A/A SPOTLIGHT: Alex MacLeod




What is your day job?

I’m a veterinarian working at a specialty and emergency small animal hospital in Los Angeles.


How many years did you train for your day job?

To become a vet, you need 4 years of college to get your undergraduate degree and an additional 4 years of vet school. In between undergrad and vet school I took 2 years “off” and did the horses full time at Phillip Dutton’s yard for a year, then took some additional classes required for vet school and worked as a vet assistant for a year while competing 3 horses. While you can go straight into practice straight after vet school, I am specializing and am in the midst of training to become a radiologist - so I did a 1 year internship at a premier equine practice last year and am currently doing a specialty imaging internship. I am hoping to match with a radiology residency, which is an additional 3-4 years of training depending on the program.


How old are you?

I am 29! Although I like to say that I’m 27 because my 2 birthdays during the pandemic didn’t count.


Interesting tidbit about yourself?

I am half Spanish - my mom moved to the US from Barcelona when she was in her 20s.


How do you fit horses into your life?

I cram them in! Competing at this level takes a lot of time and planning to stay on top of training, fitness, and the competition schedule. I either ride before (waking up at 3:45) or after (getting home at 9:30) work, and I ride 5 days a week. I try to have someone else ride Jack 1 day a week to do some fitness work, and he gets 1 day off a week.


How many horses do you have?

I have 1 competition horse named Jack in California right now, and I have a 3 year old who I started this summer who is currently back in a field at my parents’ amazing farm in Virginia.


Breed?

Jack is an Irish Sport Horse, but I call him a warmblood mutt (albeit very well bred) because if you look in his passport he has a bit of everything - including Anglo Arab!


Age?

12


Discipline?

Eventing


Level?

Advanced/4*

Your biggest accomplishment in the ring?

Definitely winning the Galway 4*-L this fall!

Your biggest accomplishment in life?

I’m not sure I can point to any one thing at this point - I just keep setting goals and trying to point my feet in the direction I want to go, then work as hard as I can to get there! I’d say being able to compete at this level without compromising on my career goals is a big one for me right now.


Advice to other Adult Amateurs?

Be clear in your mind on what you want and realistic on what it takes to get there. If riding your horse for fun 3 days a week is what you need, that’s great! And if you are trying to compete your horse successfully, that’s great too! Both are fantastic goals but take varying amounts of time and energy away from the rest of your life.


Every time Jack and I are successful, I honestly find myself surprised and so grateful for everything and everyone in my life that has allowed me to juggle everything that I love. It takes a village - #1 is a special horse that wants to do the job, and Jack is the partner in crime I’ve been looking for my entire riding career. But it also takes an immense amount of financial and emotional support - from my family, especially my mom, who is with me every step of the way from her home in Virginia, to my horsey and non-horsey friends, to all the equestrian professionals that I am privileged enough to call friends. No one can do this alone, especially because doing it alone takes the fun out of it! And above all, as amateurs, we pour our hearts, bodies, and wallets into the horses because we love it.