ATA’s Cameron Partington launches appeal for much loved trainer, John Poots.

Published 16 August 2023

ATA’s Cameron Partington launches appeal for much loved trainer, John Poots.

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Those of us who work with our beloved thoroughbreds or with any horses for that matter are well aware of the inherent dangers that exist.

As is said “’it goes with the territory” and the 75,000 plus trainers, jockeys and stable hands employed in the Australian racing industry wouldn’t have it any other way.

They willingly ride and walk alongside peril every day without batting an eyelid.

Nor would the subject of this sad tale, John Poots 64 who with the utmost respect is a “small time “Rockhampton horse trainer.

Horse training is such a high-risk occupation that it is beyond the means of a huge majority of the “little players”, to afford prohibitive insurance coverage.

That is, if they could source insurance cover at all – that’s how dangerous the occupation is deemed by the insurance industry, and I speak from my own exclusion over 37 years as a trainer. 

Staff are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, but the trainers (employers) are not and have to try to arrange their own coverage, which is usually beyond their means or quite simply unavailable.

Sadly, Rockhampton trainer and accomplished all round horseman John Poots is the latest trainer to be seriously injured as a consequence of a horse related accident.

John, with his wife Louise beside his bedside throughout, has been a patient in Brisbane hospitals since July 12 with serious and multiple brain injuries.

Hospitals or rehabilitation units are likely to be homes for the lovable and popular racing couple for an extended period. 

What exactly happened that fateful Wednesday in July, at their Port Curtis property remains a mystery as nobody was witness to the accident.

John was riding a horse and when Louise discovered him, he was slumped on the ground with his hand raised.

Louise from the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital Neurological Ward, which specialises in brain injuries relayed the story this afternoon (Wednesday).

“I was only away five minutes at the feed shed and came back and saw the gate open and knew John must have been working a horse. I always ask him to wait until I am there, but the darling didn’t this time. I walked over to the paddock and in the distance alongside the track I saw a hand raised. As I raced over, I saw the riderless horse with the reins over its neck alongside our retirees (horses) in a yard. My heart slumped’’, Louise recalled.

“When I got to John, I knew something terrible had happened. He was conscious and incoherent and in a bad way. I whispered to him what year is it, and he said 1997. I knew then how serious it was”, Louise said.

John was rushed by ambulance to Rockhampton Hospital where he was diagnosed with severe brain bleeds and flown to the Royal Brisbane Hospital that night.

He underwent the first of a number of surgeries the next day to remove fluid from the brain and just on Tuesday (yesterday) had more surgery.  

Without going into the finer and very upsetting details, John Poots from Louise’s own words is in for” a very long road ahead”.

 It is a dark road leading into the unknown – unchartered and therefore daunting, especially so for Louise who consciously recognizes the gravity of the situation.

You and I can help Louise, who I must stress has not asked for assistance.

However, when I told her about this appeal launched by the Australian Trainers Association (ATA) through Cameron Partington, Tony Fenlon and myself she was overcome with emotion.

A brave lady, and a horse trainer herself she said – “Thank you so much. The stress of not knowing what the future holds is very daunting”.

The intricate and super competitive racing industry excels in many forums but none more so than “looking after their own”.

John Poots is blissfully unaware of what I believe is one of the ultimate compliments any human can have bestowed up them.

Believe me, without fear of exaggeration, the common repetitive thread that has come through from   my conversations with so many since John’s horrific accident a month ago I have kept til last” to share”.

‘’Ï have never heard anyone utter a bad word about John Poots”.

“John would not have an enemy in the world”.

“Pootsie is always the first to help anybody in need. He goes out of his way to help people”.

Now ladies and gentlemen it is our turn to reciprocate, so I urge you to be as generous as possible to help out John and Louise Poots. Donate to John & Louise here:

Tony McMahon: I speak from the heart about John Poots as we were once neighbours at Stanwell for many years. John was one of the first of a myriad of racing people to help Jean and I when our property and home and stables were devastated by floods there in 2013 which resulted in the loss of life of racehorses. The funds raised by the caring appeals helped restructure our lives. This appeal for John and Louise is far more needy.  

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