Biomechanical and Conformational
The only valid criteria for a performance
llama are excellence in performance and soundness over time.
Not all llamas are trained and proven or testable. Evaluation
of the performance prospect is based on educated guessing. The
more educated you are, the better your guesses will be. To evaluate
propensity for ability -- endurance and stamina, pace, and soundness
-- the studies of conformation and biomechanics come into play.
is concerned with efficiency of physical operation in a living
being. By definition, all animals have varied purposes (eating,
defense, reproduction); domestic animals have additional human-imposed
tasks, but also decreased needs for some purposes (primarily
there are mechanical ideals for all elements of movement, a biological
organism must necessarily compromise some ideals to include others.
Biomechanical ideals for soundness, stability, and movement --
all desirable elements in a working llama -- are frequently in
concerns the physical characteristics of the llama's body. Functional
conformation is correctly evaluated from the inside out and from
the spine outward -- NOT from the legs, wool outline, "topline,"
"condition," or ears!
is meaningless drivel until "for what" is also defined.
A single animal may embody perfect conformation for one use and
the worst possible conformation for another use.
To evaluate the performance ability of an
animal, we examine its movement. To predict the soundness of
an animal or to evaluate the source and "fixability"
of movement anomolies, we examine its conformation while it is
What will a video analysis
do for me?
If you are interested in owning, using, or
developing a breeding program for quality athletic performance
llamas without spending years sorting through countless llamas
who are nice enough, but just don't make the grade, our conformation
analysis service will provide you with the critical information
Each analysis provides a detailed description
of every aspect we are able to detect in your video footage regarding
your llama's structure and operation as it is related to both
soundness and biomechanical efficiency.
Our analyses are based on our honest, professional opinion.
You get no fluff, hype, wishy-washy nonanswers
or patronizing commentary. Animals are objectively assessed on
the basis of their structural strengths and weaknesses. On the
other hand, you will get a complete assessment -- and that includes
all the negatives along with the positives.
Our consultation service CAN help breeders
make more informed selection decisions in their attempt to breed
the very best they can, whether the goal is breeding packers,
driving llamas, or simply sound companions.
How does it work?
Send us a videotape of any llama(s) whose
conformation you would like analyzed, using the following guidelines:
- Chose a location with consistent lighting
(not passing through shadows). Overcast is better than bright
sun; in bright light, position yourself so that the sun is behind
the camcorder. Be sure to look for shadow lines from fenceposts
and rails that will obscure details of the llama's legs when
- Gait analysis is only accurate when the llama
is viewed from the side and moving on a level surface. Additional
footage of the llama moving up and down a slope is useful, but
is not critical.
- It is important that the llama wants to go
in the direction s/he is being led. Nervousness and apprehension
can cause stiffness which can seriously affect gait and render
the resultant analysis inaccurate.
- Include the llama's full body in the frame
-- be careful not to cut off feet and pasterns.
Include ample footage (several times) of the
- from the front, walking straight toward the
- from the side, walking, jogging and running
- from the rear, walking straight away
from the camera
After receipt and review of your videotape,
we will provide a detailed written analysis based on what we
have seen, including any requested recommendations that may apply
to specific consults.
You should then review your videotape along
with our written comments to best understand the information
and perspective of our analysis. Next, you should use that information
in combination with your knowledge of other aspects we can't
address -- for instance, we obviously can't assess most temperament
traits from a videotape, and can only make educated guesses as
to whether an individual has appropriate composition of wool
type for a working llama. Only you can weigh the total package
of attributes and detriments in each animal as an individual
-- against your ideals and against other llamas you may already
own -- and make your own decision as to whether this animal suits
your selection requirements.
What does it cost? How long
will it take?
Cost is $30 per llama analyzed, with a $3
return postage charge for each videotape.
The turnaround time is variable, depending
on how many llamas you include on a videotape for conformation
analysis, and how many other consultations are pending at that
time. And because we continue to show and pack with our own llamas,
we may not be able to work on video analyses immediately if the
timing isn't good. We do try to get our response back within
no more than 30 days (preferrably within 15 days) of receipt
of the videotape.
Does it work?
That depends on how (or if) you choose to
use the information we provide. However, our clients tell us
that our input has been an important or even the pivotal factor
in their decisions. You are unlikely to find biomechanically
detailed and accurate analyses of individual animals from any
other source. Our clients also say that they appreciate our honesty
and candor, and that they have begun to look at their llamas
in an entirely different way.
Further reading: Conformation,
Utility, and Llamas
AND COMING SOON: (From Lost Creek
The Functional Llama
A series of videos explaining each physical
aspect of llamas that affects performance. This series will be
a must-have for all serious performance llama breeders, and for
all prospective buyers who want to maximize their chances of
finding a llama that will suit their needs.
For more information, contact
Return to Lost Creek Llamas