In 2010, I was busy preparing the publication of my first book on laminitis. From Australia to America and from Finland to South Africa, I found people willing to help me, out of the goodness of their heart. They provided me with beautiful photographic material and encouraged me to publish as good a book as possible, to help as many horses as possible.
Amongst them was a prominent traditional American farrier. To be on the safe side, I drew his attention to the fact that the starting point of the book was barefoot. “Does not matter to me,” he said, “even if my picture can help to cure only one horse extra, I am happy”. His positive and constructive reaction was in stark contrast to that of a renowned Dutch farrier. I crossed his path on an American farrier forum where I was looking for professionals who wanted to contribute to the book. As a Dutchman, as I am myself, he could of course read the texts on my website. Having quickly formed an image of me in this way, he hastened to warn all English-speaking forum members to stay far away from me. He gave me the predicate B.U.A. It took me some time to figure out what it stood for, but when I understood that this abbreviation means ‘Barefoot über alles’ (Barefoot above all), my heart beat faster. Can one wish for a better nickname? He had unwittingly given me a badge of honor, in fact.
Now, eight years later, I sometimes think back to this mean-spirited man. Strangely enough, his comment gave me the wind under my wings that I needed to continue my project. It resulted in a second book, translations in English and French and three associated, very popular websites. I am so pleased to have found out over the last few years that my efforts have made a genuine difference: I regularly receive thank you messages from horse owners who say that my books have made the difference between life and death for their horse. If one day the second, completely revised and extended edition comes out, I will send this farrier – who undoubtedly also only wants the very best for laminitic horses – a complimentary copy with a big stamp on it: “B.U.A. APPROVED”. As a thank you for the fact that his opposition ultimately contributed to many cured horses and ponies and many prevented cases of laminitis.