Dirty sheath? Can this cause behavior problems?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by meljean, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. meljean

    meljean Senior Member

    Oct 31, 2006
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    This is a new one on me, but brought it up on thread a second ago, and thought I would lay this out for others to comment on, and am hoping that someone has also seen this, and felt it caused a problem.

    I just read Mark Rashid's book Whole Heart, Whole Horse. In there he mentions a gelding that was a danger to ride, he would be going along just great, and then WHAM, crazier than a run over dog. Bolting, bucking, you name it.

    Apparently many things were thought of, with no real success. But when his sheath was cleaned, and can't remember if this just came up in normal care, or someone suggested it as a cause for this behavior? They found 2 or 3 very large beans, I believe Mark wrote about 1/2 size of his little finger, as well as lesser amounts of matter to clean out. Mark wrote that the horse never exhibited any more of his wild ways after that, and went back to be the calm easy horse that he had been in beginning.

    I am hoping someone on here has also run across this?

    It would make sense to me for something to be so irritating, especially when girth was tightened and making the stomach/sheath area tighter, that this would cause pain.
  2. MyBelgianAzzy

    MyBelgianAzzy Senior Member+

    Sep 7, 2006
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    I was at a farm that owned a gelding with an EXTREMELY dirty sheath- it was so crusty he was unable to completely retract his penis within. His penis was also irritated, and the bean was quite large. This horse bucked under saddle and was just a moosal in general.

    *I* finally cleaned his sheath (a memorable experience, as I was 14-ish at the time, got kicked for the first time, and was thus offered a cigarette by his owner/barn owner), and his attitude improved 10 fold. He still bucked under saddle on occassion, but it wasn't a "get offa me now" buck, nor did he have much enthusiasm about it after that. I really think he was just THAT uncomfortable.
  3. draftlover

    draftlover Senior Member+

    Nov 6, 2009
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    Subbing as I'm interested in hearing more opinions on this as well.

    Interesting thread, Meljean. Ü
  4. PaintedQH

    PaintedQH Senior Member+

    Feb 22, 2007
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    I'm not a vet, nor do I play one on tv, but, I would think that if he's really dirty, has a large bean, can't drop, or pee like he should, that it would affect his kidneys eventually. Make him sore, grumpy, and perhaps want to buck. :confused:
  5. Kicks

    Kicks Senior Member+

    Jan 23, 2007
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    I've never had a gelding that I let go so long that that problem developed but have known several that their owners did.

    Reminder to mare owners - clean their bags - they build up 'gungi-gungi' there too and can hurt!
  6. DevilWearsPrada

    DevilWearsPrada Senior Member

    Oct 29, 2010
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    is there any certain way to do this ? XD im worried lol
  7. Giggles

    Giggles Senior Member

    Apr 28, 2010
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    Not to hijack thread or anything but has anyone else read the column in the January issue of Practical Horseman about sheath cleaning (pg 68)?

    According to it "Myth #1-Accumulation on the p**** is dirty and unhygeinic; and "Myth #4- A bean can block a horses urethra"

    Not sure I'm buying it. I've cleaned horses who wouldn't drop or rubbed their tails and the behavior stopped after cleaning their sheath. I've also rode a mare who started rubbing her tail, checked her udder, it was nasty and crusty. Cleaned it and she stopped.
  8. bad_habit

    bad_habit Senior Member

    Sep 17, 2009
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    I have owned merlot for 5 years and i have never cleaned his sheath b4.Or has his old owner so it was extremely dirty.Every time my trainer would try to clean it he would take off bucking trying to kick her.We keep trying to see if he would let us but it was so bad after he wouldent even take it out to pee.We had to get the vet to drug him up with people holding as he was figthing it.Just to clean it the bean was soo huge they had to break pices off at a time.But now he gets it done alot more now.
  9. tlwidener

    tlwidener Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2008
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    I had a gelding who developed bladder stones. I think urination was painful for him. Once we had them removed, and he healed up, he was different under saddle. He was more relaxed.

    He had regular sheath cleaning; we found the bladder stones when he started having blood in his urine.

    As an aside... I've found that with the gelding we have now the best time to clean his sheath is after a long ride in the trailer or right when we unload him after a long show day. He immediately relaxes and drops. He's very predictable! I just grab the gloves and Excalibur and get to it :D
  10. ChestersMomma

    ChestersMomma Senior Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 17, 2008
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    The only grooming task I truly dread lol... sheath cleaning. I'll never remember my mom deciding to stop out one time when I was at the barn with a non-horsey friend of hers and they walk up behind me doing this task... talk about awkwardddd moment.....
    Subbing to hear more replies.

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