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

Winter is coming to a close and quite possibly, your mare has collected some mud in her udder. 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 one sure fire reason that they rub at their tail docks is due to itchy udders and sheaths.  Those areas are almost impossible for a horse to reach on his own, so he/she does the best they can by rubbing the tail dock.


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 mares 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 or if you mare is not familiar with you checking her udders), 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 not a horse trainer but I do know to 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 full of ‘beans’ which are crusty pellets that sit in there, becoming 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.

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.


Previous to today,  I used only warm water, mild soap and a soft cloth to clean udders.  This was fine; until I found something much better!

Today, I tried Equi-Spa Udder/Sheath cleaner.  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.

The reason why is because it works  so. much. better.  Totally a breeze.  Liquidates and soothes.

I brought out my bucket of warm water, my soft cloth and my Equi-Spa udder cleaner.   (They also make 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.

I started with Tess because she is the easiest.  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.


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

So, I’m sold.


I emailed Equi-Spa 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 EquiSpa Sheath and Udder Cleaner, here is the link.  It is only $17 and it goes a long way.



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2 comments have been posted...

  1. Sharon Baum

    I love Eqi-Spa! I even bought some for my friends at our barn last Christmas so their horses could have the experience…we all love it. My maiden mare will back right up to me for her cleaning, and my mini gelding grooms me while I clean his sheath…LOL! Love the Balm too.

  2. KD Huff

    One of my mares will position herself next to me so that I can scratch and clean her udders. She actually will stop me on the way to the feed shed. :) I do this often with both mares and rarely need to use a solution. Since it has been so hot this summer, I’ll hose them off a time or two per week and rinse their “privates” and between their thighs as well. Good to know that you recommend that line of products in case I need anything. Thanks ! KD in Florida

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