As a horse owner one of the most unpleasant jobs that have to be performed regularly is sheath cleaning, but it is one that is vital in maintaining the health of your horse. Sheath cleaning is a job that can seemingly be pushed under the carpet as the effects cannot be easily seen, but avoiding it can have detrimental repercussions to your horse including infections and a very large veterinary bill. But after the confidence is gained to take on this task the one question that many horse owners ask is quite simply “how do I do it properly”. Well luckily here at Waterman's Country Supplies we have come to the rescue armed with a step by step guide to effective sheath cleaning, a pair of latex gloves and of course a sense of humour.
Where To Begin
One of the very first things that needs to be accomplished in sheath cleaning is learning what you are aiming to achieve and off course what the sheath actually is (if you don't already know). The sheath is the tube of skin that protects the penis and is an area that your horse cannot reach by himself. The key aim here is to remove the build up of smegma – the collection of dirt and excretions – to prevent discomfort to the horse, and the bean which is a hard firm lump of smegma that can form a hard ball at the tip of the penis. Now that we understand our aim, it's time to start talking about equipment.
What You Will Need
- 1 pair of latex gloves
- Lots of clean towels
- A specialised sheath cleaner (as this is more gentle on the area than regular cleansers)
- A hose or a bucket of water
- A quiet area so the horse isn't spooked.
Throughout the entire process of sheath cleaning it is important to remember that even though it is unpleasant and you will want to get it done quickly, you must never be too rough or rush. After all you are dealing with your horse's delicate area and being too firm can cause damage to you or the horse. So one of the first acts to do is to clip your nails to remove any sharp edges before applying your latex gloves.
There are many theories and misconceptions that are involved in sheath cleaning, the most popular being that the horse's penis must be dropped in order for it to be cleaned effectively. But the truth is that an effective job can be done without the penis being dropped, you just have to reach up further, so for this method, make sure that you have a long pair of gloves.
Start off by wetting the area with either a hose or a sponge but start on the horse's stomach to avoid him being spooked and gently work towards the sheath.
Apply a good amount of sheath cleaner to your hand and slowly place it inside the sheath gently flaking away the smegma working up towards the base of the penis. Make sure that you rinse with a lot of lukewarm water as you go and when one towel is dirty, replace with a clean one until the last towel comes out clean.
Place your hand deep into the sheath until you find the end of the penis and gently poke your finger into the opening, you shouldn't need to go in any further than up to the first knuckle. As soon as you find the bean or a hard lump remove it gently by rolling it down towards the opening and then dispose of it.
Rinse, rinse, rinse right inside the sheath with warm water until there is no sign of soap at all, and if you are using a hose, until the water runs clear.
And there you have it, all of the steps you need to effectively clean your horse's sheath whilst keeping his dignity and yours intact.
For our full range of cleaning products including sheath cleansers click here.