Always loved horses. Born 1926 near Kilwinning Robbie qualified MRCVS at Glasgow Vet School in 1950.

In 2010 the University of Glasgow awarded Robert Beck MRCVS the honorary degree of Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery  (letters BVM&S)

. He served short terms as assistant in practices in Penzance, the Isle of Wight, Lockerbie, and Cumbria. He was four years as assistant to the local vet, Edward Prentice, in Kirkcudbright before moving to Auchinleck in Ayrshire.  In Auchinleck he was veterinary inspector, working underground, for the last set of working pit ponies in Ayrshire, Highland Pony Stallions.

He set up practice in Tiree in 1959 and was soon into the local scene, founding the Tiree Pipe Band and keeping his hand in at railway modelling, another of his passions. He was also a keen gardener
In his practice he achieved major success making Tiree the first discrete area in the world to be bovine brucellosis free. 
Then he was approached by Dr Alastair Fraser, Crofters Commissioner for the area, for help in saving the native ponies on Eriskay. Taking up the challenge Robbie travelled to Eriskay, met Father Calum and our organisation was born.
Robbie left Tiree in 1974 to lecture in Animal Husbandry and Preventive Medicine at the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies where he introduced the Eriskay Pony to a wider audience. He retired in 1990.
1992 saw the publishing of his definitive book of the Eriskay Pony - “Scotland’s Native Horse – its history, breeding and survival “. 
Back on Tiree, as holder of the Senior & Teacher’s certificates of the Institute of Piping, Robbie was busy teaching piping. He was justly proud that pupils of his have gone on to play professionally with two well known groups – Skipinish and Skerryvore.
But it is for his work with the Eriskay Ponies that the Society salutes him as its foremost Trustee and Honorary President. His work has truly ensured the survival of the breed.

Update & Restatement of intent by Robert Beck on the occasion of the Society’s Silver Jubilee.

“The Association for the Preservation and Development of the Eriskay Pony was founded in Eriskay in 1972 to save the breed from extinction. In spite of starting with only twenty females and one stallion this has been achieved and there are now Eriskay Ponies on many of the islands.
When bred away from their natural harsh environment the ponies change. Like other peoples of Europe who have saved their native ponies, the Society believes that the base of all breeding of these distinctive animals has to be in its natural habitat in the Outer Hebrides and that the island people to whom the breed belongs should be the ultimate beneficiaries of the Society’s efforts.”