Walking with Alpacas


The first weekend in November we will be in Loveland, Colorado, showing three of our alpacas, Cavatina, Fantine, and our boy Cantu. Everyone already has a couple of ribbons, ranging from blue through white, for halter shows or fleece, or spinoffs. So why continue with two girls who are ready to breed? (We have noticed their come hither looks focused on the boys.)

The truth is, we are doing this for ourselves, for experience. Tom and I have only physically attended one show, last spring in Phoenix where Cantu earned a blue under the tutelage of Don Llewellyn of Fox Run Suri Alpacas and Demi and I ventured out and took a fourth. But we didn’t own Cantu yet. Don took alpacas to other shows, some for us and some for them.

One of the reasons we wanted to raise alpacas besides their beauty and their winning personalities was that we wanted to go to shows. Now that we are moving to Oklahoma, it is unlikely we will be teaming up with the Llewellyns for most shows.

 

Tika took a blue and a color championshipCavatina takes a second.

Cavatina with a red.                        Tika with a blue.

 

 

So if we want our alpacas to continue their winning ways, we figured we’d better get off our duffs and learn a bit more about shows. Don is kindly taking on the task of shepherding us though another show. The first task is haltering our darlings and reminding them how to walk on lead.

About the time our alpacas were weaned, they learned how to wear halters and be walked. So this time it was fairly easy. We simply selected approximately right-sized halters, approached our darlings in their stall after we had allowed every other alpaca to leave, and showed them the halters. With an arm around the neck the halter is slipped on making sure it is high enough on the nose that the alpaca can breathe easily and buckled on the side with room for a couple of fingers to slip easily between the halter and the alpaca.

 

Cavatina and Tom

Cavatina with her halter properly fitted and Tom in control

Tom keeps the lead firmly in his left hand, leaving a bit of slack that he controls by holding with his right hand. He talks to Cavatina (probably about political science or the economy) and his voice helps keep her calm. He will never let go of the lead and does not handle the clasp since the wrong motion can release the alpaca. He does not pull on Cavatina, but reassures her so she naturally comes with him. His right hand may allow slack in the lead until she gets the idea.

Since they are quite timid, always walk two of more alpacas together. You want them as calm as possible and the less stress they feel, the easier they will be to walk.

Coming soon, haltering cria.

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Walking with Alpacas”

  1. tazzieval Says:

    Lovely story – I am looking forward to the next few – I think you have exciting times ahead.. I am showing our Suri wether in a few weeks, for fun. His fleece is simply fantastic and we are a little sorry now we wethered him. But reality bites when there is a lot of work to be done by a few…

  2. zenasurialpacas Says:

    We’ve got a boy that was given to us. We can’t show him because he has a spot, one spot on his blanket. At his first shearing, they said his fleece didn’t lock right. Tom didn’t want to geld him, so we said we would see. Now his fleece is gorgeous. We may show the fleece, which is the finest we’ve personally ever seen..

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