I have added this page for important subjects that don't always fit under a heading and which are critical to the health and happiness of our horses. Palamino



If we are diligent owners of male horses we will know that SHEATH CLEANING is part of good horse health care.  However, not many of us know that we actually have to look inside the head of the penis to check for urinary beans.

What is a Urinary Bean?

When cleaning the sheath we are removing what is known as smegma.  This is a build up of sweat, dirt, gland secretion and urine.  This can then form waxy, hard balls or beans in the urethral diverticulum, which is the pocket near the urethra, near the end (head) of the penis.(See picture below)

Urinary_BeansThese little (or sometimes large) beans cause a lot of pain and then start all sorts of trouble!

Some of the issues that could be caused by the pain of a urinary bean:

  • Difficulties urinating
  • Urinary infections
  • Unexplained colic pain
  • Discomfort using the hind legs
  • Bucking
  • Not wanting to go forward when ridden
  • Shortening of his stride
  • Various behaviour changes associated with pain e.g. bad tempered, etc.

How do I check for Urinary Beans?

In order to check for these beans the next time you are cleaning your horses sheath gently pull back the skin from the head of the penis and check inside. (See picture below)


Sheath Cleaning


Here are a few important points:


  • Be patient, gentle and don't be in a rush or rough as it is not kind to your horse and you may end up injured.
  • Make sure you have a quiet, safe environment that will make your horse feel secure.
  • Do not use any strong iodine based soap while cleaning this sensitive area (sheath or penis head) as this will cause irritation, drying out and / or burning.
  • There are cleaning products on the market especially for this purpose e.g. Excalibur,  available over the website in Germany.
  • An alternative to soap is KY Jelly - only if you use this do you not have to rinse afterwards
  • If you use soap ensure that you rinse the area thoroughly.
  • If you have never done this before start by slowly desensitising your horse to having his genitals handled by humans. Take your time with this step and you can avert many problems in the future.
  • If your horse is definately not open to this you can ask your vet to tranquilise him.  You could also schedule to do it the next time he has his teeth attended to and has had a tranquilizer.
  • Remember not to put yourself at risk.

How often should I clean my horses sheath and check for beans?

If the process is done thoroughly, every six months should be more than sufficient.

Gelding Trauma

In my experience alot of geldings have had traumatic gelding experiences.  Most associate the handling of their genitals with pain and trauma.  They will have to be given extra time, patience and understanding to overcome this!

Note that no information given on this website should be considered a substitute for consulting your veterinarian, or relevant professional.