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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Seamus Brady Will Live On in Legend

by Fran Jurga | 28 July 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

A service for farrier Seamus Brady will be held on Saturday, August 1 at 10:30 a.m. at the Branchburg Funeral Home, 910 U.S.Highway 202 in South Branchburg, New Jersey. Calling hours will be Friday evening. Click here for details, or where to send flowers or leave a remembrance message.

Seamus Brady, center, at a celebration in his honor held in Wellington, Florida in March 2006. That's Canada's Larry Rumsby on the left and the USA's Joe Johnson on the right, both of whom have shod the international team horses for their countries, following in Seamus's footsteps. Twenty-six horseshoers from the show world assembled to toast Seamus that night. (Sandy Johnson photo)

Seamus Brady, right, received a plaque from his longtime trainee/helper Phil Breault (standing) at the Wellington event. Phil organized the evening. That's Connecticut/Florida show circuit specialist George Fitzgerald on the left.

I was in Dublin once, at the Irish Army Equitation School, touring with an American horseshoeing team. The young officer who was showing us around threw open the doors to the forge and as the sunlight flooded the space, he stood back and told me proudly, "This is where Seamus Brady learned the trade with John Boyne."

"That was before he went to America," he added as an afterthought.

He showed the same pride as would an Italian opening the door to the studio where Michaelangelo learned to paint. The fact that Doug Butler and Dave Duckett were standing next to me didn't seem to impress this rider at all.

"Do you see much of Seamus in America, then?" he asked, as if Americans were all on just one show circuit neighborhood.

New Jersey/Florida-based Seamus Brady, the dean of US show-jumper shoers and possibly the most well-known farrier in his native land of Ireland as well, died yesterday. He was just a few months shy of 78 years old.

The man needs no introduction in the farrier world. His name was a brand in itself, yet as far as I know, he never really had anything to sell except his services. His ideas traveled far and wide. But there is no Seamus Brady shoe, no Brady nail, no Brady pad, no Brady trademark or copyright or website. There are few articles or photographs, no books or dvds. I'm not sure that he ever joined any association except the informal show farriers group that gathered in Wellington, Florida on occasion. His only certification: his good name.

There's quite a legacy. I can think of no farrier who influenced shoeing of real-world English-type show and sport horses more. He defined "the circuit". For farriers, he practically invented the circuit. He may have influenced farriers on a professional level more than he influenced shoeing itself.

There have always been legends passed around the horse world about Seamus, great humorous tall tales about the Irish trickster who could weave great tales and present clients with the biggest invoices they'd ever seen. The legends preceded him around the world as he traveled with the US Equestrian Team to far-flung places like Seoul, Korea for the 1988 Olympics, where he kindly shared his experiences with Hoofcare & Lameness Journal, to out-of-context places like the Quarter Horse Congress, where we'd see him because he'd go to look at the new custom trucks.

I expect that Seamus will become the Paul Bunyan of American horseshoeing. He's earned it: If half the people had been his apprentices who claim to have been, he would have had to have traveled in a bus, not a truck, all these years, just to carry all his apprentices.

Every jumper show should fly its flag at half-mast this week. They couldn't have shown without his clever work on their horses and without the farriers he trained, inspired and called his friends.

Exit an icon. Cue the storytellers. Complete these sentences: "I remember the time..."
"I've always heard that Seamus Brady used to..."

See what I mean? Seamus lives. Pass it on. And on and on.

Click here
to read just such a "pass it on" tribute to Seamus's memory from one of his many clients over the years, six-time dressage Olympian Robert Dover. (http://doversworld.com/)


© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

2 comments:

Timothy said...

Fran,

What a loss to the horse world! He will be deeply missed and long remembered.

I have often though about what made Seamus such a phenomenon. Clearly his vast knowledge and skill were an enormous part of it, as was his considerable showmanship. But I think the warmth of his personality and his willingness to share his knowledge and experience were nearly as important. Anybody who worked with the man learned from him and came away better for the experience.

It's an interesting point you make about Seamus not selling anything except his own services, because when I was in the farrier supply business Seamus was a constant source of inspiration for new products. He was always showing up with a new shoe or pad or gadget that he was experimenting with and often times these experiments resulted in real advances in shoeing techniques.

Whether it was a new kind of tap that made installing studs easier, or a new dental acrylic for use as a therapeutic pad, or the latest wide-web shoe from Holland, chances are we saw it first in the back of Seamus's truck.

Very few people have had such a positive impact on the farrier profession as Seamus, and nobody else did it with such style!

Regards,

Tim Helck

Jason Knight said...

It is always sad when the world loses an amazing person, but there legacy will carry on in the people that they helped and mad a difference for.

Jason.
http://www.holcombefisher.com/