Lost Creek Sagehopper
ILR # 285352
female b. 6-10-2012
click on the photo to see more pictures of Sage on ipernity
Sage has that wonderful standard-length, sheds-with-just-a-slicker-brush Classic coat and all the key physical attributes we like to see in a future packer. Her movement is strong and athletic, she's light on her feet, and her gaits are excellent. Channelled properly, Sage's grit and determination will be a very valuable attribute on the trail as well. Sage's inquisitive nature and curiosity is the delightful frosting on a sound, working llama "cake". Sage has become much more interactive with humans as she matures.
We are increasingly enjoying Sage as she responds exponentially well to our individualized approach, but recognize that she probably won't ever be suitable for people who want (or need) their llamas to have cookie-cutter-programmed-type behavior. It's not that she's difficult to handle, but rather that ignorant or forceful handling could make her that way very quickly — Sage instinctively responds to even mild force with all the force she can muster in opposition, and she needs ample time between sessions to digest each lesson component. The force response is a fine survival attribute in the wild, but not when the survival threat is impatient and controlling humans (of which there are probably more than not). The "long digestion" issue underscores Sage's requirement for a very patient, intellectually-inclined human. Fortunately for Sage, she is growing up here, where the humans listen and understand (but also gently persist).
Because Sage's personality challenges aren't apparent in any of her ancestors that we are familiar with (as much as three generations back), we consider her to be breeding-quality-on-probation. The rest of the package is too good, and the Classic llama gene pool increasingly too bottlenecked to take her out of production outright. However, Sage is rather closely related to one of our next-generation studs (Scioty) and a half-sib to the other (Koa), so we have to considering either letting her go, or finding a suitable stud for purchase or stud service (much harder than it would seem — most "working" llamas are actually unproven, woolly, full of woolly and nonworking genes, and/or much too large for the longevity we value).
Sage's coat is very reminiscent of sagebrush — grey-brown and coarse — and of the wide open spaces of the Great Basin sagebrush country. There was no such thing as a "sagehopper" ... until now. Sagehopper is a traveller, not planted in place! And, to paraphrase, young Sagehopper also has much to learn.