How to Clean a Gelding's Sheath

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While not the most attractive of tasks for most people, it is important to clean your gelding's sheath at least every six months. This will help prevent a build up of smegma, the combination of flaking skin and lubricating oil released from your horse's sebaceous glands. Removing this smegma before it builds up prevents irritation and lessens the possibility of infection.

Things You'll Need

  • Horse collar
  • Nail trimmer
  • Hand detergent
  • Mild liquid soap
  • Hose or clean sponge

Put on your horse's head collar and lead him to his stable or other secure area. Tie him to a tie up ring or whatever other fixture you commonly use and that he is familiar with.

Trim your fingers carefully with a nail trimmer and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and rinse them. Add 1 tbsp. of very mild liquid soap to a bucketful of warm water. Agitate this liquid thoroughly with your hand until it bubbles or foams. Wet your hands well with this soapy liquid.

Approach your horse slowly in a calm manner, as it is extremely difficult to clean the sheath of an anxious horse. Stand next to his loins with your body resting against him and your face pointing towards his head. Standing in this manner will mean you are alert to any sudden, and potentially dangerous movements from your horse.

Rest your hand lightly on your horse's belly and slide it backwards until it meets the sheath. Lubricate the outside of your horse's sheath with your soapy hand gently lubricating off and pulling away any dry smegma.

Re-soap your hands and gently insert your fingers into the opening at the end of his sheath. Move your fingers back and forth and side-to-side around the inside of the sheath and around the head of the penis, re-soaping your hands often and pulling out any crusty smegma you feel.

Re-soap your hands and very gently insert your small finger into the urethra, the opening at the end of your horse's penis, and feel upwards. If you feel a “pea” gently work it out of the urethra. This “pea” is a build up of smegma that must be removed lest it cause infection, and will be located less than an inch inside the urethra.

Rinse the the entire sheath area with clean water using a hose or clean sponge. Ensure that you rinse both the exterior and interior of the sheath. Clean your hands and forearms thoroughly with soap and water.

Tips & Warnings

  • If this is the first time your horse has had its sheath cleaned, or if it is particularly jumpy, enlist the help of a horse veterinarian or experienced horse person.
  • Most good equestrian stores sell commercial sheath cleaning soap which you can use instead of mild liquid soap.
  • Do not use iodine or any medicinal soap on a horses sheath, as these can prove painful to the horse.

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