Cleaning a horse’s sheath might not be the nicest job in the world, but it is necessary. Both stallions and geldings need their sheaths cleaned; owners need to keep their horses’ sheath clean to avoid discomfort, pain, and infection. If left without attention, the discomfort experienced can culminate in temporary lameness and bad behaviour.
What is a horse’s sheath?
The sheath is a pocket of skin that protects the penis when the horse is not breeding or urinating. Problems arise from a build-up of smegma inside of this pocket (which can develop into a “bean”). This smegma is removed during the cleaning process.
How often should you clean a horse’s sheath?
How often you should clean your horse’s sheath depends on several factors. On the whole, geldings require cleaning more frequently, and at a younger age than stallions. It is also more common for geldings to develop a “bean” – a hard amalgamation of smegma – under the sheath than stallions.
Geldings need their sheath cleaned more often than stallions as a result of their penis’ leaving the sheath less often, limiting its ability to clean naturally.
Generally, it is considered good practice to clean your horse’s sheath at least once a year.
Cleaning a horse’s sheath
The task of cleaning a horse’s sheath isn’t complicated, but does require patience. Fundamentally, cleaning requires warm water, a mild grease-cutting solution, latex gloves, and paper towels.
Although uncommon, sensitive horses may require sedation before you can safely clean their sheath.
To begin with, water is applied into the sheath using a hose pipe or needle-less syringe to aid debris removal. The procedure requires the horse to “drop” his penis. Therefore, if unwilling to do so it must be retrieved by gently pulling it by the glands. Once extruded, gently clean the entire region.
It is common for the “bean” to develop in the urethral diverticulum – a pocket adjacent to the opening of the uretha – so it is vital that this area is checked. A bean that develops in this area will cause extreme pain, and possibly interfere with the flow of urine.
The best method to learn how to clean a sheath is by watching someone else in person, or alternately, on Youtube.
Can I pay someone to clean my horse’s sheath?
If you’re unhappy cleaning your horse’s sheath yourself then you can turn to professional services. Typically these charge a nominal fee, and operate a schedule based on geographic zones.
Although extreme caution should be taken, Equestrian Facebook groups are a great way to track down someone who will carry out the procedure, but dive deep into their reputation and ensure they’re insured before giving them your address.
Veterinarians will also perform this service, however, expect a higher fee.