It was early evening, about eight or nine hours after the new colt had been born, and Tabitha and I were waiting at the barn for Dr. Friend’s arrival. This would be his fourth visit in the past three weeks–he had seen Jo’s Magic when she was born and on her second day of life, and then again just before she turned two weeks old. Today, he was coming to do a routine first-day exam of Brush Back and her new foal.

The new colt

Another bay foal with a white star–but this one’s only a couple of hours old.

The little pen where Jo and Hermione spent so much time is right at the front of the barn, and is the first thing farm visitors see as they get out of their cars. It’s a convenient place to keep horses when they need to be easily accessible, but when being outdoors is preferable to being stalled–and is perfect for turning out a mare for her first few days with a new foal. 

When Dr. Friend arrived, he walked straight over to the enclosure and regarded the mare and foal with a look of obvious concern. He glanced over to Tabitha and me and said that something was wrong, that the foal looked like it hadn’t gained any weight and that its small size was troubling. My heart dropped into my stomach. I had been quite pleased with the new colt’s size and appearance.

Tabitha was quicker to pick up on the misunderstanding. Here we were, looking in "