Seven hour operation can’t keep Ray Green down

By Barry Lichter

Debbie Green always knew her husband Ray was tough.

But when the phone rang this morning and it was the hopsital nurse telling her Ray had woken up after a seven hour operation last evening, she was reminded of the resilience of horse people.

“I could hear Ray asking for his own phone so he could call the boys at the stable and tell them what to do for the day.”

Green, who just two weeks ago was the toast of the harness world after winning back-to-back New Zealand Trotting Cups with Copy That, was kicked by a young filly yesterday while undoing the clip on her cover.

Stable junior Monika Ranger saw the incident and rushed over to Green who was on the ground in obvious pain clutching at his stomach.

Green, 77, at first resisted being taken to hospital, saying he’d be OK and would just sit for five minutes in the tea room.

But it soon became obvious Green wasn’t going to recover without help and an ambulance was called to take him to Middlemore Hospital.

Surgeons who operated on Green told Debbie the kick “made a hell of a mess” with considerable bleeding from two main veins which were “smashed”. Removing the damaged sections and re-attaching them to his colon and bowel proved a lengthy process.

“I told the surgeon he was tough but he said it doesn’t matter how tough people are when you open them up. He says there’s still a chance of infection and it will take months to heal properly.

“But Ray’s attitude is very positive and he told me today it didn’t seem that bad.”

Remarkably, Green doesn’t bear any malice to the filly who had just come back in from a spell after being broken in.

“Ray said it’s just a young horse and they don’t know what they’re doing. But apparently the same filly had kicked out at Zac (Butcher) a few days earlier.”

Debbie Green said she’d been overwhelmed by the messages of support for Ray - her phone had been ringing non-stop.

Lincoln Farms’ owner John Street sat with Green and Ranger for several hours in the hospital waiting room yesterday afternoon where she was also surprised by a visit from Ben Jeffcoat, son of Pukekohe thoroughbred trainer Denise Jeffcoat.

She met Jeffcoat briefly about 18 months ago while being treated at A and E for a split knee.

Jeffcoat, who had been trodden on by a horse, was treated by the same nurse Nicole who, now his partner, was with him yesterday.

“I was stressed out and feeling sick yesterday when he arrived and Ben was amazing, he even drove me home. He told me how he was in awe of Ray, had introduced himself at the sales, and couldn’t believe how it was just like talking to one of the boys.”

Green knows Ray’s friends will want to catch up but says he is still in the intensive care unit and unable to see visitors.

(Story is courtesy of Barry Lichter and Lincoln Farms)


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