Dear Readers:

After two years, I've decided to end the Equine ER blog on TheHorse.com to focus on other projects. This is my last post, and I want to thank you for your readership and your comments.

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Of all the comments I've gotten from blog readers, the one that stands out the most was about losing a horse and the impact of "their (empty) stall in your heart." Here it is again:

In over forty years of horses in my life every day, and over twenty-five of them as my living, I learned that no matter how much business they are, they still work their way into our hearts. ... Unfortunately, like most people who have had long-term dealings with horses, mules or donkeys, I have suffered the loss of some special wonderful friends. Honestly, you can fill their stall in the barn again, but their stall in your heart forever remains empty. I suggest that when you lose an equine friend, remember the good times you had, but keep in mind there are so many more out there who will nuzzle you, if given half a chance, and are waiting their turn to brighten your life. 

I was also moved by the responses from readers to that post, found here.

I was hired by Eclipse Press, the publishing arm of Blood-Horse, to write the book Equine ER, starting in spring 2008. For a year, I followed around a crazy pack of equine vets at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. This blog started here while I was writing and reporting the book, documenting that experience, and stayed on after Equine ER came out, featuring original content and book excerpts. 

I'll continue to blog regularly on my own Equine ER site, and that blog will soon become part of leslieguttman.com.

Meanwhile, as many of you know, the World Equestrian Games recently finished here in Lexington. I met some amazing people covering the Games for The Horse (blogging) and for public radio. One of them was Cindy O'Reilly, one of only two women in the driving competition. Cindy was an underdog competitor for a number of reasons: She had only been training seriously for WEG for four years or so, unlike other competitors with decades of experience. She had an all-mare team, and numerous people thought that an all-girl team would prove too temperamental to train. Plus, Cindy's horses weren't your classic fancy sport horses; they were sturdy home-breds who had grown up together – Thoroughbred-Percheron crosses.

Anyway, Cindy set her mind four years ago on getting to the World Equestrian Games. She trained relentlessly. She created a book of pictures and articles about her and her horses, and looked at it every night, visualizing herself making it to WEG. And she eventually qualified to do so. I hope this doesn't sound sappy, but even though she came in 20th, she honestly was a winner for having made it there. She told me she hoped her story would inspire other underdogs. She said:

"It's so easy to let your dream fall out of your pocket. And then you can't even find where that dream has gone. You didn't even know you lost it. You need to find it and put it back in your pocket. It doesn't matter what people say, or what they tell you. If you think you can accomplish that dream, you can."

Here's to whatever your dreams are. All the best, Leslie Guttman

Postscript:

The archive of this blog will stay up for several weeks and then remain on TheHorse.com, accessible by clicking on the Blogs link in the main navigation. 

Thanks so much to everyone I've worked with at TheHorse.com on this blog: Stephanie Church, Christy West, Megan Arszman, Dawn Garner, as well as those who have moved on: Chad Mendell, Erin Ryder, and Kimberly Brown. Special thanks to Jackie Duke, editor of Eclipse Press, for hiring me to write Equine ER, as well as everyone at Blood-Horse who has worked so hard to make the book successful.