Tony Sanchez, official farrier of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for 45 years, died Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, of heart failure at a Galveston, Texas, area hospital. He was 84.
Sanchez, of Santa Fe, N.M., learned his trade while riding bulls on the rodeo circuit and earned fame among horse owners for his skill in horseshoeing, as well as his ability to cure lame horses with potions and treatments he developed.
He became an emissary for his craft, giving demonstrations to elementary school students and Boy Scouts even as he trained a new generation of farriers, imparting his skills to at least 25 pupils.
Sanchez took an interest in the horseshoeing trade after meeting top farriers such as Cocky La Blanc from Louisiana and Billy Williams from Waxahachie, Texas, recalls long-time friend George Gates, 85, of Santa Fe.
His skill earned him the title of official farrier for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 1970. A year later, he married Gloria Jean Nunez.
Over the years, Sanchez’s fame as a farrier grew and he developed his own remedies for lame horses, says daughter Nora Sanchez-Kapche. People would bring their horses from as far away as Oklahoma and Louisiana to have them treated by Sanchez, she says.
“As far as I was concerned, he was one of the best,” Gates adds.