By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Wendy Long and husband Steve Nemetz are the proud owners of three retired Hastings horses that they board in South Langley and ride 3-5 times a week.
One of them – 18-year-old Laddie – is described by Wendy as “the sweetest little guy … he wouldn’t hurt a fly”.
Strange how these things happen: ironically, it was a fly that resulted in Wendy suffering two breaks in her left wrist last week while she was bandaging Laddie’s hoof to assist in the healing of a wound the horse had experienced with a nail five days earlier.
“I had the hoof leaning against my thigh and was bandaging when Laddie shook off a fly and sent me teetering backwards,” she says. “I’ve been bucked off, stepped on, kicked and bitten but never injured outside of a few bumps and bruises.”
Laddie’s barn mates today are OT and Notes and Quotes, horses she and Steve once owned or had a part in owning at Hastings. “We loved them so much we just couldn’t let go of them,” Wendy says. “They’re three oldtimers who are part of our family.”
The name Wendy Long rang out loudly throughout the halls of the Vancouver Convention Centre on the night of June 9, 2016 when she was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame as the first ever female in the Media Category. It was in recognition of her distinguished coverage of seven Olympic Games and many other international sporting events for the Vancouver Sun, where she started as a cub reporter in 1980. Wendy also authored the 1995 book ‘Celebrating Excellence: Canadian Women Athletes’ and worked with Haley Wickenheiser on ‘Gold Medal Day’ that covered the Canadian women’s hockey gold medal win at the 2010 Olympics.
She and her brother fell in love with horses as kids when they would cash in pop bottles and cans and accompany their mother and father to Hastings on Friday nights. “Dad just liked to look at the scenery and people-watch but Mom was a $2.00 Place bettor. When we gathered enough money, we’d give it to her for a Place bet. It was great fun. We grew up watching CBC Television on Saturday afternoon when they carried stake races from Hastings.”
Wendy and Steve are still “watching” races, live and in person, as they travel the world over. But their home base will always be Hastings.