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8 sheaths to clean.. How to protect my back?

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  • 8 sheaths to clean.. How to protect my back?

    Anybody have any suggestions? I have to do them in one visit. No rush during the process and I'm (thankfully) ambidextrous. However the last time I spent a half day cleaning sheaths I was crippled for a week.

    Any advice? It's usually my SI that goes out and I do have a back belt I can wear low during the process.


  • #2
    Vet. Pay the vet to do it. That's what I used to do


    • #3
      Take Advil one hour before.


      • #4
        yes take something ahead of times, then after all is said and done, take a hot bath to relax the muscles.


        • #5
          Split it up over a few days? Other than that, eat a few bananas before with some pain medication, and then take a good hot shower and some more ibu when you get home.


          • #6
            It's the odd bending angle that kills me!! If you can trust your horses...get yourself a (bar) stool to rest your butt on. Just a thought.
            Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


            • #7
              I lube a bit ahead of time with Furacin which dissolves the solid crud. I have this funny little dish scrubber thingy I bought at the grocery store. It is a short handle with many fingers of foam rubber all tied like a flower bouquet. It is good for scrubbing way up there without bending over a lot or getting your head too close to the hind leg. You can leave it in and jump back if you have to. I also pad a hose end with vetrap and elasticon, then carefully work that up the sheath to rinse.
              Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


              • #8
                I pay the vet when he's already out.


                • #9
                  I get the impression that the OP is the person being paid to do the job, thus the need to do them all in one day. I agree with getting some sort of stool or step ladder to rest your butt on. I find it helps the lower back. Use it for the horses you are most comfortable with, behavior-wise.
                  F O.B
                  Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                  Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


                  • #10
                    How long does it take you to clean a sheath/why does it take so long? I wouldn't expect 8 sheaths to take half a day.. maybe 2 hours, if the horses are naughty.

                    What my farrier tells me to do to save my back when trimming feet (not that I actually *do* it...) is to keep your back straight and bend your knees, kind of like you're doing a squat.
                    Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                    Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                    VW sucks.


                    • #11
                      The easy answer: if 8 is too many to do in a day for you, don't do 8. Visiting the barn twice to get them all done is better than a back injury.

                      A stool with casters would let you get out of the way more quickly. But no matter what, I think sitting compromising safety quite a bit-- anything you do that lowers your body means you're putting your face closer to his hoof if he cow-kicks. If you're facing his side in a sitting position, then your knees are protruding out and they're *really* vulnerable to a cow kick.

                      I'd look closely at how you're using the rest of your body. Are your feet at a good, balanced width? Knees soft and flexing? Are you breathing nice and regularly or tend to hold your breath? Blocking and tension in the rest of your body will increase the strain. I usually drape my inside arm over his hip and use that to support my weight a bit (and also keep me connected to the horse, so I can feel if he's tightening up).


                      • #12
                        don't you have any ab muscles? abdominal muscles protect the back. Get yourself into a pilates class.


                        • #13
                          I would do them in groups of 4. Lube the first 4 up with KY or (water soluble) product of your choice. Let them sit for about 15 minutes before you start the first one so the crud gets soft. While you're waiting sit or walk around being careful of your position.

                          If a horse isn't being naughty or isn't super filthy I can do one in about 10 minutes. Take 2 or 3 minutes between horses to straighten up and walk around. The key to avoiding ergonomic injury is to change positions frequently.

                          Take a 10 or 15 minute break then start the second set of 4.

                          Make sure you use a water based lube and not an oil based one (baby oil, or vaseline) it takes too much effort to get those rinsed off.

                          If time isn't an issue take plenty of breaks. No point in hurting yourself.
                          "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple” – Barry Switzer


                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by wendy View Post
                            don't you have any ab muscles? abdominal muscles protect the back. Get yourself into a pilates class.
                            Because that Pilates Class would've helped this morning.

                            No, wendy, I was born without ab muscles. If you saw me naked you'd realize that my ribcage is deformed and attached directly to the top of my pelvis. My internal organs are carried around in a Heft Trash bag and I pull them out as I need them.
                            As for the rest of you.. great suggestions & advice. I underestimate my abilities sometimes. Despite one fractious one, I was out of there in about 3 hrs. Back isn't too bad.. Found myself holding onto my jeans to support myself.

                            It always amazes me how these animals tolerate strangers doing gawd-knows-what to them.

                            "Hi! Nice to meet you. Let me drag you into this wash stall, jam a hose up your hoo ha, then follow it with half my arm. After that I'll scoop out the end of your urethra with my finger here and follow with the hose again!".

                            Really is a testimony to just how good natured 99.9% of all horses are.
                            Last edited by Sansena; Sep. 23, 2013, 02:39 PM. Reason: Being a smart a$$


                            • #15
                              Do you go to a chiro for your back? Mine showed me a maneuver I can do myself that pops the SI back in again. He had to show me about 3 times before I figured out how to do it, but after I did it right for the first time and felt it pop back in, now I can do it pretty easily.
                              RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.


                              • #16
                                Get a stool?

                                Be happy to give you a hand (pun intended) if i lived in your neck of the woods. I find sheath cleaning oddly relaxing.
                                Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

                                Originally posted by DottieHQ
                                You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Sansena View Post
                                  Because that Pilates Class would've helped this morning.

                                  No, wendy, I was born without ab muscles. If you saw me naked you'd realize that my ribcage is deformed and attached directly to the top of my pelvis. My internal organs are carried around in a Heft Trash bag and I pull them out as I need them.
                                  Good comeback!


                                  I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Originally posted by msj View Post
                                    Good comeback!

                                    **bows deeply**

                                    Why thankyou. Thankyouverymuch.

                                    BHLH... Can you describe that move where you pop your SI back in place? Maybe a Youtube video? Even my own chiro isn't too successful putting it back. Which is why I haven't been for about 3 months..


                                    • #19
                                      I can try to describe it, but it's a very specific motion, and it took me several try-and-fail attempts, going to the chiro to get it fixed anyway, and making him show me again, before I finally figured it out. But the first time I did it right, I felt a little pop and then immediate relief.

                                      You need a reasonably firm, slightly padded surface raised off the ground that's big enough for you to lie on - replicating a chiro table. The couch doesn't work (too soft and too low), your bed may work if it's firm. Or putting a foam mat on a dining room table -- you get the picture.

                                      Position: Lie on your side with the side that hurts up in the air. (I'll give the instructions as if you're trying to fix the right SI, so you would lie on your left side.) Lie parallel to the edge of the table, as close as you can get without falling off. Wrap your left arm loosely around your body, around the right side of your ribcage. Place the palm of your right hand on the table in front of your face (keeps you from falling off the table during the maneuver). Your left knee should be very slightly bent, and your right knee should be all the way bent.

                                      Maneuver: Trying to keep the rest of your body in the starting position, you want to lower your right knee as far as you can off the edge of the table. It should be a single, smooth motion, lasting only a few seconds -- you don't need to hold it down there. I find it's easiest to do a trial motion about halfway down to make sure I won't fall off, then bring my knee back up and right away back down into the full motion. Your knee should stay fully bent the whole time, so your foot stays up near your left knee. If you do this right, when you bring your knee all the way down, you should feel a little pop in your right SI.

                                      Here's a video that shows the starting position:

                                      And here's a video that shows the knee movement, except you don't need the gazillion-dollar machine pushing your knee down, you don't hold your knee down that long, and you don't twist your upper body like that -- you should lie completely on your side.


                                      oh, and if your chiro can't put your SI back, maybe it's time to find a new one I went through 3 different ones before I finally found one who can actually fix me so that I stay fixed.
                                      RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.


                                      • #20
                                        Everytime I hose off or bath my geldings the hose also goes up inside the sheath. It means they are almost always very clean and a planned cleaning is relatively rare.