Sunday, October 25, 2009

Royal Ranch Royalty


Once upon a time, in a far, far away place (Montrose, CO), some idiot decided that since he couldn't afford hay, he would just let his llamas loose in a far, far away canyon. Well, as llamas do, they bred and bred until my dear friend Lynley saved them. The original herd sire of the group had fought off all of the other males, who were blockaded into one end of the canyon, while he happily produced more llamas with the females at the other end of the canyon.

Lynley is the owner of Colorado Llama Rescue, and has been a great mentor to me, but even better, has become a lifelong friend. If you are from Colorado, you may recognize her as one of Channel 7's Everyday Hero's. And, the title really fits. Lynley has hundreds of llamas (and many other animals, too) that have come from all sorts of terrible backgrounds or that have crazy health issues. She even has a pig that used to be a skin grafting donor for one of the Denver area hospitals. So, to say the least a visit to her ranch is a real adventure.

Royal Llama Adventures was slowly growing, and Lynley needed a hand with all of the llamas that she had taken in from the Montrose Canyon, so we ended up with a few of them. Flash being the most impressive. He is built like a rock, huge front legs, nice large chest, and very good conformation; he is going to be a great pack llama for us. Flash is also considered an Appaloosa, so his wool is gorgeous, I'm dying to get my hands on it. That is if we can ever get the sucker trained!

I have a strong opinion (gee, really?) that animals that are born into the wild, stay pretty wild, and Flash and his buddy's that were born out in that remote mountainous terrain have been the hardest llamas we have ever worked with. Flash is extraordinarily smart and knows how to get away from us, so is difficult to get into a catch pen anyway. A catch pen is a 12 ft x 12 ft pen that you make to work with the llamas. Once we get him in there, the rodeo is on!

Llamas are very head shy, so for them to overcome that fear and allow us to put a halter on them can take quite some time, and with Flash that is proving to be years. This last Spring Tom finally got the halter on him, only to be drug around because of Flash's wild bucking and twisting and snorting. We were actually afraid he was going to injure himself. The thing with llamas is to end any training session on a good note, you know, positive reinforcement? Well, with his head laying on the ground and his butt up in the air, breathing like he was about to croak, we figured that was as good as time as any to let him loose. Actually, I don't think Tom could have held on much longer anyway. I have the easy part, just yelling instructions-ha!

So, we tried again in a couple of days, and this time it went a tiny bit easier, that was until he got out of the catch pen with Tom and the halter flying behind. One of our other llamas saw he was in distress and decided to attack him with Tom at the end of the lead. I immediately started fighting off Two Eagles by screaming like a banshee and throwing my arms in the air, all the while chasing him away from Flash. So, Tom finally got Flash to stand still for a minute while I kept Two Eagles at bay and got the halter off as quickly as possible.

That was one for the record books, too bad we didn't have video, it would've been worth the $100,000! So, needless to say, it has been awhile since we worked with Flash, I'm thinking next Spring will be here soon enough! I wonder what our neighbors think of us? LOL!

Have a miracle of a day!

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