Ear cleaning? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-18-2012, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Ear cleaning?

Do horses need the inside of their ears cleaned on a regular basis? If so, what is the best way to do it? My horse has waxy black gunk on the lower hair of his ear opening. I trim the hair on the outside but haven't ventured into the ear. It's quite hairy and I don't want to do anything wrong. Our mare hates her ears touched and I don't want to spook the gelding.

Thanks for helping a newbie.
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-18-2012, 08:06 PM
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I just use baby wet wipes and clean them out!
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-19-2012, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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I'll do that today. Thanks.
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-19-2012, 09:02 AM
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I use Witch Hazel, that you buy off the WalMart shelf, at my vet's recommendation. I put some on a paper towel but make sure NOT to soak the paper towel.

As far as cleaning ears that don't want to be cleaned, it's something you have to work up to gradually and earn the horse's trust. Not wanting the insides of their ears touch is perfectly understandable, but there may be a time when the vet has to look in there. If the horse won't let it's ear be handled, then the vet will twitch your horse and I am really really opposed to twitching.

One thing I learned when sticking a damp paper towel, or baby wipe, in the ears is to not make eye contact with the fussy horse. I started out having to look at the floor because I have vertigo and can't look up too high. Naturally the fussy guy is my tallest at 16.1H and I am only 5.2, and I don't have time to be dragging a stool around when there's four horses to get ready for turnout

It takes fussing with them every day - especially your mare. At some point somebody has most likely grabbed her by her ear(s) to hold her in place to do something. It is no surprise to me that the ear my horses least like fussed with is the left one - old memories are hard to shake

Tractor Supply sells soft bristle brushes that are only about 3 or 4 inches long?? Little tiny things that do a bang-up job of massaging that ear hair and just about putting the horse to sleep They're not expensive and would be a great way to get your mare used to having the insides of her ears handled

Hope this helps

EDITED TO ADD: I almost forgot - my Arab gets that black gunk in his left ear; once he realized I was helping him by removing that stuff, he now puts his head into my chest and will twist his head around, trying to help me get that stuff out. I know when he needs his ear cleaned because he will start rubbing that side of his head against the stall wall.
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Last edited by walkinthewalk; 12-19-2012 at 09:07 AM.
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-19-2012, 09:08 AM
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I brush the insides with a soft brush everyday and clean with baby wipes once a week. My horse LOVES having his ears brushed, especially in the summer when the bugs are out!
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-19-2012, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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THANKS! that's great info. I try the baby wipe first as I don't have witch hazel right now. the brush sounds like a good idea. Tractor supply is one of my favorite stores, even before I got the horses!!
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-19-2012, 10:51 AM
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Horses are just protective of their ears. It doesn't mean someone has hurt it. It's like the first time we lift a horse's hind leg, we take away his means of escape. His ears with keen hearing help protect him as well. Some horses just become more trusting about having their ears handled.
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-19-2012, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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Went to the stable and tried to clean the mare's ears. She protested greatly. I'll keep working with her, though. The gelding did great. He didn't like it much but he let me do it.
thanks for the advice!
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-21-2012, 02:48 AM
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I do not and never have regularly clean out my horses ears, however, my mare had tiny bumps just inside her ears. I used ear "wash" (it is gentle and leaves no residue) that I had on hand for my dog on a facial tissue to wipe the surface off. They improved, but may have on there own.

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-22-2012, 11:45 AM
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My mare is still very sensitive around her ears. Once I've gained her trust on other issues, I'll work on her accepting my playing with her ears but for now, I'm leaving well enough alone. I don't know her history but she's been head-shy from the start and I can have a little trouble when putting her bridle on as she resists (not the bit, she bits up really easily, just the headgear).
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