But 35 years ago, when Irish veterinarian Alex Atock began his first job in regulatory veterinary medicine as a racing official, he would not have guessed that one day his lifelong affection for horses would impact how horse sports are conducted worldwide, and that his stalwart advocacy for their welfare would improve their treatment near and far.
In a career that encompassed organizations such as the FEI, World Horse Welfare, the Irish Turf Club and the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation, Alex Atock initiated programs and wrote policies still endorsed and followed by regulatory veterinarians and stewards around the world.
Now retired, he has published his professional memoir, “My Friend the Horse”, at a time when horse sports and racing are under both public and internal pressure to protect horses, while making sports more accessible or spectator-friendly.
Alex Atock assisted the FEI in facing problems like “rollkur” in dressage, cross-country jumping injury and death in eventing, and over-strenuous travel and competition schedules for showjumpers. His book voices his personal concerns about endurance in the Middle East, and lists some of the paradoxes facing the regulation of that sport.
In a day when so many have strong opinions on what constitutes equine welfare on the track or in sport, Alex Atock’s book pulls back the curtain to reveal how, when, and why decisions were made in the past to ensure that the horse is protected.
You can buy “My Friend the Horse” on Amazon and at other booksellers.
A sample chapter and book front matter are available from the publisher here: https://www.austinmacauley.com/book/my-friend-horse#bootstrap-fieldgroup-nav-item--sample-pdf