Two jockeys suffered serious mounting yard injuries this week

Scott Mcglynn
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Two jockeys suffered serious mounting yard injuries this week

We were reminded how dangerous this sport can be this week, with two severe injuries to jockeys.

News Insights

  • Gatton's card abandoned on Wednesday
  • Emily Pomfrett suffers massive internal injuries
  • Stawell incident on Friday
  • Sarah Field undergoes surgery

Injuries are part and parcel of any sport, but serious ones are rare. Horse racing has had a bad run this week with a pair of apprentices suffering mounting yard injuries requiring hospitalisation. It is a reminder of how dangerous this sport can be. 

There are very few jobs in any sector on any continent where an ambulance follows you around all day. That is the life of a jockey in a sport that is as dangerous as any. The injuries this week should serve as a reminder to those who criticise jockeys on social media for a ride that they feel has lost their money, just what they put on the line every day in pursuing our entertainment. 

Emily Pomfrett

The Gatton card had to be abandoned after this accident as Wanta Willow reared in the mounting yard, throwing Pomfrett to the ground before landing on top of the 34-year-old. Pomfrett was airlifted to the hospital with a catalogue of injuries and was placed in an induced coma.

The reports since have been more positive. What had started as one of the most serious incidents we have seen on a racetrack in recent years will hopefully have no long-term effects. Pomfrett has woken up and squeezed the hand of her partner. While there is a long way to go, given the internal injuries she suffered, there are no breaks or damage to her spinal cord, which will be a massive relief for all concerned.

Pomfrett only had her first ride in July 2023 but has quickly got a reputation as a decent rider. Outside of riding in races as an acupuncturist, she is around horses in her day-to-day life.

Sarah Field

On Friday, Stawell saw Sarah Field rushed to hospital after a mounting yard incident ahead of race four on the card. Lewandowski unshipped her before the race and stamped on her leg to add injury to the insult.

On Saturday morning, Field underwent surgery for multiple fractures in her leg. The 25-year-old has not been a hoop for long, taking her first ride in July 2023 like Pomfrett. She has had a bit of success in the early stages of her career, including a win in the Burrumbeet Cup on New Year's Day. 

Minimising the risks

These incidents always raise questions about how things could have been done differently to prevent them from happening again. The problem is that horses, by their very nature, are flighty creatures and are prone to getting spooked by nothing.

There have been many improvements in recent years to make the racecourse as safe as possible for the participants, both equine and human. While they are hard to witness, accidents will always be part and parcel of any sport - it is just a matter of minimising the risks as best as possible to reduce the severity of injuries.

A horse landing on top of a human can be catastrophic, but even with all the work done with these animals, there is still no way of knowing what could happen. Thankfully, neither of these accidents will have a worse ending. Still, it should remind us that this can be a dangerous sport and perhaps to think twice before we make a snap comment on social media the next time we back a loser after what we consider a 'bad' ride.

Pomfrett and Field are apprentice jockeys with only six months each in race action. They are tough accidents for young hoops, but we can only hope it is not enough to put either off returning to the track, as they have proven capable of riding winners.