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How often for sheath cleaning? Is there really a consensus?

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  • How often for sheath cleaning? Is there really a consensus?

    I have now heard the following suggested as best frequencies of sheath cleaning:

    -as often as possible
    -as little as necessary
    -twice a year

    Common sense tells me to err on the side of less is more - ie get to know what is normal looking for this horse (my first gelding!) and then check in regularly to see if everything is staying normal, and if there is a sign of some discomfort or grunginess, then get in there and clean...

    What's the range of COTH opinion??

  • #2
    I agree less is more, but it does depend on the horse. My general practice is every Spring, in time for Spring vax and dentist visit, I clean sheaths. But I have had a couple filthy boys who need to be done twice a year. And by this, I mean a full cleaning, excalibar, get them to drop so I can pick out the bean, etc. Otherwise, I will kinda stick the hose up there whenever I bathe, give the sheath a rinse out, but not go overboard with cleaning.


    • #3
      I actually did one of my geldings today. I say less is more. My geldings have never shown discomfort at all, but I try to get it done once a year. Ive heard from others that sheaths are "self cleaning" and that you dont NEED to clean it unless there are signs of discomfort?
      Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
      White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

      Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


      • #4
        Less.... about once a year maximum.


        • #5
          When I can smell it at a reasonable distance This usually works out to two to three times a year depending on the horse, but I have one that will get a large uncomfortable bean monthly. I remove that more often without a big scrub.


          • #6
            2-3 times a year and it is GROSS when we do it. He was gelded at 5, I wonder if that has anything to do with his grunginess? Ugh.


            • #7
              I *need* to do it now...like yesterday. Paco is gross but Trooper is worse I think. Rye is so eheheemmm little that he will be a production for sure. I need a mechanics dolly for that one
              I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

              Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.


              • #8
                Depends on the horse...

                My 30 year gets quite the build-up so I clean his every month or two... have to as it gets pretty nasty and thankfully he's great about it. A little generic KY jelly, warm water and gloves - just a quick cleaning is all it takes to maintain it.
                "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England


                • #9
                  my gelding drops after every ride when I groom him - so I check for beans as he gets a lot and usually give it a quick clean about once a week

                  My stallion gets down more regularly. He brings it out a lot and it does get dirty - it also needs to stay clean for breeding.

                  Also, you want it to be clean if someone comes to see him or he is somewhere and there is an exhibition.

                  He is good though - since as soon as I start cleaning he drops and he will also drop when I give him a good body massage after a good workout. I just use water though.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by heavensdew View Post
                    2-3 times a year and it is GROSS when we do it. He was gelded at 5, I wonder if that has anything to do with his grunginess? Ugh.
                    I have a horse who was gelded late too and he is incredibly dirty. He gets so bad that he'll get black smegma on the insides of his legs (ewe!), that's how I know it's time! I have to do him about 4 times a year. Believe me, if it wasn't necessary I wouldn't do it so often! Besides this horse though, I've always done it only once a year and checked for beans inbetween the full cleaning.


                    • #11
                      I clean with a dry soft rag every time I groom. I don't ever clean with Excalibur and gallons of water, because there is never a need to. We have a good maintenance program.
                      Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                      • #12
                        Kind of depends on the horse.
                        I honestly don't think our 17yr old TB has ever had his sheath properly cleaning. If he is standing around dropping I might pick off some peeling skin. But he doesn't care for it. But his sheath never gets that sticky gross stuff.

                        I usually do my horse 1x a yr. My TB doesn't get too bad and he doesn't mind me picking out bits here and there. Again, his sheath is mostly drier type stuff, not sticky. But I generally do a thorough excalibur wash 1x a year.

                        My other gelding does have kind of a gross sheath, the one where you really don't put your hand up there unless it involves soap and water because it's all gummy and nasty (ewww). But he also doesn't mind me cleaning it and will drop easily. Sometimes I do him twice a year- spring/summer or in the fall.

                        I think once a month or less is extremely excessive. Unless it smells really bad or something, 1-2x should be sufficient. But like I said, we have an old horse that has never been done and the worst he get's is dry flaking skin?


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by heavensdew View Post
                          2-3 times a year and it is GROSS when we do it. He was gelded at 5, I wonder if that has anything to do with his grunginess? Ugh.
                          Interesting! My gelded-at-seven boy gets FILTHY and needs to be cleaned at least 2-3 times per year. I know it's necessary when other people start commenting on how gross he is. Luckily it's mostly a dry, peeling type gunk and not what some of you are describing! Doesn't help he likes to hang out all the time!

                          My other gelding, though, not only do I rarely see "it" but he could probably go two years without a cleaning.

                          I usually have the vet do it every spring, and have been starting to do it myself whenever I get the chance. If it's hanging, it's warm, and it's gross, I'll grab a towel or whatever is handy and give it a wipe down (wet towel). At least remove SOME of the gunk!
                          If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
                          ~ Maya Angelou


                          • #14
                            HA I wish I could only do my 2 drafts 1x/year!!!!
                            I've never had 1 gelding ever get as GROSS as these two get! I should do it more, but I start to pretend to not notice the smell...it's when others say "shew that horse stinks" that I "pony up" to do it again.


                            • #15
                              When necessary. My draft X gets really gross quickly.

                              I have an easy method -
                              put on gloves.
                              use hand to insert Baby Oil and swoosh it around.
                              Ride or turn out.

                              The next day or so, revisit the site. By now the oil has softened the black gunk up, and even the crusty skin on the main ..... penis. Pick off as necessary.

                              I find that my guy drops when we stretch after riding, so I use that opportunity to add some oil to the main penis.



                              • #16
                                My stallion drops pretty easily so I just clean a bit here or there. My theory is that if you wait until there is swelling, itch, discomfort, build-up, tons of gunk, and smell???? ugh geeze etc. then you waited too long. I just use a little warm water and a microfiber cloth every few weeks or so. I don't use any detergent or oil.

                                Would YOU wait to take a bath until you're itching, inflammed and have a hundred layers of gunk built up on you? Eeeeck gross.

                                But of course I keep mare udders and hineys squeaky clean too. I just view it as a part of regular grooming. Or at least it should be in my opinion. Our dogs get bathed frequently and the indoor cat goes in the bathtub every week because she tends to get a dirty butt. I'm really freaked out at the idea of gunk and grunge built up in places it shouldn't be.


                                • #17
                                  My horse is never bad so for him, once a year is plenty and even at that he's still not very bad at all. In general with sheath cleaning I feel that less is more and I won't be cleaning unless it seems needed.
                                  Originally posted by RugBug
                                  Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.


                                  • #18

                                    You know someone mentioned beans. I have a horse that will get 4 beans every month, two of them the size of lima beans?!?!? I do have to be vigilant as he'll have trouble peeing. I've spoken to the vet about it and she was not worried.

                                    I can also tell when he has a bean, he drops and kind of looks at me. (PS: This is not the horse from the infamous Itchy Weener thread. That horse has been itch-free for a month now.)
                                    Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
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                                    • #19
                                      I have six geldings on my farm at the moment and not one has had a "bean" or problems peeing. Most don't want to be cleaned, but my own retired horse begs me to clean him ( he comes up to me in the pasture and plants himself in my way, with his belly in front of me. As he is 17 h. he is hard to miss. He gets really itchy, and he seems to be dry there. So for him, I peel the stuff off by hand when he asks me to. The others I pretty much leave alone.

                                      Also I've read of horses having bad reactions to Excalibur, so I'd avoid it.
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                                      • #20
                                        When I was in Pony Club the answer was everytime I had a formal inspection!

                                        Once or twice a year seems fine otherwise. If you're like me you pick crud off everytime he drops. I currently have a mare and I pull smegma off her skin whenever it is dried and easy to pull off. Mostly because she has ticks on her udders everyday that get removed. However I don't use any cleaners or anything, so no pH changes.