International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame member David Gulley, FWCF, from Leicestershire, England, passed away, according to the British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association (BFBA).

“A past president and lifelong supporter of the BFBA,” the BFBA posted to its Facebook page, “he was highly regarded and much loved, and leaves a wonderful legacy.”

Although Gulley’s farrier career formally began with training in the Royal Army School of Veterinary Farriery, the interest started early.

“As a small boy, David Gulley followed the local farrier about on Dartmoor Devon, his home,” Judy Gulley, David’s wife, wrote for American Farriers Journal in 1982. “The young man longed to be a farrier.”

Despite the heightened interest, the hoof-care business in 1954 was stagnant and the prospect for growth was dim.

“David’s mother took him around to all the local farriers, but none wanted to take on an apprentice,” Judy Gulley wrote. “They worried that they would lose what little business they had to an apprentice when the training period was over.”

While he was disappointed, Gulley turned his attention to alternatives with ties to farriery in blacksmithing, welding and fabrication. After apprenticing for 4 years in Wales, he entered National Service — the British equivalent of the draft — in the Royal British Legion. The National Service began significantly reducing the number of men entering the military in 1957. Gulley was among the last groups accepted in 1960. His service allowed him to realize his dream of becoming a farrier.

“In the first weeks of military training, David’s camp was visited by an officer of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, who was seeking recruits for regular soldering,” Judy Gulley wrote. “David realized that this was a way to get his farriery training and, on the promise of being put in the forge, he signed on for 22 years.”

After serving 9 years, Gulley purchased his discharge and established his forge in a rented stable known as Thorpe Satchville in Leicestershire. It was there that he trained dozens of apprentices such as Joe Bryant, Cecil Swan, his son Michael and fellow International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame member Gary Darlow.

“A successful farriery business like David Gulley’s is built not only on obvious shoeing skills but also on the man’s personal integrity and interest in the horses that pass through his forge,” Judy Gulley wrote. “Apprentices who are lucky enough to service their terms at Thorpe Satchville get a very thorough training. Their 4 years there are full of learning about farriery, plus additional training in corrective shoeing and lectures on veterinary matters. Apprenticeships also participate in local shoeing competitions.”

Gulley himself was no stranger to competition. He represented England on four winning teams in international contests. He won countless individual honors, as well.

He earned the Fellowship of the Worshipful Company of Farriers and served as president of the BFBA. He was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame in 1996. He was a founding member of the European Federation of Farriers Associations and served as its president from 2008-2010 and was inducted into its hall of fame. He received The Farriers Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

“Incredible man in so many ways,” says Nigel Fennell, FWCF. “[He was] the greatest distinguished ambassador to and for the trade this past century, for sure.”

Listen to theLockdown Farriery Podcastepisode below to learn more about David Gulley and his career.