I just wanted to say how much sheath cleaning helps my gelding to feel and move better! So hear is the story.
About a month ago or maybe longer, I trimmed John's hooves. After that I noticed that he was walking stiffly and I thought "oh no, I messed up his feet." So weeks go by,the hooves are showing some length and he is STILL walking stiffly.
So now I am worried he is getting arthritis (he's 17 and my best trail horse).
Well, it is frequent that he will stop out on the trail like he is going to pee, but just sort of stalls and doesn't pee, and then about the third time he stops he finally pees. But I really didn't pay much heed because I cleaned his sheath earlier this year.
So time goes by and one day when I am grooming him I notice his sheath is slightly swollen. So I figure he might be dirty.
Well, I clean, and clean and clean and get black smegma the size of prunes out of his sheath. Talk about nasty! And then I followed up again with another cleaning a few days later to get the excess that I missed. And then one day when he was dropped I was able to do a quick search for the bean (oddly, he had none).
But I was so thrilled because after the first cleaning I had "fixed" my horse! He is now walking out so much better, not the old stiff gait, and he stops and pees right away out on the trail. So it wasn't even a bean that was the problem, but just all the nasty accumulated smegma just inside the opening of the sheath. My horse feels so much better, I now vow to clean him fairly regularly.
I'm sure your horse will feel so much better too.
On a side note, I have a neighbor whose gelding has a bean so large you can't even get it out of the "pouch" that it is in. It is like a rock and nearly the size of a golf ball. I've tried to extract it on two occasions. Her response? "But he's peeing fine."
I just wish she cared enough to have the vet take it out. It's so big that I think he will need to be sedated for it. And he's a great horse too so I really feel sorry for him.