ILR # 57096
gelding b. 1-15-1986 ... d. 3-17-12
Deacon's Rhett Butler x Violet
photo by Diana Pyle
click on the photo to see more pictures of Sydney on flickr®
Sydney was Jim’s showing partner for 13 years and had a knack for finding his own entertainment (translation: trouble!). He was 44.25" at the withers, and ran around 315 pounds when younger and in good condition. Age took some of his muscle mass, and at the end, Syd puttered around the farm (still looking for trouble) at a lighter weight of 280 pounds ... then less, and less, and less.
Sydney helds the ALSA titles of Champion, Performance Champion, Halter Champion, Grand Champion, and Elite Champion. He has earned four ALSA Recognition of Merit certificates: Halter, Obstacle, PR, and Pack. His impressive career-end total of 475 points was second only to Ranger Dusty, and was substantially higher than any other nonbreeding llama in ALSA.
For years, Sydney found showing and especially being in the public eye very much to his liking, and he was quite the ham. However, even too much of a fun thing gets boring eventually, and when Sydney’s performances became stale more and more often, we made the decision to retire him from the show ring before he made the decision for us, possibly under less-than-politically-convenient circumstances (knowing how he liked to be …).
Sydney drew packing duty for various reasons, but was a mediocre packer at best (he pointed out that “pack,” “hill,” and “work” are all four-letter words). Actually, Sydney had a conformational defect that made packing uphill difficult for him, and so we minimized his loads and distances (note: none of those “highly trained ALSA judges” ever spotted it, either ... even though it’s always clearly discernable from the rear). Sydney also drove, but we had to be unusually cautious to train him in a way that did not risk promoting physical problems.
Sydney’s lumbosacral defect finally began to catch up with him in early 1999, and so he was retired from driving, and semi-retired as a packer. He continued to show in pack classes after that, however, because the class demands were very minimal and caused him no discomfort.
Syd still used his many years of skill to teach rookie humans about packing and ground driving, and although he lost muscle mass to aging, he never lost any of his curiosity.
Sydney liked children, teasing other llamas, finding things that annoy adult humans, and being recognized as a star.
Sydney came to us with the boring name “Juan II”. No kidding. We tried out a few different names, and hit on Sydney (like Australia, lotsa orange-red dirt down there, ya know?), and prefaced that with “Nubin”, a long-running family joke name for “thingamajigger”, which is what llamas (especially their feet) initially looked like to Gwen and which we tacked on to all of our lamas with guanaco blood. Sydney is in actual fact 1/8 guanaco. So much for that “any guanaco in ’em makes ’em untrainable” theory, eh?