Category Archives: Handy Tips

TIME TO CLEAN UDDERS, SHEATHS … dirty job but somebody has to do it!

Summer is coming to a close and if you haven’t been on top of your mare’s personal hygiene, she might be rubbing at her tail dock…

Now… there are several reasons why a horse could rub at their tail dock.  Click here if you’d like to look into that further.

But today, we’re going to talk about udders and sheaths.


This is a pic of MT's tail from long ago - telling me that I have neglected my udder cleaning duty.

This is a pic of MT’s tail  (from long ago) – telling me that I have neglected my udder cleaning duty.


A while back, I found myself using every kind of sweet itch formula, dandruff formula, wormer, lice spotter… you name it, I was trying it – in an effort to figure out why my mare’s were rubbing out their tails.

Back then, my Old Tymey vet told me to “clean the udders”.

??  Wha?  Udders?  Why?

He told me that mares get gunk and perspiration up between their udders – especially in the Summer when they are playing outside and it is hot and dusty.


So, I checked up in there (be careful if you have a maiden mare), and sure enough, MT was full of cakey-gunky black stuff between her udders.

As soon as I cleaned it out, she quit rubbing.

Easy fix.




Cleaning an udder isn’t as easy as it may sound.  It depends, really.  On a mare who is familiar with having her udders handled, it is easy.

On a maiden mare, not so much…  So, be gentle, easy and careful.  I’m no expert so I’m not going to tell you how to do it, but for sure keep your body out of the kicking range and go very slowly and gently.  No tickling.

As far as a gelding and his sheath, same deal.  That area can get very grody and full of ‘beans’ which are crusty pellets that sit in there, can get huge and are irritating.  You might see your gelding kick at his stomach when there are no flies… or even when there are flies… so do have his sheath cleaned regularly.

I don’t personally clean any of my geldings’ sheaths now that Aladdin has passed.  He let me do it but he was the only one.  The rest are not comfortable with it so… whenever I have their teeth done, I have the vet also do their sheaths.

*Many trainers teach a baby colt to ‘drop’ for cleaning.  I didn’t hence my grown-up geldings do not ‘drop’ on command.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 11.01.22 AM

This is not me smiling happily under a gelding while sheath cleaning. I found this pic from a sheath cleaning clinic Google search.


I wrote about this long ago.  You can read that link here.  I have excerpted the most important parts here:


So, previous to today,  I used warm water, mild soap and a soft cloth.  This was fine; or so I thought…

But this year, I had some Udder/Sheath cleaner, so I decided to try it.  Now, I know what you are thinking.  Why not use something you already have around the house.  Why buy a specialty item?  Yup.  That’s what I thought, too.

I brought out my bucket of warm water, my soft cloth and my udder cleaner.   (It is made by Equi-Spa who also makes THE BALM that I love!)  Anyway, I was all prepared to not notice any difference between homemade cleaners and this Equi-Spa Sheath and Udder Cleaner. I dunked my cloth in the warm water and squeezed out the excess (hate it when water runs down my arm) and squirted on the cleaner.  The fragrance was clean and flowery.

Anyway, I started with Tess because she is easier.  And, a strange thing happened.  It glided!  I don’t know how to otherwise describe it, but the cloth glided so smoothly against her udders that I thought I was using oil.  And, the yuk broke up so quickly and smoothly that it made me realize my usual homemade formula wasn’t so good…  I swear it made the whole area shiny and squeaky-clean in a matter of moments!  (The bottle says to leave it on for 10-15 mins for hardened debris – but I think that is more for sheaths.  Dunno.  It came right off for me.)

And, the best part, I didn’t have to worry about rinsing the cleaner off.  What I mean to say is that you need to rinse to get rid of the yuk up there, but you don’t have to make sure all the cleaner is gone.  With soap, you do.  I used to get her legs wet, my pants wet, my arms soaked as I rinsed the beejeezus out of that area to make sure her skin wouldn’t be irritated.  But this stuff is E-A-S-Y.

This is my hand holding my Udder (and sheath) Cleaner.


OMG!  The bottle says to “Reapply as needed to protect and moisturize the area”.  Wow.

So, I’m sold.


I emailed the company and asked what ingredients made this cleaner work so well.  Here is the reply:

The Udder cleaner is based in  vegetable glycerin and organic Aloe vera gel.  The glycerin is slick, hydrophilic and helps soften and loosen smegma…easy rinse and pulls the dissolving “dirt and debris” with it.  It also contains a small amount of witch hazel along with the Aloe is very very soothing and helps leave a healthy “environment” .  Horses like it because it feels soothing and yes a bit cooling to them from the Aloe.   The cool smell is Tea Tree…there is no camphor or menthol to make it feel “icy” to the horse.  It is very clinical smelling.  There is also other essential oils that are beneficial for discouraging yeast and bacteria growth  but are in very small amounts as to not cause any irritation…in fact just the opposite.  I also use it to detangle tails, (it dries fluffy)  great for cleaning out dogs ears, and for applying over scratches to soften the scabs and accelerates the healing process.

IF YOU WANT SOME, TOO (no affiliation)

If you would like some Sheath and Udder Cleaner, here is the link.  It is only $17 and it goes a long way.

Remember, if you order from her, she will give you a free sample of THE BALM just by asking for it.  I love THE BALM.  I just used it to heal Shiva (Hubby’s dog) after he was attacked by a coyote.  He had staples and open wounds… the poor guy was a mess.  I kept rubbing THE BALM on him and he didn’t lick it and all of his wounds are healing beautifully.


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First, before we even start… I want to tell you that I’ve been using the very affordable Equi-Spa products for years now – they are all natural, use essential oils and work wonders!

For example, the Peppermint Summer Protection Spray has catnip, lavender, neem and soy – exactly what the below article recommends!

I use The Balm on almost any cut or skin wound.  It healed up Bodhi’s massive wound with hardly a scar – and kept the flies away.  Worth it’s weight in gold.  I use it on everything.

I also use the Udder/Sheath cleaner (you don’t need to rinse!), Fairy Tails, Not So Sweet Itch Gel and the Lavender Cleanser (I even spray this in Norma’s grazing muzzle and she loves it!).

Anyway, I have no affiliation with Equi-Spa, I just love their products!  If are reading this blogpost today about essential oils against flies and mosquitoes, I think you will, too!

Original article linked here.

How To Use Essential Oils To Keep Mosquitoes Away

How To Use Essential Oils To Keep Mosquitoes Away

Mosquitoes are a perennial problem, but it becomes especially acute during the warm summer months. What an unfortunate coincidence that this happens just when everything else is perfect for outdoor life. The buzz and bite of mosquitoes can spoil an outdoor party and ruin a family gathering out in the garden or patio. Of late, they have become more than a nuisance, what with the diseases–some of them quite debilitating and deadly–spread by these pesky insects.

Vector-borne diseases transmitted by mosquitoes such as malaria and dengue have always been a scourge of the tropics, but they are frequently appearing in many parts of the United States. A more serious problem is the West Nile virus encephalitis that has attained a native status in the country with epidemics reported with increasing regularity. The Zika virus that has spread to many South and Central American countries, including Mexico, is the latest threat. Because of this, need to be vigilant than ever to avoid bitten by them.

Since insecticidal sprays and other mosquito eradication measures have been unsuccessful in getting rid of the mosquito menace, our best bet is to keep them away with mosquito repellents. Mosquitoes are thought to be attracted to us by certain substances in our sweat as well as the carbon dioxide released in our breath and through the skin. The olfactory sensors of the insect pick up these cues from far away and swarm to us for a free meal. The female mosquitoes need a dose of blood to be able to reproduce, so every time they get a drink of blood, it helps increase their population. That’s one more reason to avoid getting bitten.

The Dangers of DEET

Blocking the scent sensors of mosquitoes is one way to keep them away from us. Commercial products containing DEET do this more or less effectively. Although it may cause allergic reactions in some people, it is generally considered safe for use even on children. However, it is no secret that this chemical compound is toxic to us even when immediate reactions do not occur. It gets easily absorbed into the body, getting accumulated in tissues, doing long-term damage. A safer alternative would be essential oils that can have a similar effect on the smell sensors of mosquitoes.

Many aromatic essential oils have insect–repelling property, particularly those containing volatile substances like linalool, thujone, geraniol, citronellal, citronellol, limonene, pinene and eucalyptol. They have been found to be effective in keeping mosquitoes at bay for a short period of 2-4 hours because of their high volatility. Repeat applications may be necessary, but essential oils, especially the ones derived from culinary herbs, may be safer than other chemical deterrents. Mixing them with non-volatile agents like soybean oil or witch hazel extract can help extend their action.

8 Essential Oils with Mosquito Repellent Properties:

1. Lemon eucalyptus oil

This essential oil extracted from the leaves and bark of the lemon eucalyptus tree Corymbia citriodora consists of nearly 80% citronellal in addition to appreciable amounts of eucalyptol, linalool and limonene. Hanging branches of eucalyptus at doors and windows and burning the leaves and wood in the evenings were traditional ways to repel mosquitoes in many parts of the world. The commercial mosquito repellent p-menthane-3,8-diol, commonly known as (PMD), considered a safer alternative to DEET, is based on lemon eucalyptus oil.

2. Thyme essential oil

Extracted from the culinary herb Thymus vulgaris, it contains, in addition to Thymol, insect repellant agents Thujone, Pinene, and Linalool.

3. Geranium essential oil

The oil extracted from the aromatic leaves and stems of Pelargonium odoratissimum contains Linalool, Limonene, Citronellol and Alpha-pinene, apart from Geraniol which has proven mosquito repellent action.

4. Lavender essential oil

Obtained from lavender blooms, this sweet-smelling essential oil gives instant relief from mosquito bites on spot application, but it is also effective in warding off these insects. Since it is one of the most popular and safest of essential oils, the mosquito repellant property of this soothing oil can be put to good use at bedtime, especially for kids, this sweet-smelling essential oil gives instant relief from mosquito bites on spot application, but it is also effective in warding off these insects. Since it is one of the most popular and safest of essential oils, the mosquito repellant property of this soothing oil can be put to good use at bedtime, especially for kids.

5. Catnip essential oil

Of the different essential oils derived from aromatic mint family plants, catnip essential oil derived from Nepeta cataria has been found to be most effective against mosquitoes. Catnip has been historically used for the purpose by many tribal communities who just rubbed the leaves on the skin before hunting trips.

6. Citronella oil

It is extracted from several types of lemongrass Cymbopogon spp., and is commonly used in insect repellant candles and ointments. It is found to be particularly effective against Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmit yellow fever as well as Dengue and Zika viruses. Growing citronella around your garden is also a good way to repel mosquitoes. Here are 11 herbs and plants that help to keep mosquitoes away.

7. Cedar wood essential oil

Distilled from the wood of the cedar tree, this oil is used as an insect repellent. It has been found to be very effective against malarial mosquitoes.

8. Basil essential oil

The culinary herb basil is often cultivated close to homes to repel bloodsucking insects, including mosquitoes. The oil extracted from the leaves can be used in mosquito repellent ointments and sprays.

Note: All of these essential oils are available to purchase from Plant Therapy on Amazon here

Combine Essential Oils to Enhance Their Effect

It has been found that a combination of essential oils works better at repelling mosquitoes than individual oils. That could be because the different volatile agents work on the scent receptors of mosquitoes in different ways. Also, different types of mosquitoes may be sensitive to specific substances.

For instance, a combination of geranium oil and vanilla extract has been found to offer up to 7 hours of protection against the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit dengue. On the other hand, mint-family essential oils and thyme oil are better against Anopheles and Culex mosquitoes that spread malaria and filarial disease.

Mixing a non-volatile oil with the essential oil help prolong their insect-repellent effect. Soybean oil and coconut oil seem to have a certain amount of insect-repellant property of their own, so either one of them can be used as the carrier oils for the essential oil blend.

Candles – Mosquito repellant candles containing citronella or geraniol are widely used for repelling mosquitoes in outdoor settings.

Diffuser – Diffusers help distribute the volatile oils in the air at a steady rate. Use a combination of mosquito repellent essential oils in the diffuser for use in the patio or indoors. Here are ten reasons every home needs an essential oil diffuser, and here we review five of the most popular to help you work out which is best for you.

Mosquito repellant sprays – They come handy when you need protection from mosquitoes outdoors. You can mix a number of mosquito repellent essential oils in plain water, or in vodka, witch hazel water or lavender water for extra effect.

How To Make An Essential Oil Mosquito Repellent Spray:

Mix ¼ cup boiling water with ¼ cup vodka and let it cool. Pour it into a glass spritzing bottle and add 5 drops each of lemon eucalyptus oil, cedarwood oil, and catnip oil. Shake well before using the spray.

Skin ointments – Mosquito repellant skin ointments offer direct protection where it is most needed. It can keep you safe from mosquito bites as you step out of the house. You should make sure that you are not allergic to any constituent of the ointment before applying them.

How To Make A Mosquito Repellent Ointment:

Melt ¼ cup of beeswax pellets in a double boiler and add ¼ cup of coconut oil. Take off the heat and allow to cool until a film forms on top. Whip in 5 drops each of lavender, thyme, basil, and citronella oils until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Spread a thin coating on exposed skin to prevent mosquito bites.

Where To Buy Essential Oils

All of the essential oils mentioned in this article are available to purchase on Amazon. The most trusted suppliers of essential oils include Plant Therapy and Edens Garden. Visit their respective marketplaces here and here and add all the oils you need to your basket.

All Set For Mosquito Season

With these effective, all-natural repellent recipes you will be all set for an enjoyable summer season in your backyard without the fear of being interrupted by pesky mosquitoes. Here are a few more articles that will help you fight back this summer:

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