Friday, January 17, 2014

Routine Maintenance

It's been the busiest of weeks for the horses...
they've had the works!

Hoof trimming, grooming, bridle path clipping, sheaths cleaned, teeth floated...
all in one week.

For those of you who are not a part of the horse world, 
I will give you a family-friendly explanation of sheath cleaning.
Most of the time horses hold their man-parts drawn up inside their abdomens
in an area called the sheath....
basically as they draw their parts internally, the exterior becomes the lining of the sheath.
This area is very susceptible to becoming quite filthy.
As horses run, their front hooves kick up dirt and debris that hits their abdomen,
and works its way into their sheath.
Occasional cleaning can help to get rid of this debris...
a job that's most easily done when the horse is slightly sedated.
Sheath cleanser and water....sponge....scrub-a-dub dub.....rinse....and done.
No pictures.
Just because.
Trust me.

Yesterday Dr. Becky and her assistant, Anna, came to float the horses' teeth.
Sheath cleaning was done when the dental work was finished, while 
each was still a little groggy.

As for floating teeth....

Horses' teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetimes.
Chewing helps to wear the teeth down and keep them from getting too long.
However, horses don't chew in a manner that wears the teeth down evenly.
Some areas may not wear down enough, and little hooks or points begin to form
causing rubbing on the inside of their mouth.

So, when a horse's teeth are floated,
 the vet sedates the horse...

places a speculum in his mouth in order to crank open his mouth enough to work
and avoid being chomped....

and then uses a special file or rasp or "float" (if you're British)
to file down the sharp points.

Typically, depending upon the horse,
this needs to be done every year or two.

All five of our horses were done yesterday.

But not the they are still too young.

I am happy to tell you that all five of our horses/ponies were quite well behaved
through all of the mussing and fussing this week.

I'm sure they feel like a million bucks now!

Did you know?.......

Horses never get cavities.
Besides having enamel on their teeth, they also have a cement like substance that is 
hard enough to never decay...even when they get sugary treats!


  1. Education is wonderful . . . I appreciated the non visual . . . I certainly had no knowledge of "the care" that goes into having horses. Looking quite dapper, I would say!

  2. what good work! a job well done. you are so lucky to have becky!

  3. I'm thankful for no pics this time, ha-ha! As a little girl my Dad would never let me have a horse. He said "too much care plus they eat all the grass"! I guess growing up on a dairy farm he wanted the grass for the cows. I did get a stuff pony for Christmas one year. Now I never thought to ask for donkeys. Enjoyed my lesson on care of horse today, Hugs!

  4. So, do wild horses have dirty sheaths, and what kind of problems does it cause for them?

    1. There is actually some debate as to whether sheath cleaning is necessary. It is necessary with breeding stallions to protect the female from injury by the debris. I try to do mine once a year...that gives me the ability to check the end of the penis for a "bean"...a waxy build up of debris and "smegma" that can enlarge in the little pocket around the urethra and cause a blockage. Excessive sheath cleaning can also cause once a year seems right for my guys. As for wild horses...obviously they do fine with out it. I just hate to see their parts flapping in the breeze all covered with nasty stuff!! That's just me.

    2. The majority of male riding/pet horses are geldings (castrated), the majority of wild male horses would be stallions (uncastrated). at the risk of being vulgar, the stallions, ahem, "use" their equipment more often and I am guessing since it's out there, some of the stuff is knocked off? We have a stallion and he never has a "bean", yet our geldings always do, every year.

  5. Lovely photos . I remember the days on the farm when our horses had to have all this done but the sheath cleaning that wasn't done back then unless the males were breeding , I guess times and things change don't they ? I think you have the right idea to protect the male horses from possible complications in that area . Thanks for sharing glad all went well ! Have a good weekend !

  6. Lots of info Bev...Good pictures with appropriate omissions..:) ..Love the first one of Moonie with the light directly over his head..
    Have a great weekend..

  7. I love float Our old lads are so used to it we don't have to sedate. They just love it and get right into it. It is so funny to watch them. It sure can make a huge difference. It is amazing how many horse owners don't do this..Odd!! Good to everyone is all set to go for another 2 ears. Donkeys next time? Wonder what they will think of

  8. Thanks for the info. I didn't know any of that.


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