Sheath Cleaning a Horse

Male horses require routine sheath cleaning to prevent pain & infection

Let's face it. Cleaning your horse's sheath is not the most pleasant experience, but it needs to be done. Many people shy away from it completely, but it is an essential part of being a good caretaker to your horse. Removing the smegma and any beans that may be present inside the head of the penis will not only help your horse feel more comfortable, but will give you a chance to check for sores, ticks and anything else that may need addressing.

There are three areas of focus when cleaning your horse's sheath:

  1. The inner walls of the sheath chamber

  2. The penis itself

  3. Removing the bean from the head of the penis

Imagine having oil, dirt and crud sticking tightly to your most delicate, sensitive skin. Imagine having hooves and not being able to clean it yourself. Sheath irritations are one of the main causes of why your horse is rubbing his beautiful tail.

Steps to Getting Your Horse's Penis Sparkling Clean

Okay, let's Get Started…

  1. You will need Equiderma Sheath, Udder and Genital Cleanser and a hose without the spray attachment, set to warm. (If you're lucky enough to have gotten your horse to drop his penis, a cold blast of water will send it packing.) Some people use a latex glove or a sock turned inside out. Others use their hand so they have a better feel for the smegma. Whichever method you choose, wet your horse's sheath well and lubricate your hand with the cleanser before you start. You may have to stop during the cleaning process to add more cleanser.

  2. Start washing your horse's sheath. By now you will know if your horse is going to cooperate. If so, stand facing your horse's rear on whatever side you are most comfortable. Your shoulder and hip should be snug against the horse so if he makes any move to kick, you’ll know, and be able to back out of the way. I like to use cross-ties if the horse is accustomed to them. If not, it’s best to enlist the help of a friend to hold him so you can concentrate on the business at hand. You’ll feel the smegma and will gently begin to slide it off. If your horse is especially dirty apply your sheath cleanser, and leave it on for a few minutes. Smegma can adhere like "super glue." If you try to pull it off right away, it can be painful for your boy. Let the cleanser do its job and begin to melt the smegma. Continue this process until everything feels squeaky clean and rinse well.

  3. Now it's time to check for a "bean". Gently push back the top of the penis. You'll see or feel the bean. If it isn’t too large, it will slide out with a little help. If it is large. you’ll have to get your finger behind it and slide it out with your thumb and forefinger. Remember to rinse thoroughly after this step.



    If your horse hasn't dropped, go ahead and cleanse the inner walls of the sheath chamber. To find the penis you'll have to go deeper. Be sure you're not wearing your Sunday best. This is a messy business. There is a second, secret inner chamber beyond the main sheath chamber (insert attached diagram here) with a small opening about an inch wide. Beyond this is where the penis goes when it fully retracts. This may seem daunting, but you can do it. While watching your horse's reaction, gently reach inside and massage your fingers back and forth around the sides of the penis. Carefully, explore around with your fingers and slide off any smegma you find there. Use more water and more cleanser as necessary.

  4. Now all that's left to do is to rinse the area thoroughly with clean, warm water. If your horse will allow it, run the hose (on semi-slow pressure) up inside his sheath. Slide the hose inside the second chamber and gently jostle it until the water runs clear and no more chunks of smegma are coming out. This last step will loosen any pieces left behind.

GREAT JOB! You've learned a crucial lesson in horse husbandry. Next time your horse drops be proud of how bright and shiny everything is down there, and know you’ve done a great thing to ensure his health and comfort.

Equiderma Sheath Cleanser Tutorial

Equiderma Treatment F.A.Q.

Q: How often should I clean my horse's sheath?

A: Sheath cleaning does not need to be done more than every 3-6 months. Your horse's sheath has a population of "friendly" microorganisms that help him maintain a healthy balance within. If you clean the sheath too frequently, you’ll kill these microorganisms and disrupt the natural balance--and your horse’s sheath is likely to get even dirtier, faster. To protect those friendly microorganisms, never use antibacterial soap.

Q: What is smegma?

A: Glands in the lining of the sheath, called sebaceous glands, produce a secretion called sebum. When this secretion mixes with dirt, sweat and sloughing skin cells, it forms a gray to black material called smegma. These secretions build up and accumulate into a soft, wax-like deposit, or create dry, hard flakes that firmly adhere to the skin. Male horses naturally secrete this waxy, moisture-holding substance inside their sheath chambers, with variations in amount produced, depending on the horse. The smegma and cells that come from the penis often form flakes that look like yellow parchment paper chips.

Q: But what about horses in the wild?

A: Horses in the wild – Stallions – have opportunities to become sexually erect and potentially breed. This behavior naturally sheds and expels most accumulations of smegma.. Domesticated breeding stallions have their penises cleaned prior breeding to prevent infections and to keep the sperm free of potential problems for the mare or developing foal. Removing the sex drive by castration makes horses much safer to be around, but it doesn't allow them to self-clean.

Q: What is a bean?

A: The "bean" is a common name for a specific collection of smegma in the tip of the penis. The tube that drains the urine from the bladder is called the urethra, and it protrudes slightly from the center of the head of the penis. Just above the urethra is a recess called the urethral fossa. This area extends to the left and right over the urethra, making a BEAN shaped pocket. Smegma can accumulate within this space, and needs to be removed periodically. Sometimes there is just a small amount of build-up – small beans. In severe cases, the bean can accumulate into a large mass that compresses down onto the tip of the urethra, squashing the opening and making urination painful. Typically, these horses have a flat spray, instead of a stream, when urinating and rarely drop. The beans can become as large as a walnut if neglected. Below is a picture of 2 beans removed from a horse’s penis. They are sitting on a 2-inch fence rail. This gives you an idea of how big they can get when sheath cleaning is neglected. This horse was unable to drop his penis, had an irregular urine stream, and a foul odor coming from his sheath area.

Customer Testimonials

Don't just take our word for it - here's what some of our customers have to say:

Crud Busters Professional Sheath Cleaning using Equiderma Crud Busters Professional Sheath Cleaning using Equiderma

I am a professional sheath cleaner. I normally use hypo allergenic baby shampoo in my business as some horses are allergic to the tea tree in some sheath cleaning solutions. I tried Equiderma Sheath Cleanser in my business and found it to be extremely gentle and rinsed away easily. No harsh chemicals and all natural. 5 stars.

Donna K.
Thanks for a great product! Thanks for a great product!

My Gypsy Vanner gelding, Showstopper has a very textured sheath, and he produces an abnormal amount of smegma. I discovered the Equiderma Sheath Cleaner, and I love the product! It loosens the smegma gently and naturally, and after application the smegma easily rinses away.

Leslie H.
His mood changed now a happy horse His mood changed now a happy horse

Sheath cleaning is never fun, but my old horse would get depressed because of the flies and discomfort of his dirty sheath. I used to use a different product, but never again. Your product did everything it said it would. Made the experience much easier. Thank you.

Cynthia L.
Gentlest yet hard working product Gentlest yet hard working product

Where do I even begin? I love everything about Equiderma's products as well as the brand itself. The exceptional customer service and the quality of their products is what keeps me as a returning customer. I started originally with the Equiderma Skin Lotion to help with some rain rot and cannon crud (worked and was healing within a couple applications) and then was hooked from there. I now use the Neem Shampoo & Conditioner on all the horses especially before a show and won't use anything else. It makes them gleam and so incredibly soft and really no need for any extra spritz of show sheen. Last, but certainly not least, is the sheath cleaner....simply amazing! It is the gentlest yet hard working product I've yet to find to cut the gross grime down, yet not leaving it irritated.

Laura H.
This is how he felt after having his shealth cleaned :-) This is how he felt after having his shealth cleaned :-)

Originally I was skeptical about using Equiderma Sheath Cleanser, because I had previously cleaned my gelding's sheath, or should I say, I had attempted to using another very popular product. It was a waste of time, it didn't remove anything.

Skip forward to today, I applied the Equiderma Sheath Cleanser and waited an hour. I was amazed! The smegma, was loose and I was able to remove all the built up gunk. He's now squeaky clean. Thanks Equiderma for making another product that actually works, with natural soothing ingredients. Your entire product line is wonderful.

Lisa R.
So far I'm very impressed! So far I'm very impressed!

Blue turns 20 next month. I have owned him since the day he turned 3. Blue loves people, except when it came to cleaning his sheath. In the early days, my sweet horse would turn in a bit of a monster when it came time to clean his privates.

Blue is also very sensitive to sulfates, so I am cautious about new products. After working with him ever so patiently, using KY jelly, which is good for keeping the ph balance, and it allowed me to be able to leave it in if the session got a bit out of hand. Once I finally gained his trust, I started using the "usual" sheath cleaner. I was never happy with the stuff, but there weren’t any alternatives.

A friend of mine sent me the advertisement for your product. I immediately went to your website and read everything on every product. I decided to try the sheath cleaner. WOW your product works so well I get him cleaned in 10 minutes. Which is a speed record for me! Blue has started relaxing more and hopefully he'll finally start to drop for his cleanings.

Connie H.
Sheath, udder and genital cleanser Sheath, udder and genital cleanser

I am a true believer in anything by this company! I was very impressed with the sheath, udder, and genital cleansure. Much safer than soap and some of the other products that have words that cannot be pronounced. Love it!

Jennifer K.
Fast and efficient!

Cold weather sheath and udder cleaning is always a challenge. When I read that this product rinsed quickly and contains no harsh ingredients, I had to give it a try. I am pleasantly surprised how fast and thorough Equiderma Sheath and Udder Cleanser got the job done. Because it's freezing here I can't use a hose to rinse them clean, so I use a soft washcloth and bucket of warm water to do the job. I try not to soak them either because I know I wouldn't want to be standing out in cold weather with wet udders. Other products I have used in the past took forever to rinse off. You don't need to use as much product as well because it's not a gel based cleaner. It lathered up nicely (not to much lather) and broke up the gunk quickly and rinsed even faster. My horses and I are thankful!

Eileen P.

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