Sheath cleaning is certainly not one of the more enticing aspects of owning or caring for a horse, but it certainly is something that needs to be done! I clean my horses’ sheaths personally about once a year (my horses’ dentist will do a cleaning when he comes, and that is once a year, making it twice a year in total for my boys), but I have also seen recommendations for an every 6 months cleaning. I’ve also heard of people who never clean their horse’s sheath, so to each their own. I think once a year is the bare minimum it should be done. This advice also counts for mares’ udders.
I actually don’t mind sheath cleaning. When I was still at the barn that my best friend’s mom manages, she would always make me do the sheath cleaning while she held the horse so he could graze. I’m an awesome friend, aren’t I? But for some reason, it really doesn’t bother me. I saw that EcoLicious Equestrian had an all-natural sheath cleaner, and I had to try it. We are cleaning a sensitive area so the less chemicals and irritants, the better!
Smeg-U-Later is made with coconut-derived cleaners and honeysuckle extract. It also has lavender oil which can be calming to those horses that may not enjoy being cleaned in their private area.
I used this product for the first time on my lease horse, L, and it coincidentally was also my first time cleaning his sheath since I’ve only had him for about 6 months. I put a little bit of the product in my hands and got to work cleaning. It quickly dissolved the dirt and gunk that was stuck up there, and it was very easy to see that the product was doing its job. It lathered really well, and I didn’t have to worry about it slip sliding off my hands like Excalibur does when I use it. The Smeg-U-Later bottle says there is no need for rinsing, but I rinsed with a hose anyway after I was done.
L was pretty cooperative during the whole process, so I wasn’t sure if the lavender calmed him at all. However, I noticed that after I had put him back in his stall, I was brushing him and accidentally grazed his sheath, and he swished his tail as if to say “hey lady, get your paws off my junk!” So, he did seem a bit annoyed about me going near the area. Again, since it was my first time cleaning his sheath, and he was so good, I have nothing to really compare against. I will have to try Smeg-U-Later on my baby horse who has not yet been acclimated to all the ways of the domesticated horse, unlike L who spent the majority of his years as a show horse.
Overall, I really like this product. It will last a long time because you don’t need much to get the job done, and you shouldn’t use a lot because it is concentrated. It smells great, and the dirt and gunk come right off and out of the sheath. The fact that it is an all-natural product is what makes it so great. The less chemicals the better, especially when cleaning sensitive areas! Smeg-U-Later can also be used around your horse’s nostrils and around his eyes.
Remember to clean your horse’s sheath or udder at least once a year! It’s important to make sure that everything down there is in good working order. Certain breeds and colors – like pink skinned horses – can get melanoma, and there are other things to watch out for like sores that can indicate a worm infestation or other issue. If you can’t clean your horse’s sheath or udder yourself, you can always enlist the help of your vet or a more experienced horse person. It only needs to be done once a year, and you shouldn’t skimp on your horse’s health – no matter how icky the process may be!
Happy sheath/udder cleaning!