Hyder Llamas Sahalie
ILR # 73465
female b. 8-21-89 ... d. 2-22-05
Hyder Llamas Apple Jack x Taffy
click on the photo to see more pictures of Sahalie on flickr®
Sahalie was our first female llama, and she was in charge of the female herd. She was 44.25" at the withers, and averaged 290 pounds. Sahalie had a particular affinity for Jim, perhaps because she and Gwen were too much alike.
Despite her classic coat, Sahalie placed Grand Champion Light Wool or Light/Medium Wool Female four times at halter. She also won several ALSA pack and driving classes. During the 1995 show season, Sahalie finally fessed up that she did not like fairs (where there's a lot of commotion and everybody stares at her like she's some kind of dumb thing), and that she no longer wanted any part of those performance classes in which the object is to scare llamas — which had increasingly become the norm by that time — so she no longer attended shows after that. That was soon really no problem, because we were no longer going to llama shows either!
Sahalie really enjoyed driving and packing, and much prefered these activities to raising babies. Her breeding schedule was structured so that she could enjoy her favorite activities all summer without the responsibility of nursing or the burden of late pregnancy. And, as with all our females, Sahalie got periodic year-long vacations from producing offspring. When we produced a mature daughter (Olallie) who was an improvement, Sahalie was retired from breeding — a notion she didn't have any problem with. This turned out to be a fortuitous decision. To make a long and complicated story very short, it appears that Sahalie's rear leg conformation was more than the superficial assessment, "less powerful than ideal" — it hid another, much more serious weakness (a predisposition to patellar laxity) that emerged in Jack, Olallie, and Kilchis (the three are sired by two different studs). So all of Sahalie's descendants are neutered or retired from breeding now, too.
Sahalie was Jim's first female packer at a time when the mere suggestion of female llamas as anything but untrained walking incubators was a big taboo. You can read about the myths they debunked and what they learned in "My New Packing Buddy," which originally appeared in The Backcountry Llama.
Jim found Sahalie dead in the pasture one evening; she had been bouncing around with him that morning. The necropsy revealed that she died of peritonitis, but the cause was inconclusive.
Regardless of why Sahalie died, her absence was a stunning blow to us, especially Jim. There are no words to describe the loss of a long-term llama friend who did so much.
"Sahalie" means "higher" or "upper" in the Chinook language. Sahalie took that to mean her position as head female in our herd was justified.