Anaerobio is the ”Mane Man”

HUMANS are said to “stick their necks out” or “stick their chests out” with pride after fine accomplishments. Horses too, because they are proud and clever animals and they often react to crowd appreciaton.

Look at Andrew Watkins’ photo below, taken of the Mike de Kock-trained Anaerobio after his determined winning run in last week’s Bab Al Shams Resort and Spa Handicap over 1400m at Meydan. Check his mane. Does the game eight-year-old entire look like a proud old king?


A favourite at Mike’s Blue Stables, Mike and owner Mohammed Khaleel last week described Anaerobio as “a member of the family” and the old guy certainly knows he is well liked!

On the subject of manes, here is an interesting story told by Veterinarian Dr Bo Brock, writing on

The horse in this story had a really bad injury. All the skin was gone from the front of the knee to the ankle. It looked like a scene from a Freddy Kruger movie and the owner wanted it fixed. I assessed the situation and couldn’t see a way to repair the massive tissue loss except to use a skin graft.

We often use a technique in horses called a punch graft. It’s very clever when you consider it. Instead of taking a giant piece of skin from somewhere on the horse and transplanting it onto the wound, we simply take 4 mm punches of skin and put them into the flesh one little piece at a time. This allows the area where the grafts are taken to heal well, and the punches in the proud flesh spread a little like Bermuda grass.

I went to work. I clipped the hair from the side of the mane and the skin just adjoining it. Scrubbed it perfectly and began transferring happy tissue from this place under the mane to the unhappy place on the front of the leg. The procedure went wonderfully. I placed all the grafts and worked hard for the next two weeks trying to keep those tiny pieces of healthy tissue happy in their new home on the leg.

After the two weeks had passed the two fellows that brought the horse came to get it and I sent them home with a long list of things to do to give these grafts the best chance of survival possible

When the horse left, the places we had taken the grafts from were totally healed and you couldn’t even tell anything had even happened. The graft bed looked great and I was hopeful that the terrible injury was on its way to contracting down and this horse was gonna be normal in just a few months.

Time passed and I kinda forgot about that horse. One Tuesday afternoon about six months later a green pick up pulled into the parking lot and out emerged these same two fellas. I was working on another horse but I could tell from a long ways off that they were laughing.

They strolled up with a little bit of a smirk and a lot of laugh on their faces. I asked them how that horse had turned out and how come they had not called like I asked them to. They just stood there and giggled. In fact they giggled so much that I was getting a bit uncomfortable.

“You did the best job of fixing a giant injury of any veterinarian in the world. The thing is completely healed and if it weren’t for a few minor details no one would ever even know there was a problem.” And then they began to laugh hard again.

“We just were headed to a rodeo and wanted to stop and thank you so much for getting that horse back to where we could use him and didn’t have to put him to sleep. But we also had to stop and razz you just a bit,” they said.

Razz me a bit? If the thing was healed and they were roping with it, what was there to razz about?

I stood there with a perplexed look on my face as one of them went and unloaded the horse. I was maybe 30 yards from the trailer and the second the horse started walking toward me I knew what all the laughing was about.

I seems that when I was taking the skin from under the mane to use as the grafts, I was a little to close to the mane. And as it turns out, there is a lot if difference in mane hair and normal body hair on a horse. You know, mane hair is large in diameter and gets a foot or so long. Body hair is fine in diameter and gets about an inch long.

Well, I may have gotten a little to close to the mane. In fact I know I did. Because walking toward me, from across the parking lot, was a wonderfully healthy horse, with hair that Fabio would have been proud of growing from the front of his leg.

Yes. It was blowing in the breeze like the hair of a Sports Illustrated model walking down the beach. I was flabbergasted. One of the men told me not to worry. His wife shaved her legs and he would shave his horse’s. They just left it there to give me a hard time and asked if they could use my clippers before they went to the rodeo. They were so happy that the horse lived and assured me they weren’t upset about having a horse with two manes.