Alex Atock was born in Dublin in 1932 and graduated from the Veterinary College of Ireland in 1958. His love for all things equine commenced as a small child and continued throughout his life. Following some years in general veterinary practice in Ireland and England and resulting from his interest in racing.
Following an early retirement from the FEI, he moved on to the United Arab Emirates on his appointment as veterinary officer and consultant to the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation, and finally to the British-based equine charity, World Horse Welfare, responsible for its international training programmes in developing countries. He has an interest in facilitating the international movement of horses, doping and the control of medication in equestrian sport. He was past secretary/treasurer of the World Equine Veterinary Association. He and his wife, Sherley, have three grown-up children and live in Herefordshire.
About the Book:
This book will take the reader through his veterinary life, from his initial years in general practice, to veterinary officer of the Irish Turf Club, head of the Veterinary Department of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), consultant to the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation, and, finally, consultant to World Horse Welfare. The latter took him from the elite world of thoroughbred horse racing and international equestrian sport to assisting underprivileged working equines and their owners in developing countries.
Throughout his time with the FEI, Alex worked closely with the European Union and was actively involved with the conception of FEI relations with World Horse Welfare, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and the International Federation of Racing Authorities.
Praise for My Friend the Horse
“I have read the book cover to cover and enjoyed it immensely. Many of the characters and events he refers to touched my journey as well, particularly that Alex has connections to Herefordshire. The book is informative and gives a good insight to the workings of organisations we are all connected to.” – 5* Review
“To say that I was impressed would be a gross understatement. I was totally gobsmacked. How on earth did you manage to write such a marvellous book. Your details, the brilliance of the writing, the memories of the people with whom you met and worked with down through the years is just incredible. Above all, of course, is the way you show your love and respect for the horse which comes through with total clarity. You should be so proud but unfortunately, I cannot properly clarify the brilliance you possess. If you were a film star you would be home and dry for an Oscar.” – 5* review
“[…]It is not an overstatement to say that Alex Atock is a man who has contributed to the golden thread of horse sport in many different and remarkable ways. Thankfully, he has also documented the extraordinary times within which he has lived and worked; perhaps the most tumultuous period in equine history. As a witness to the direction that the thread of horse sport has taken, Alex shares with us in his book many lenses and perspectives from all over the world. I greatly enjoyed reading the journey of Alex’s family and of Alex himself, and seeing through his eyes the good in many horses, and even more people. The chapters of this book are alive with descriptions of great people who played a part in making horse sport what it is today. We are indebted to Alex for committing to paper descriptions of the traditions and lifestyles that form the foundations of values that we should honour and celebrate far into the future. Those values are the essence of the fibres that will ensure the golden thread of horse sport endures into the future. Thank you, Alex.” – 5* Review, H.R.H. Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, President of FEI 2006-2014
“The horse is so close to Alex Atock’s heart it is not surprising his book is written with passion, humour and at times anger. […] This book is a must for equine professionals and those who love horses and are interested in their welfare.” – 5* review
“This book belies its cover, which is a little jocund perhaps, since within its pages lie gems of horsemanship and a man’s life. The countries this book runs through as Alex Atock performs his duties as veterinarian and the stories he relates are a marvel, he has an eye for detail and doesn’t forget much either. The book is peppered with names distinguished and otherwise of those who have appeared over the years in many disciplines of horsemanship, dressage, racing, carriage driving, show jumping you name it, Alex Atock has met them, from Royalty to the grooms and treats them all in his own modest inimitable way. It’s a fascinating book, anyone with a heart to horse and wishing to expand their knowledge of its international implications, this is the one for you.” – 5* Review
“Atock’s professional memoir, My Friend the Horse, is published 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. Many matters related to medication and welfare of horses remain to be resolved, and Atock’s insight into how some current issues began or were addressed in the past is important for the record of sport. Equally compelling are his views and experiences in the monitoring and control of equine disease, which affects how, when and if racing and competition horses can move between countries and, eventually, be allowed to return home. This charmingly-offhanded account of equestrian sport history through the eyes of an advocacy-minded veterinarian probably understates the impact of decisions made and actions taken on his watch […] In a day when so many have strong opinions on what constitutes equine welfare on the track or in sport, this book pulls back the curtain to reveal how, when, and why decisions were made in the past to ensure that the horse is protected. “The regulators of the sport can never be complacent,” Atock wrote in 1994. “The root metaphor must be the symbiotic unity of man and horse, mutually interdependent, rising to heights which neither could achieve alone.” – 5* Review
My Friend the Horse by Alex Atock is published by Austin Macauley and is available on Austinmacauley.com, Amazon and all good booksellers.
Paperback- ISBN 9781786937933 RRP: £10.99 RRP: $16.95
Kindle – ISBN 9781786937957 RRP: £3.50 RRP: $7.95