I don’t know anyone who likes to clean a horse’s sheath. It is messy and the smell stays with you forever. Most horses that are out in pasture rarely need to have their sheaths cleaned because they are not exposed to lots of moist bedding and they can move around. That being said, the Earth horse temperament can still get a swollen sheath under the best of conditions.
The Earth horse is more prone to a swollen sheath for several reasons. First, the Earth horse tends to move around less than other horse temperaments. The Earth horse is all about energy conservation. I have a Fire horse temperament and my friend has a Earth horse. When we let them graze my Fire horse will drag me all over the place to get that perfect, tender blade of grass. My friend’s Earth horse will stay in one place and eat every bite so that the ground looks like a parking lot before she moves on. Lack of movement will slow drainage of lymphatic fluid so this fluid may accumulate in the sheath. If this is the case more exercise is the best treatment. If exercise is not enough to take down the swelling then the nutritional product Equinacea will help to stimulate lymphatic drainage.
Second, the Earth horse is prone to aggravations from damp conditions. Humid, hot weather can cause an Earth horse to retain fluid that accumulates in the sheath area. If the fluid stays for any length of time the sheath area can get a secondary bacterial infection. A change in the diet may help clear the excess dampness. Fat forms dampness in the body so it may need to be fed in smaller quantities during humid weather. Alfalfa hay and carrots also help clear dampness. Digestive enzymes and blue green algae both help clean the blood and clear dampness. They will also help the Earth horse temperament have a bit more energy. Cleaning with a tea tree based sheath cleaner will help remove bacteria. Be sure and rinse with plenty of clean water.
To help or prevent a swollen sheath in the Earth horse:
- Encourage exercise
- Keep him in a pasture not a stall
- Feed Equinacea if needed for lymphatic drainage
- Feed less fat in the diet
- Add alfalfa hay, carrots, digestive enzymes and blue green algae to the diet
- Clean the sheath with a tea tree oil based cleaner and rinse well
Sheath cleaning is a messy job. You don’t like it and the horse does not like it so use diet and management whenever possible to keep the sheath of the Earth horse healthy. –Madalyn
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For more information about feeding based on horse temperament type check out The Feeding Guide
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