Warning! This post deals with mature subject matter and may not be appropriate for everyone. Reader discretion is advised.
When I first started looking for a horse, I bought a book on horse health. I don't like surprises (unless it's jewelry!), so I usually do a lot of research to make sure I know what I am getting into. One of the items that I came across when doing my homework was “cleaning the sheath’’. What the heck???!! I read the chapter and then read it again and then looked at the pictures and read it again. You have GOT to be kidding me?! I have to do what??! Good grief.
One of the dangers of cleaning your horse's sheath is kicking. I read that when you are grooming your horse you should touch him all around his private parts to desensitize him. Oh, dear. The first few weeks we were together, I stuck to the usual "public" places on his body. Eventually, I started incorporating scratching inside his back legs and on his belly near, you know, there. The first time I ventured around that area, he turned (as much as he could in the cross-ties) and looked at me. I think I blushed. He soon turned his attention back to the others in the barn. OK, he’s not ticklish. Great!
I watched some videos to get an idea of the process and I also chatted with a few others at the stables. I was hoping that actually talking about it would make me a bit more relaxed about the whole idea. The reaction is always the same when you mention sheath cleaning - the person blushes, then they skrinch up their nose and say "Ewwwww". People are uncomfortable talking about it.
Everyone I spoke with has a different routine when it comes to cleaning their horse's privates; some do it once or twice a year, and others only when it's apparent that the horse needs to be cleaned. One of the Arena Gang cleans her horse every 3 months(!) and there are others that have never done it. Hmmm, how do you know it needs to be done? Well, apparently a tell-tale sign is a not-so-nice smell "down there". Do you have to put your nose "down there"??? Or is the smell so strong you can detect it standing next to your horse?? I have been told that sometimes a horse tells you that he needs to be cleaned by the way he walks or a grunting noise he makes when trotting. I can't remember if I read this or if someone told me, but there was a horse that would tell his owner when he needed to be cleaned - as she groomed him around his back end, he would casually lift his leg up each time she got close to his privates. :-)
This past winter, I overheard one of the Arena Gang talking about giving her horse a "willie wash". Great! I asked if I could watch next time. "Uh...sure......" (backing away from me slowly...) Well, I did watch her the next time she performed her "willie wash". Her horse did not "drop" throughout the procedure, so it was a little difficult to clean him. He stamped his feet a couple of times and he side stepped once or twice. But, really, it wasn't as bad as I had built up in my mind. Can I do this?? It took me another few months to convince myself that I could.
So, last week I told my grooming girlfriend what my intentions were next time we went out the groom Gem. Are you kidding me?? You have to clean that thing?? I assured her that she would not have to participate in the actual act, but while I made my attempt to clean Gem's privates, it would help relax him if she groomed him like normal.
I was psyched! Unfortunately, I could not get the same sheath cleaning gel that my barn mate used, so off I went to the drug store to get K-Y Jelly.... (to be continued)
What was I thinking....?