KEARNEY — Known throughout the region for his skills as a veterinarian and throughout the nation as a master horse breeder, James R. “Jim Bob” Long of Kearney passed away Saturday, July 27.
Long was the builder and longtime operator of Long Veterinary Clinic, located at 19615 Missouri Highway 92. He opened the practice in 1974 and operated it until selling it to current owner, Dr. David Leighr, in the early 2000s.
Long also built Long Equine Center in Kearney in 1986, where he fulfilled his passion of breeding horses for more than 30 years. At the Equine Center, Long stood outside stallions and bred approximately 80 mares per year.
Leighr, who helped Long breed mares while working with Long from March of 2003 to January of 2007 before purchasing the clinic, said Long’s passion for Quarter Horses and knowledge in the field was unmatched, calling his skills “of the highest caliber.”
“Dr. Long and I bred a lot of mares together. … He taught me everything I know about horse reproduction, collection of stallions and shipping of semen,” he said. “I owe him a great deal as far as knowledge. He was the best horse vet I’ve ever worked with.”
Long was a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners and the Missouri Veterinary Association.
“He was really involved in the Quarter Horse Association. … We stood here a lot of really nice stallions and bred a lot of mares to those stallions and collected and shipped semen all over the country,” said Leighr. “I would probably do in one day here, when I came to this clinic, with horses more than I would do in an entire year elsewhere. He was a phenomenal horse veterinarian.”
City Administrator Jim Eldridge said Long was a prominent and upstanding member of the community. Long would give demonstrations and presentations to equine interest groups and was often a presenter at local school career days. In addition, Long was a member of Northern Hills Baptist Church and served on the board and loan committee of Kearney Commercial Bank for 43 years.
“His skills as a horse expert put him in an elite class of folks. He was known all of the region here, but probably all over the nation including by some folks many others know,” Eldridge said referring Long’s horse breeding for national celebrities. “Everybody knows him and everybody depended on him for their pets and livestock.”