We watched her take her first breath and steps.
Those long gangly legs wobbling one hoof in front of the other.
She became like a seasoned cocky having lived through decades of floods.
She mustered cattle through metres of water, in those prolonged wet years, never stopping until the job was done.
And that chestnut stock horse with the big heart always made sure her rider came home, even if those flooded waters nearly carried her away.
She patiently taught my children how to ride, although it was her way or the highway.
And her eyes were always too big for her belly, especially when there was a loaf of bread lying around.
But as the sun sets on another season, and after 31 years, we say farewell to Scarlett, who my daughter Maizey describes as the "bravest and best horse we know".
While we miss our Scarlett, her death, after some of the events of the past year got me wondering what if her death wasn't due to natural causes? How things would have been different if she had Hendra virus, or worse.
In my home-town region we were right in the thick of the industry halting Varroa mite outbreak.
Like most outbreaks, it came in hard and fast, like a tsunami, leaving devastation in its wake.
Varroa left an aftermath of millions of dead bees, euthanised because of one tiny pest. In just a blink of an eye, a producer's whole life was changed.
They went from a generational beekeepers, supporting several families, to not knowing when their next pay cheque would come in.
While a hive of bees is not the same as the death of a horse, these people invested their blood, sweat and tears into their livestock, like all farmers.
Biosecurity has no doubt been one of the biggest issues this year. And we seem to keep falling short.
Instead of being proactive and getting ahead of the outbreaks, our governments are always reactionary.
And this year we saw how quickly Varroa mite could decimate an industry.
This year we also saw red imported fire ants find their way into northern NSW for the first time.
And let's not get started on the electronic identification tags for sheep and goats.
When it comes to announcing a new sports ground in Sydney, every politician and their auntie is on the oval posing for the cameras.
But when it comes to providing information about government decisions that impact primary producers' farming operations, there is just radio silence.
Undoubtedly one of the biggest agricultural issues this year is the mandatory national roll-out of eID for sheep and goats - and The Land has been at the forefront on the issue.
We first broke the news that NSW had agreed to the national roll out of the scheme in June 2022.
And when the government was not forthcoming about information about how this would impact producers, we kept the conversation alive through weekly coverage informing producers.
At saleyards, producers would quote back stories saying everything they knew about the scheme was what they read in The Land.
We also slowly created change in how the scheme was delivered.
As farmers became more informed through our coverage, it was clear there was opposition, especially for rangeland goat producers who were concerned about animal welfare, as well as work health and safety issues.
After pressure through our coverage, former NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders made a backflip on exemptions for the scheme just before Christmas 2022.
When the government failed to announce funding, we called on them to cough up the coffers, which they did a month later. A news story doesn't end with one story about an issue.
Sometimes it can be a series of weekly or monthly stories that inform readers, give them a voice and hold governments to account for their actions that impact on everyday Australians.
And it will be everyday Australians, not just farmers, that will be be impacted by these increasing threats.
This could be a skyrocketing bill at the supermarket checkout for Betty in Blacktown.
This could be a COVID-style lock down at the border for Paula from Palm Beach, Qld, stopping her from bringing a rogue pot plant to NSW's Pottsville.
This could also mean taxpayer-funded campaigns like 'bin your thongs' leaving Bali over a threat from foot and mouth disease for Nigel from Newcastle.
What will it take to get the message across before it's too late?
Despite this, being a voice for the bush and asking the hard questions of our political and industry representatives is one helluva career.
When you turn up to a job and someone tells you they love The Land, and then they show you a story of their parents who appeared in the paper in 1964, its certainly a proud moment.
And you know you've done something right when a reader in her 80s tells you at a NSW Farmers' conference that she waits for our 7am newsletter to get her online daily news updates.
The team at The Land, will make sure we continue to ask the hard questions because while politicians come and go we are still here to hold governments to account.
Back home, while Scarlett's death didn't make the front page of the paper, it was undoubtedly the biggest memory of my family's 2023.
She wasn't just the horse.
It was every memory linked to Scarlett from my daughter riding her for the first time to the shrill of her excitement years later as she notched up more speed as the main farm hand while mustering. Those memories are forever etched in our family history.
We need to all work together to ensure biosecurity protection is a top priority for our future.
We don't want poor decisions to be remembered as our history.