The international farriery community has lost a giant in its community.
“It is with deepest sadness that we announce the passing of Mr. Douglas Bradbury, M.B.E., F.W.C.F.,” according to the post. “Doug died peacefully on Monday, 30th March, 10:10 a.m. at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital.”
Bradbury was a highly decorated farrier. He was a master farrier of the Worshipful Company of Farriers and was distinguished with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2018.
He earned the highest certifications in the field, trained 15 apprentices, mentored many through to examination. He was a senior examiner and examined for 28 years. He innovated traveling farriery by going to farms and riding schools. He founded the U.K. Horseshoeing Museum in 2002 after his retirement and continued to make educational presentations throughout the U.K.
“I started in the pits — it just doesn’t seem real to me,” Bradbury told the Derbyshire Times after his M.B.E. was announced. It is completely out of the blue. “I am over the moon — I have not come back to earth yet.”
When Bradbury says he started in the pits, he’s not exaggerating. He began working in the pits straight from school at the age of 15. While there, he worked in the blacksmith shop and tended to the ponies. He left the pit around 1967 and started his own farriery business and forge in Clay Cross. He joined the livery company in 1988 and became a Fellow with the Worshipful Company of Farriers in 1995.
The international farrier community responded outpouring of condolences and sadness.
“Doug spent his life helping and motivating young farriers including myself to be better at their trade,” according to a post from Grant Moon, a member of the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame. “I have many happy memories of the times we spent working together. A legend’s anvil has gone silent today.”
Salley, S.C., farrier Dianne Lemmon recalls Bradbury’s love of family and farriery.
“I feel blessed to call Mr. Bradbury one of my mentors,” she writes. “I still value the time I spent with him and his family back in 1987 when he hosted me as part of the American Farrier’s Association Cultural Exchange Program. It was obvious that the two things he loved the most were his family and his profession. He loved sharing those passions.”
Craig Trnka, another member of the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame, saluted what Bradbury gave and meant to the industry.
“His enthusiasm and contribution to the farrier trade were second to none,” wrote the founder and chief executive officer of the World Championship Blacksmiths. “He was a great man.”
Sarah Logie, a fellow of the WCF based in Inverness, Scotland, wrote, “A true legend and kind soul has left us. I’m grateful that I got to enjoy his company and benefit from his wisdom. I’ll never forget you Doug.”
American Farriers Journal had the privilege of visiting with Bradbury at the U.K. Horseshoeing Museum. He shared how British Army farriers made shoes in World War I and how the army field forge was used. Watch the videos below, and view our photo gallery of the museum here.