lost creek llamas


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If you don't rescue ...






















Showing -- Performance Classes

Performance classes judge the handler and llama as a team, usually as they negotiate obstacles of various types. The standard classes are obstacle, PR (public relations), pack, obstacle driving, and pleasure driving.

Although any llama's ability to compete successfully in performance classes can be enhanced greatly by knowledgeable, expert training and a LOT of practice, only a small percentage of llamas have the natural talent and disposition to truly excel.

Performance classes used to be fun and challenging, and also affordable. Now the trend is to require entry in "double shows" (one course, two judges, what a ripoff!), to make the novice classes so hard that new participants are kicked out before getting very far on the course (rightly discouraging them from ever entering showing again), and even the advanced classes (populated entirely by semi-professionals) are so "sanitized" that the activities have no basis in reality. Add in a lot of freaky, herd-bound llamas very much like alpacas and nothing like the llamas that were typical 20-30 years ago ... the "good old days" when shows were for fun and "the money" stayed away in abject horror really WERE the "good old days" ... oh, well.

The obstacle class contains various activities that may or may not relate to real-life purposes, but do test the training and trust of the llama and the skills of the handler.



Left: Ranger Dusty and Gwen

(photo courtesy of WILA)





Below: Nubin Sydney and Jim
(both photos by Diana Pyle)

The PR class is intended to test the llama and handler at tasks they may encounter on public relations excursions such as school or nursing home visits.



Right: Spiritus and Jim





The pack class is supposed to test the llama's packing skills, but instead tests his or her training and trust and the handler's skills (just as in the obstacle class) while wearing a lightly weighted (40 pound) pack. Activities are often counter to what a pack llama would actually be expected to do, such as stepping over a very high barrier (instead of jumping, which is both easier and safer)


Hyder Llamas Sahalie with Jim

(photo at left by Diana Pyle)




Sydney and Jim negotiate a complex waterfall obstacle complete with steps, ramp, narrow bridge and live ducks. This wonderfully elaborate obstacle is unfortunately an exception.

1996 Nevada State Fair, Reno NV

(photo courtesy of Barbara Papp)





The obstacle driving class is intended to test llama cooperation, calmness, and maneuvering skills. Where there is inadequate space and a poor surface (as is often the case), the llamas often become frustrated.


Gwen guides Dusty between a pair of cones; the mailbox obstacle is in the background. This is an appropriately spacious course.

(photo courtesy of INLA)




The pleasure driving class may be an evaluation of a llama's ability to pleasure drive, or it may be a test of the llama's agreement to go in circles despite other llamas refusing to do so, or it may even be an evaluation of which turnout looks best to the judge. Driving classes are only offered at a few shows.


Ranger Dusty trots around the "arena," an unfortunately typical example of the poor driving surfaces and environments at llama shows: small, lined with obstacles from other classes, and deep footing making draft difficult.

(photo courtesy of INLA)


Performance Champion and Reserve are awarded to the entries that accumulate the greatest and second greatest number of performance points if three or more performance classes are offered. A number of shows used to avoid offering three or more performance classes so that the only champions at a show will be the halter champions; others offer two performance classes and a show performance champion so that the only champions that will count towards ALSA regionals, nationals, and cumulative awards will be the halter champions. Nowadays, the show associations are suffering so badly that even placings are often not necessary to enter regional and national shows!



Ranger Dusty with Gwen

23-time Show Performance Champion, more than any other llama in history!

Shown here after earning Performance Champion at the 1994 COLA Festival

(photo by Diana Pyle)





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