mean nothing, bothered her. My friend halter broke Mia in a day, tying her up to a big eucalyptus tree.
After hitting the end of the lead rope, Mia cocked her hip and went to sleep, and that was the extent of her halter training. After that day, we could lead her anywhere, through anything, and she willingly followed.
Mia grew up with her two half brothers, Miles and Joker, and kept getting bigger and bigger. Miles was the biggest of the foals, he was huge. In fact, he got his name on his first day of life, because all he was was miles of legs.
When the three foals were a year old, Miles was sold. He went to Texas, but before he went there to live with a young lady, the buyer's mother kept him at her place near Modesto for a couple of weeks.
She fell in love with the big colt. She told us how nice he was, how much he tried to please her, and what an easygoing horse he was.
We already knew that, we had been around these three yearlings for a year already. All three of them were laid back, ready to please, and easy to work with.
Once Miles was gone, we hung on to the other two for a while. Then Joker was sold, and only Mia was left.
One of my friends who has horses at our place told me one day that she had tried to spook Mia away from the barn door. "Mia doesn't shoo," she said. We laughed, and agreed with her. Mia didn't understand what fright was, and she couldn't understand why in the world someone was waving their arms and yelling at her.
That became Mia's trademark: Mia doesn't shoo. Nothing bothered the big filly, and she kept growing.
The lady who had originally taken care of Miles for those weeks wanted Mia, but she wasn't sure about it. She already had a show horse, and she wanted to make sure she didn't scrimp on either horse.
But then she brought a friend out a few weeks ago to see Mia again. We took the big sorrel filly across the street to a sand pen, where Mia had never been, and let the lady watch her move.
Mia never batted an eye. When a car zoomed by on the road, Mia didn't react at all. She moved around the pen like a pro, and was easy to catch and tried to do everything we asked her to do.
The nice people left, and Mia went back to her pasture. My business partner and I discussed the fact that we would love one of those ladies to buy Mia, she would not just have a great home, but also a show home, which was a good way to get Willy's name out there.
The next day, my friend got a call. The lady wanted Mia. She came that night with cash, and Mia walked calmly into a big horse trailer and left our little ranch, heading for her new life.
Since then, we have gotten a few e-mails about how wonderful Mia is. How Mia learns quickly, and tries to please, and just doesn't have a mean bone in her body. We love to get the e-mails, it does our hearts good to know that Mia has the best home possible.
Her new owner is already planning for when Mia can be ridden by the owner's granddaughter, who is only 3 months old. So the future is secure for this sweet, honest filly who was Willy's first baby.
Oh, and the new owner also learned what we all knew about Mia: She doesn't shoo. It's just part of her personality, the part that makes her what she is.
Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at 209 385-2486 or email@example.com.