Tonight I had only a short amount of time to work Louie since it was a late night at the office. I turned him out in the arena with one of his young pasturemates. They played and ran and chased and had a grand ol' time together. Louie demonstrated some really nice rollbacks, canter departs on both leads, and some very nice trotting, snorting, and tail flagging. By the time he was done running around he was a little out of breath!
I brought him over to the other side of the barn (the warm side) and decided it was time to try to clean his sheath. He had been rubbing his tail, and I thought this might be the cause. Also, Louie has got a chronically dirty sheath, which I like to try to clean frequently if possible. I had done a little bit of cleaning of his sheath on Thursday, but more was needed, and I was pretty confident he had a bean that needed removal, so I needed to see if I could remove it. Louie stood perfectly while I used a nice soft sponge to rinse his sheath with warm water. I used some excalibur also as Louie tends to build up a lot of gunk inside of his sheath. . . half an hour of washing and scrubbing later Louie's sheath was actually starting to appear clean. I used a tip from another fellow horse lover and had picked up some big dosing syringes from Fleet Farm yesterday, and planned to use this to rinse out his sheath since I didn't have access to warm running water. This syringe method worked great- it wasn't terribly messy and it definitely cleaned out any remaining remnants of excalibur or cotton inside his sheath better than a sponge could.
Finally after the sheath was cleaned, and though Louie never actually dropped sufficiently for me to clean him in his entirety, it was time to go after that bean. A few inches of dropping would do. After a couple of attempts, I was able to remove a large bean, about the size of a kidney bean or a large chili bean, plus several smaller pieces of hardening bean material that were still soft and pliable (this was where I was REALLY glad I had my gloves on haha). I'm sure I did not get everything out, but he'll most likely pee much easier without all that gunk in there.
Louie stood like a champ for this whole procedure. I was super impressed with how well he tolerated it, even the bean removal. A lot of horses need to be sedated for cleanings and bean removal, but if you do it regularly, slowly, and gently, I find that many geldings will tolerate this as part of their routine grooming. And now that I've discovered this super easy and effective syringe method for rinsing, I should be able to do this much more frequently as I had previously been hesitant to clean his sheath during the winter months due to lack of an effective way to rinse out the remnants of my cleaning supplies. Louie got a few treats and a bunch of pets, and went back in his stall for bed time, now squeaky clean(er).