Who knew this was even a 'thing'!
Dogs have been enjoying agility classes for decades, so why not llamas?
Llama shows around the country have often showcased a llama's ability to tackle obstacles - but far from being simply a crowd-pleasing gimmick, llama agility training really does help a llama to bond fully with their handler. Llamas are beasts of burden and have developed over centuries to work for man, carrying loads for them on many a mountain trail. These days, westernised llamas have a much easier lifestyle, but if you trek with your llamas, or even just walk them off your land, you will sooner or later encounter an obstacle of one form or another.
A plastic bag flapping in the hedgerow, a fallen tree that needs to be stepped over, branches, rubbish bins or fly tipping that weren't there the last time you passed - these will all be viewed upon as a possible threat (challenge) by your llama and they may put up resistance to pass unless they really, really trust you. They are, after all animals who are preyed-upon and you need to be able to safely override their fight or flight mechanism. By working with them on an agility course and learning how to tailor your obstacles to things you may come across whilst out on a walk, will help strengthen your bond with your llama and help gain their trust.
Setting up an agility course for your llama needn't be an expensive exercise.
Llamas are very curious creatures and many thrive on the mental stimulation that an obstacle course provides. Like with humans though - not all enjoy exercise, some llamas are happiest left munching on a bale of hay, watching their field mates jumping through hoops!
The sessions are suitable for anyone over the age of 10 years old and you do not need to own your own llamas in order to book an agility session. You just need a sense of fun, (very) basic fitness and possibly a pair of wellingtons (depending on the weather!).
The llama agility sessions last for around 90 minutes and cover:
What your llama is thinking when faced with a new obstacle
How to override the fight or flight response
Making your own obstacle course from everyday objects
Plans and instructions for setting up your own course
Encouraging your llama(s) to learn a new skill
Off-lead and on-lead agility methods
Resources list for further information
You will learn all the above (and much more) in the field setting, whilst being hands on with my herd of llamas. Some are trained, others are not, so it will be a great learning experience for you as different techniques need to be employed with different llamas. Above all else though, these sessions should be fun for everyone (llamas included), so rest assured if one llama really doesn't want to participate - we never force them too. Often, curiosity wins over and even the most reluctant llama at the start of the session is clamouring to have a go by the end!
Pretty much the full 90 mins is hands-on with the llamas and all information covered will be given to you at the end of the session in the form of handouts which you can take away with you to read through at your leisure.
If you are local to Somerset, I am happy to provide training and advice for you, with your llamas - on your land
please contact me for more information.
All sessions must be pre-booked in advance and are currently carried out in accordance with national coronavirus regulations.
A 50% deposit to secure your session is taken at the time of booking.