Monday, June 22, 2009

Learning the Basics

There are so many things to learning llamas, and you would think that by now my years of horse experience would have given me some good old-fashioned horse sense. Whenever I summon those years and think of llamas as smaller, faster, and definitely smarter-than-horses-critters, I usually do just fine. But all my years with horses were within a barn community, with help a stall mate away. Fortunately for me, my llama helper is my breeder, Carol Reigh, and here's a segment of her email, which built my confidence and gave me some permanent instruction. I've gone back to it again and again.

Put one animal in a catch area at a time to halter. Walk after them as they move and gradually they will tire and you will be able to put the lead over their back or around their neck. If you put the rope around them be sure to adjust it up to around their head if you need to move them. Sometimes it works to just halter them as they stand without getting too fussy. The halter buckle is on the left side of the llama so you will want to get on the left hand side of the animal to halter them and do the buckle. Hold the halter on the sides in front of their nose and they will usually try to jam their heads in. Cierra really does that. Tess puts her nose up in the air and Rev just tries to talk you out of it. (smile) Got to love her. Sometimes I give them a treat (grain) after I halter them but you have to have it in your pocket so you can do it fast.

Walk them with them on your right (their left). If they try to walk ahead of you, put your hand in front of their nose and they usually will not go past your hand.
Ok, enough of a llama lesson. You did great today. You just need to know that you can do it. When you do halter them. Take one out for a short walk and to graze the grass even it is for 5 minutes. That way they will not always associate the halter with bad things like shots, shearing, grooming.

Thank you, Carol, for being the gift that keeps giving.

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