But now that I have Wally I'm coming to appreciate yet another aspect of mares: they don't need their sheaths cleaned. Boy horses, on the other hand, require some frequent maintenance in a very sensitive area. And, quite frankly, since I spent so many decades with mares, this is one area where I'm not anxious to get up to my elbows in my work. (If you know what I mean).
Twice now I've had to summon Jennifer, my vet and friend, to sedate Wally so he could have his sheath cleaned professionally. That was the only way to get it done because Wally had decided that he was not going to let anyone get up close and personal with him. Yet over the last couple of months I've slowly been working up to doing the procedure myself, without sedating Wally at all. Since he trusts and respects me-- most of the time-- I felt like today was my chance to forge ahead with the ol' bucket of warm soapy water.
I was so proud of myself, and so glad that I'd saved myself another vet call this winter for Wally's semi-annual sheath cleaning, that I wanted to tell someone. But who? I mean, it's not like I could run into the house and tell Ron. He'll muck Wally's corral for me and unload feed, but he's really not interested in comprehending the definition of "smegma." Trust me on this.
And thus I add "Sheath Cleaning" to the list of Things that Make the Average Non-Horse Person Cringe. In my mind, the list would be:
1. Expressing pus from an abscess (distemper related or otherwise)
2. Handling the placenta after a mare foals
3. Sheath cleaning
4. Mucking a stall 24 hours after a parasite-infested horse has been dosed with a de-wormer
5. Participating in the after care of a recently gelded colt
Yup, that about sums up the gunky side of horse care. And people say the horsey lifestyle is glamorous. Ha!
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