Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Gunky Side of Horse Care

I have been a mare person most of my life. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because so many mares possess a whole lot of personality. With mares, you know what horse you're saddling as soon as you pull it out of its corral. They let you know right away their opinion on whatever you're about to do with them. Fortunately, I've had many good mares and only a few that made me want to pull my hair out.

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.

Eureka! Success!

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!
You're welcome to click on "comments" below to share your thoughts. Just please, wash your hands first!


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. Before I got my mare, I rode a gelding and I cringed when it was time for his sheath to be cleaned(I'm sure he wasn't too happy about it either). Now with my mare, we have "beauty parlor" days where I clean between her udders and other personal areas twice a year. She just turns her head and looks back at me, wondering what in the world I am doing but other than that, she is fine. My friends and family just cringe and make funny faces when I tell them some of the things I do for her.

Anonymous said...

but you know what? none of those things bother me at all! if its for a horse who cares lol

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing my butt off right now!! I have 2 geldings, 2 mares, and one yearling stuc colt (who would be a gelding already, but he hasn't "dropped" yet). My big gray gelding is very tolerant of most all things... except... that. He sees no reason why "it"can't stay all crusty if it's his! My husband won't help me, but he will stand back and laugh when it's time to "git er done" as he says. LOL. I love my mares they're easy. I just use baby wipes, and ta- dah!!

Glad Wally was behavin' for you!

Nancy said...

LOL!!!! I've always had geldings, and my husband is always saying he doesnt want to know what i do with baby oil and Leo's private parts!

Anonymous said...

Hahaha, I could NEVER clean Bucky's .... parts. He's way too bashful and won't drop, so we have to get the vet to do it for us. Luckily, ....he's quite clean, so we only have to do it when he's crusty, which is only once a year or so.

Jessica said...

Neither of my boys are fans of the ..er..sheath cleaning. :-) My vet recently came out though and got rid of the "beans."

One of the grossest things I dealth with was an infected lymph node. It ended up needing to be surgically removed and then packed with cotton soaked in scarlett oil (it's basically the color of blood, but smells very minty).

The grossest part was when the packing had to be removed (pulled out). There was so much packed in, and it was did NOT want to budge. A 14 year old girl ended up having to do it for me (I was on the verge of throwing up - Yeah I'm a wimp when it comes to my baby!). She finally got it out, but it was SO immensely gross.

She explaimed triumphantly "Oooh - it was just like a tampon!"

Anonymous said...

I just had to add.. I LOVE reading your blog! You just never know what you're gonna see next.... Lexi and the swollen parts, Wally and his.. well.... wally... LOL!
Hope all is well with you guys! My husband laughs at me because the first thing I do when I get online is "check in" with you guys!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to share something absolutely hillarious with all of you who own geldings... or heck, any horse. Look up Bazzy Boy Blog (now it's called A Bloke With A Horse) But look in Bazzy's blog archives. Look up the date OCTOBER 12th, 2007.. There are a couple of absolutely hillarious rhymes made up from the horse's point of view about sheath cleaning. I promise you will laugh!!

Cindy Hale said...

Isn't it amazing what horse people can talk about amongst themselves? I don't think, however, that I'll bring up the topic of sheath cleaning at my family's big annual Thanksgiving dinner. Although, that would be a memorable way to cap off the meal...

Anonymous said...

Sheath cleaning is the ONLY thing that I don't have the stomach for... I've been doing it the sissy way and shooting my gelding's umm... thing... with baby oil whenever I can sneak it. He always will suck it back in whenever someone happens to notice and runs to get the baby oil, though. Even so, it's worked fine so far! I'm DEFINATLY going to need to get the vet to do it for real, though.

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