How to Teach a Stallion to Drop for Cleaning

Written by charmaine jens
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How to Teach a Stallion to Drop for Cleaning
Cleaning a stallion's or gelding's sheath is vital to its health. (BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

A stallion will naturally drop when he is relaxed and happy. Moderate exercise and grooming results in a cooperative horse. Although he may need to be tranquillised to drop, it is imperative to clean the sheath, remove smegma or the "bean." An unclean sheath can result in the horse not dropping completely. The sheath is the folding of skin that encloses the penis and should be cleaned every three to six months. Cleaning too often will disrupt the horse's balance of healthy bacteria. Smegma is a normal, waxy substance that surrounds the penis consisting of dirt, natural secretions and dead skin. The "bean" is a waxy substance that has formed into a ball near the top of the horse's penis and must be removed.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Warm water
  • Disposable gloves
  • Rolled sheet cotton
  • Clean sock
  • Mild soap or sheath cleaner

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Desensitise the horse by occasionally touching his flanks and getting him used to you being around his back side. Touch the sheath and spray water on it with a hose.

  2. 2

    Move the horse to a quiet area or wash stall immediately after riding. Put on the disposable gloves and groom the horse gently, concentrating on the flank area and touching the sheath. He may begin to drop and retract, until fully extended. If the horse will not drop, gently reach inside the sheath and pull it down lightly.

  3. 3

    Inspect the sheath, checking for sores or lesions, which could be infectious or cancerous, and call your vet immediately if you find them. Some infections can be an indicator of congestive heart failure in older horses.

  4. 4

    Apply one to two tablespoons of mild soap or sheath cleaner to the palm of your hand. Using the sock, scrub inside the sheath gently. Allow the substance to sit for five minutes. Pick out the smegma and debris. Clean from the base of the sheath down to the tip of the penis, using additional cleaner if needed.

  5. 5

    Apply one to two tablespoons of mild soap or sheath cleaner to the palm of your hand. Using the sock, scrub inside the sheath gently. Allow the substance to sit for five minutes. Pick out the smegma and debris. Clean from the base of the sheath down to the tip of the penis, using additional cleaner if needed.

  6. 6

    Roll the skin back from the head of the penis and remove the "bean," which will be near the tip and at the centre. Remove the bean gently, giving some release as you work. If the bean is large, break it up into smaller pieces.

  7. 7

    Rinse the sheath with warm water or a hose, using a low to moderate flow. Start at his feet and gradually move up, spraying his belly, his groin area and then the sheath.

  8. 8

    Praise your horse and give him his favourite treat.

Tips and warnings

  • The first sign of a dirty sheath is tail rubbing.
  • When cleaning a breeding stallion, use a mild soap or commercial sheath cleaner. Some detergents can act as spermicides.
  • Do not use baby oil. It can cause irritation and swelling.
  • Do not use an antibacterial soap, iodine or Betadine - they will kill healthy microorganisms.
  • A horse's bean and smegma will build up at different rates. Have your vet examine your horse to determine how often he thinks its sheath should be cleaned.
  • If your horse will not allow you to rinse his sheath with a hose, using a water-based personal lubricant such as K-Y Jelly will allow the smegma to fall away from the sheath without using water.
  • Beans can be life threatening if not removed. If allowed to get too large, they can completely obstruct the urethra, making it difficult for the horse to urinate and causing serious bacterial infections.
  • If your horse is not accustomed to having its sheath cleaned or if he is uncomfortable, request that your vet perform the procedure. The horse may need a mild tranquilliser if he is fearful or in pain.
  • Be aware of the horse's behaviour. A swishing tail or raised hind leg indicates he is uncomfortable and may be ready to kick. Take a break and touch him gently to continue.

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