Sheath Cleaning Without Sedation

Below are several videos, and stills from them are in the images. 

In my 50 years with horses, I have cleaned many horse sheaths. I developed this one-hand technique that works well, but it keeps you in a safe position. Try this, and you will soon convert to it. Yes, having a large wingspan helps but isn’t required. Keeping your left hand holding the hair at the withers is an important safety step until your horse becomes comfortable with the process.

I have had one veterinarian write me to say he thinks cleaning sheaths should never occur. His point, I believe, referred to the natural microflora of this area washing away. I agree that frequently washing this area is not healthy because this can allow for an overgrowth of bad bacteria, especially if you use any soap. For example, Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM) ruined the breeding season in Kentucky in 1984 due to over-cleaning the penis. However, once to twice a year should be OK. 

Some horses get dirtier here than others, which plays a role in the frequency of cleaning, but twice a year should be enough for most horses.

Cleaning the sheath part 1 – the basics

Cleaning the sheath part 2 – a demonstration

Cleaning the sheath of difficult horses: We floated the 2nd horse (paint) with caution for several years. After this video, this horse went to another home (a farrier). He viciously attacked and broke the leg of the new owner and was promptly euthanized.

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