Horse Sheath Cleaning; A Must Do Job for Better Health Eliminating Pain and DiscomfortBy Beverly Jansen On October 27, 2010 Under General Horse Info, Horse Anatomy
Cleanliness in any form is a good thing. Keeping your horses sheath clean and free of beans is a very good thing. What is a horse’s sheath? This is the genital area that holds and protects your horse’s penis. Unfortunately the design of a horse does not give your horse the ability to clean this area in any way. Actually you may consider this area a hazardous part of your horse. When a horse urinates, he should first let his penis drop from the sheath, start with a strong stream, continue at a normal stream and usually end with a strong spurt of urine. If your horse is spreading out as if he is going to urinate but nothing happens, this is a warning sign. If he urinates often, this is a warning sign of either a problem involving perhaps his kidneys or he may be harboring beans in the head of his penis. At the head of his penis is a small channel of which you can take the tip of your finger and gently go around the inside of this channel. The reason for doing this is not only to clean the channel, but to feel for a waxy type of bean which must be gently removed as well as any other dirt or debris. These beans accumulate and can sometimes become so large that your horse has a very hard time urinating as the beans will stop the natural flow of urine. This is not only uncomfortable for your horse but can cause a serious amount of irritation, which in turn can hinder your horse’s movements behind. Some horses will not drop down and try to urinate while his penis is still inside of the sheath. This is an indication usually that your horse is experiencing some type of discomfort and you need to investigate and figure out why your horse is behaving in this manner. As with our ears, which have wax, a horses sheath develops wax that is there to collect dust and dirt, eventually dry up, fall off and take the dust and dirt with it. Unfortunately this does not work quite so well for every horse. Some horses develop too much wax which becomes hard but does not fall off and can cause irritation or pain. The bottom line is that this is not the most pleasant of jobs but someone has to do it and if you love your horse, you will eventually just take it in stride. My job is to try and give you some tips on how to not only get through this, but to make it as easy as possible for both you and your horse. After you learn how to clean your colt or gelding, you will be anxious to take the very few minutes of your time needed to clean his sheath and bring your buddy some serious relief. I have actually had horses give me a huge sigh of relief after extracting some very large beans from them as well as some shavings and other matter that was stuck further back inside of the sheath. Of course you will understand so much more after cleaning a few sheaths.
For your tools needed, mineral oil or baby oil and a fairly large syringe, a small bucket with warm water, a small hand size sponge, castile soap and a hose with preferably warm water and the nozzle removed. This is what I have found that works the best. Usually the day before, I take the syringe and fill it with the baby oil and inject it up into the horses sheath until I am sure there is a sufficient amount to coat the entire area inside the sheath. As you will find out, the upper wall of the sheath is very much full of wax and the baby oil will help to dissolve some of this wax. I really do not try to take all the wax off of the upper wall, just the overage. The oil will also soften up the larger amounts of hard wax on the penis. The second day, have someone hold your horse on the wash rack. I usually stand on the right side of the horse as I am right handed making it easier to use my right hand for this task but you must stand on whatever side you feel more comfortable. I usually insert the hose with warm water into the sheath and hold the opening of the sheath closed so the water can travel back into the second chamber of the sheath. Next, using the bucket of warm water, sponge and castile soap, with the very soapy, very wet sponge in my right hand, I insert my hand with soapy sponge into the sheath. Usually the horse will have his penis all the way in the back of the sheath. There will be a second chamber and you will have to use the sponge and your hand to make sure you get water and soap into this chamber, cleaning his penis at the same time. You will probably have to pull your hand out and into the bucket and soap up the sponge several times. Once you have made sure that the inside of the sheath is full of soapy water and that the penis is covered you can go to work. Without the sponge, you will have to use your fingers to first get all the crust and debris off of the penis and move your hand around in the second chamber feeling for any other pieces of things other than dried wax. Once the sheath is clean, go to the head of your horse’s penis and try to feel for the channel in the head of the penis. If he has any beans, you will feel them. The hardest part is to try and gently remove them without causing too much discomfort to your horse. After you have cleaned the upper wall of the sheath, gone into the second chamber and cleaned there and removed any beans from the head of his penis, the next step is to use the hose and rinse your horse, THOROUGHLY. It is extremely important that you make sure that you rinse and rinse and rinse out your horses sheath. After I feel that I have put the hose all the way back into the sheath and into the second chamber very gently, I ALWAYS check with a clean hand to make sure there is NO MORE SOAP IN THE SHEATH. Leaving soap in your horses sheath is not a very nice thing to do to the animal that you love. This can cause a serious amount of discomfort and pain to your horse during and after urination.
Please understand that cleaning a horses sheath takes only about five to ten minutes and this is something that does not need to be done on a daily or even weekly basis. You will know when your horse needs a cleaning. Some horses will need it often and other horses will need it seldom. It depends on how much wax they produce, and whether they hang out when they sleep and collect dirt. You can come up with your own schedule. As a rule, I would always clean performance horses more often, sometimes, just as a courtesy. If your horse objects in the beginning, usually after he knows what you are up to, he will be much more accepting. He may even ask you. After cleaning so many sheaths and seeing the positive results, it really is not a big deal. Just another act of love for the animals I so dearly love and hold close to my heart.