Can I just skip grooming under my horses tail and skip cleaning his anus? Or her anus and her exterior genitals?
As tempting as it is to routinely skip this area, it’s just as important to clean and inspect under the tail as the eyes and feet. There’s a lot that can go on under the tail - some things are benign, some are downright dangerous. Daily handing and grooming of your horse’s under tail area is also a requirement for safe horse handling. It’s absolutely unacceptable for a horse to tell you what you can or can’t look at or touch. This is immediately evident when that untouchable area becomes injured and needs daily attention and medication. Train your horse NOW in order to avoid unraveling your relationship when you need to medicate or handle those untouchable areas LATER.
Small growths like this one can easily be handled before they grow and cause major problems.
So - when it comes to the area under the tail, you will find lots of things. Dirt, crusty sweat, flaky skin are all common. You can also find ticks, cuts and sores, rubbed skin in between butt cheeks, and even growths. You may also find some emergency situations - like a prolapsed rectum or uterus. Prolapsed means that what should be inside is now outside. If you ever watch your horse pass manure, you will notice that at the very end you can see some pink or reddish tissue come out. If it stays out, it’s a life threatening emergency. The same is true for your mare’s reproductive system under the tail.
You may also find that your horse’s manure has changed. This is a sign something is going on - pay attention! It could be as simple as a new delivery of hay, but it’s always good to notice any changes. A sure fire sign is dribbles or crust in between the cheeks and maybe even the underside of the tail hair.
Do you need to clean under the tail with anything special? The answer is no. In fact, if everything looks peachy keen, DO NOT use shampoo or detergents or soap. Any flakes or dirt or dried sweat can be taken care of with water. A rinse with warm water, or a soft sponge or fuzzy washcloth will do. There is no need for a brush or a curry comb here, either.
Sweat and friction can often cause the butt cheeks to lose hair and create sores. OUCH.
It’s when you notice major differences that you need to call the Vet. Mares often have discharge during their estrus cycles, so pay attention to the pattern. Baby wipes are great for this time. You may also find that much further down between the butt cheeks, sores and rubs can happen. Friction from sweat and dirt and exercise can rub away the skin, a little bit of ointment helps to heal these sores and provide some grease to prevent new ones. These can happen in geldings, too!
This is just your horse's butt. It needs to be monitored for health, too!
Any new growths, discharges, sores, or questions that you have need to be discussed with your Veterinarian. It’s all about keeping your horse healthy - from top to bottom and front to back!