VETERINARY Surgeon Howard Whelan will retire at the end of March, drawing to a close an outstanding career spanning a staggering 53 years, tirelessly dedicated to equine veterinary science and the equine sector. A ‘maverick’ and ‘no nonsense, practical’ vet in his own right, he has left an indelible mark on his equine colleagues, clients and friends. He has brought charisma, wit and humour to his work, the likes of which we may not see again. Without a doubt, his extensive veterinary expertise has been second to none, possessing a skilful eye for detail and an immense knowledge, coupled with instinct that has proved invaluable down the years whilst actioning his clinical work.
In 1967, Howard graduated from Trinity College Dublin and began his career at Noel Ferguson’s practice at the Old Cross in Newtownards. Further progression saw Howard practise as a vet at ‘Whelan, Muskett and Thompson’ operating on the Movilla Road and then as a partner at Jubilee Veterinary Centre, Newtownards.
Having a particular interest in equines, Howard has practised from his yard in the townland of Ringneill in Comber for several years, specialising in the field of equine veterinary science. Howard has acted as a vet for several decades at both Down Royal and Downpatrick racecourses. Howard has lent his expertise over the years to adjudicate on the veterinary panel at Tattersalls and Goffs Sales. In the past, he has held the post of Chairman of the Association of the Irish Racecourse Veterinary Surgeons, in addition to being one of its founding members. He has also sat on the veterinary panel at Tattersalls and Punchestown International three-day events.
Previously, he has acted in the capacity of FEI Veterinary delegate at both Necarne and Balmoral Show spanning a period of 30 years. He has acted in the capacity of FEI Veterinary delegate and Veterinary President at the Royal Dublin Show.
Further afield, his FEI commitments have included acting as the Veterinary Delegate at the European Jumping Championships in Belgium. Over the last few years, he has lent his experience on the board of the Equine Council for Northern Ireland, where he has held the post of Vice Chairman.
Howard is currently a joint partner at Ringneill Equine Clinic, Comber, alongside partner vet Christopher Akkari.
Following Howard’s retirement, Chris will continue on as the main vet at Ringneill and will continue to operate the practice at the same location on the Ringneill Road in Comber, Co. Down.
With retirement looming, Howard will continue to follow the racing scene with fervour and looks forward to breeding Thoroughbreds and managing his yard of youngstock. Downtime will also allow him to spend more time gardening and to continue his interest in ornithology.
We wish Howard the very best during his retirement and we expect to see him enjoying racing and other equestrian sports at his leisure.