Anglaisage or nicking of horses : when aesthetic wins against surgery

by François Vallat, Docteur vétérinaire, Docteur en Histoire, Adel.

Nicking or anglaisage was an operation intended to improve the carrying of tail in common horses. It consisted in cutting or taking off coccygeal depressor muscles. Invented in England, it asserted itself in the Continent toward 1750, and did not vanished before luxury horses becoming rare, during XXth century. The numerous attempts to improve the operation and the complications which resulted in are reviewed. The – eventually mild – setting of veterinaries against nicking originated from the fear of too unacceptable accidents in such a cosmetic surgery, understanding harmful repercussions for their corporate body.

Bull.Soc.Hist.Méd. Sci.Vét., 2009, 9: p.17-33