Cow-kicking and Sheath Cleaning

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Cow-kicking and Sheath Cleaning

This is a discussion on Cow-kicking and Sheath Cleaning within the Horse Grooming forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    10-30-2010, 11:25 PM
Cow-kicking and Sheath Cleaning

On Saturday mornings, I volunteer at a therapeutic riding center. Today was bath day for the horses (we're in Florida and it's not yet too cold to bathe) and I was going around making sure that all the geldings were getting their sheaths cleaned as many volunteers don't know how to do it or consider it too gross.

Anyway, one of their horses has only been there for about nine months. I've ridden him a few times and led him with his riders, but on the whole I haven't worked with him much. I was giving him a bath and was getting ready to clean his sheath when he attempted to cow-kick at me. I whacked him on the butt with my hand and he put his hoof back on the ground, but I didn't feel comfortable trying again as I was the only one out at the wash rack at the moment. I talked to the Saturday instructor and she said that they're going to try to get it cleaned sometime during the week when there are more people to help, as we were short on volunteers today.

Some background info on this horse: Duke was starved almost to death and rescued by a volunteer, who brought him back to health and then donated him to the program. He's a 13 year old Quarter Horse and can be very pushy if you aren't assertive enough. They've cleaned his sheath once that I know of, possibly more, but before he came to this barn, I doubt that he's had it cleaned for quite a while.

My question is this: how would you go about getting him to accept having his sheath cleaned? I doubt there's anything I could personally do as I'm only there on Saturdays and there's no guarantee that I'll have the time to work with him, but I'm still interested as I've never encountered a horse who minded having his sheath cleaned so much.

And just 'cause he's cute, here's a picture:
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    10-31-2010, 01:44 AM
Green Broke
You just have to get him used to hands being down there.
I have only just started and so far he is very accecpting. I can brush under there now and he doesn't seem to mind, I havn't cleaned it yet but I will soon.
You just have to be patient with him
    11-01-2010, 12:21 AM
Yup. Gotta take it slow.Start on the hip, then stiffle, under belly, inside thighs, close to his sheath, then his sheath, and eventually inside his sheath and on his penis. Take everything at his pace, do everything matter-of-factly, or he may feel it as a bug and try to get rid of it, and do one area at a time. Pet an area he's comfortable with then do a swipe by the closest area to where his comfortable to where he isn't. Return to comfort zone, repeat to previous uncomfort zone. Until he doesn't mind being touched.
Everyone at the barn can do this when they groom, they just have to use their hand and do a quick pet on his stiffle (or some other area he's been sensitive to) and go on - no fight no real purpose just quick pet and go on.
    11-01-2010, 01:23 PM
Yep, start far away, and get closer. Also when he starts to lift his leg, or act like he will kick a good AHHHH! Will usually get thier attention. Then praise when he is being good.
    11-01-2010, 01:55 PM
I simply have someone lift the leg on the opposite side. When it has to be done, it has to be done. A horse smart enough to actually cow kick (most cannot move their legs effectively in that direction) is difficult to handle in that area alone for an inexperienced person.
    11-01-2010, 06:17 PM
Thanks for the replies.
As far as I know, mls, that's what had to be done last time to get it cleaned. I'll see if I can get some time to work with him on Saturday, but the problem I fear I'll run into is that we're always rushing to have the horses groomed and tacked before their riders get there. Maybe during one of the sessions if I'm not going out with a horse and we have enough help to muck the stalls and everything.
    11-01-2010, 06:24 PM
Sorry, kind of off-topic, but is this at Freedom Ride? I used to volunteer there:] Hope all turns out well!
    11-01-2010, 06:31 PM
No, this is at Harmony Farms. I've never heard of Freedom Ride, what area of Florida is that in?
    11-03-2010, 11:40 PM
Freedom Ride is in Orlando.... therapeutic horseback riding, Freedom Ride Inc. Orlando, FL Home :)
    11-04-2010, 01:09 AM
You did what I would do. If at all possible the first time I clean this area on a new horse I have the vet do it. They can give them a "relaxer" and really get everything good and clean. Also this may be painful for the horse if it has not been done properly for a long period of time and that may be why he kicked.

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