LANA Early Summer Newsletter 2018

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LANA NEWS! Llama Association of North America! Early Summer Edition 2018

The llama llearning opportunities abounded with the mini clinic, side bar discussions, shared stories, and experiences on the trail. The camaraderie was a great highlight. ~ Sue Rich

LANA’s LLAMPING TRIP Sly Park Pollock Pines, California

! ! Greetings Fellow Llama Enthusiasts, !




Sly Park Llamping Group Photo


President’s Message


LANA Board of Directors


LANA Business Office


Editor’s Note


My Adventure with the USDOT


Keeping Your Animals Safe


Celebrating Bella


Bella Gets a Second Chance


Ag Days Fish Aren’t the Only Animals


Sonoma County Ag Days


El Dorado County 4-H Show


Pasture Schooners


Sly Park II - LANA’s Llamping Trip 22 LANA Youth Contest




LANA T-Shirts





LANA Versatility Competition October 26-29, 2018 ALSA Nationals, Kansas


Youth Article & Art Contest Deadline November 1, 2018


LANA Hobo Show February 3-4, 2019, Turlock, CA Kids & Camelids Show April , 2019, Turlock, CA


I want to thank all of you for your continued membership in this organization. The LANA Board of Directors has responded to member suggestions by continuing to offer the Hobo show in February, quarterly newsletters, support for Lama Lifeline and funding Morris Animal Foundation camelid research as well as by adding a youth only show in March and an overnight hiking trip in June. All of these activities are thriving and that is due to the hard work and generous support of members.


The LANA board has also been working on creating a webinar on disaster preparedness to benefit our members as well as non-LANA folks interested in viewing it for a small fee. LANA will continue to support its annual awards, the youth programs, and the ALSA Grand Nationals Versatility award. Please make sure you and your animals are qualified to participate in versatility at Nationals.


If you are interested in becoming more involved in LANA or if there is anything you would like more information on, please contact one of the board members ( /) or send an email to


Michelle Kutzler, DVM, PhD, DACT Llama Association of North America, President

! LANA Board of Directors !

 3966 Estate Drive
 Vacaville CA 95688 707.447.5046

Michelle Kutzler President Chene Mogler Vice President Sue Rich Secretary Joy Pedroni Treasurer, LANA Business Office, Webmaster DeeAnn Forrester Director Jana Kane Director Kathy Nichols Director, Newsletter Editor Dolly Peters Director Cathy Spalding Advisory Chair

Please contact the LANA Business Office for Member Services, Advertisements, Event Calendar updates, and any llama- , alpaca-, or LANA-related questions you may have. Visit LANA at:

! LANA News DISCLAIMER LANA News is published for educational purposes only. The information published herein is solely the opinion of the authors and does not necessarily represent the view of LANA, its Directors or Officers. LANA’s acceptance of advertising does not imply endorsement of any products or services whatsoever. Articles, letters, editorials and other contributions are welcome and may be edited for brevity. Inclusion and placement is solely at the discretion of the Editor. Before undertaking any herd work with your animals, you are advised to always consult with your veterinarian.

! THANK YOU for CONTRIBUTING Thank you to the following for their contribution to this newsletter: Eva Blevins, Trish Brandt Robuck, Jerry Dunn, Laura Findlay, Leilani Garcia, Michelle Kutzler, Maureen Macedo, Stephanie Pedroni, Suzann Penry, and Sue Rich,

Editor’s Note: Many thanks to Joy Pedroni for organizing the LANA Llamping trip, to Greg Hartford for his presentation, and to the folks who participated in this fun event. Everyone had a great time. Don’t miss this trip next year. Sadly, LANA had to cancel the Party Performance Show due to lack of entries. If you plan to show, please preregister. At the least, let the show secretary know that you will be attending via email or phone call. The “Keeping Your Animals Safe” article is from an old LANA Expo notebook. There is a lot of good, useful information. Please read it and adapt it to your needs.



! My Adventure with U.S. Dept. of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration AKA – What? I need a USDOT number? by Laura Findlay If you are on Facebook you may have read the uproar over the new regulations pertaining to hauling animals over state lines for commerce brought to you by FMSCA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).

whether I needed a USDOT number. Mainly if I goggled CVC (California Vehicle Code) 34500 under F, I got some real pertinent information. If your Truck’s GVWR is over 10,000 and your Trailer is over 10,000 which

The way the regulation reads is if you are hauling animals for commerce, meaning, selling animals, taking them to shows to win prize money, breeding for fees, writing off your mileage on your taxes. This is considered commerce. This also includes bass fishermen hauling trailers and competing in tournaments. It is a very broad regulation, very confusing and time consuming. So, heck, why not, I just jumped right in to see how hard it was.

combined = 20,001 you will need a USDOT number. Mine was not. If the combination of your Motor truck and trailer when coupled together exceeds 40ft. You will need a USDOT number. Mine does so I win!!!!! To obtain a USDOT number, it is very easy, but a little confusing. You must get it on the internet by going to https:// (FMSCA) once there you can click on all kinds of questions and answers and apply for your USDOT number. I recommend giving the application the least amount of information possible. Don’t make it sound like you have a fleet of vehicles unless you do. You are most likely a sole-proprietorship hauling livestock occasionally going to shows to win ribbons.

The most significant piece of information I learned was by calling our California CHP. I goggled California CHP – Commercial Vehicle Section 916-843-3400 and asked them many questions. They were very happy to answer all my questions on 4



! We do this for recreation, for fun! Don’t make it sound like it is a large company with a fleet of vehicles, unless it is. The cost of obtaining a USDOT number is free. But, beware…….the compliance companies will start calling you as soon as you hit the done button and have successfully gotten your USDOT number. I just told each and every one of them that we do not speak to compliance companies. After you have obtained your USDOT number you should receive a letter and/or phone call from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation FMCSA asking you to call them to complete the process This puts you into a que and within 12 months you are required to either have a safety

! !


inspection of your truck and trailer or have an on line inspection which I am hoping for. You are required to have on board, a fire extinguisher, a First Aid Kit and reflective cones or triangles, plus log book A couple of mistakes I made. Don’t bother the DMV, they will throw you down a rabbit hole. Don’t be proud of your farm name and tell them you sell animals and transport them as part of your business. Keep it on the down low. LASTLY – this is my experience with the DOT and obtaining a number as I felt I had to comply. Your needs could be different than mine. My hope is to share with you my experience of actually obtaining the USDOT number.

Scott and Laura Findlay Alpacas of El Dorado Somerset, CA 5

KEEPING YOUR ANIMALS SAFE Nobody likes the idea of a natural or a man-made disaster, but with a little advance planning by you and your local group, a stressful and/or dangerous situation for you and your animals can be avoided.


The best way to avoid a problem in the future is by taking a look around your home and farm or ranch now. What type of natural disasters can occur around you? Wildfires, floods, sever winter weather, mudslides, wind storms that can topple trees? These are all things that are not predicable. They may or may not happen == that’s Mother Nature. But being aware that they might happen and taking some steps to make yourself and your animals safe is a first step.


In the case of wildfires: Make sure that you create a safe barrier around your home and barns. Clear away brush and undergrowth that could spread fire quickly. Create a barrier of green around your home and barn. Install sprinklers and/or irrigation that could be turned on and left running in an emergency. Keep firefighting tools in one location (shovels, rakes, ladder, and hoses). Know when to stay and maybe help stop and advance and when to leave. Fires can spread quickly and you might be overwhelmed.


For floods: If you have a river or creek running through your property or near you, be aware that it could flood. Identify any available high ground on your property or other sites close by. Always position your barn and home above any flood plain that exists. Check with your county planner or extension service for a past history of your area. You want to be familiar with roads that might flood that would cut off you leaving and plan for an alternate route to safety.


In the case of severe winter weather conditions: Have an emergency plan ready. What if snow drifts or ice make it impossible to leave your place? Do you have enough food and water on hand for both you and your animals? What if the power is cut off for an extended time? 6

What type of backup do you have? What needs electricity to keep running – the heater? the water pump? What sources of alternative heat do you have? Do you have enough shelter to protect all your animals? Common sense plays a big part in winter safety.


To protect your place and yourself during a severe windstorm: Take a look up and around for your home and your barns. Any dead trees or tops that should be cut away before they crack? How about forked trees? These are generally weaker and have a tendency to break off a side during a severe windstorm. How about rotted trees? These could also blow down. If you’re concerned about some trees around you, the best advice is from a reputable tree faller. They can come in and help you determine which ones could be a potential problem.


You and your local group should develop an evacuation plan. Locate potential evacuation sites in your community. Check with your local Humane Society to see if they have an emergency plan in effect and work with them. Find out in advance if they are able to accommodate animals – what kind and how many. You and your local group can work together to develop a similar plan by contacting members and keeping a record of how many animals someone can haul at once; who could accommodate how many extra animals for a day or for a week. Keep in mind, that it might not just be llamas that you’d be hauling or accommodating. What other types of animals would you be willing to take on? Break your area down into sections especially if it encompasses many square mile and develop an emergency phone tree. Find out who is in that section that will act as a contact. They would be responsible for contacting everyone in their section during an emergency and making sure that they are okay, or if they need assistance. You should develop this list and pass it out to everyone in your area and also give a copy with the Humane Society or Red Cross.

Since most llama people I know don’t keep halters on their animals at all times. During an emergency evacuation it’s going to be necessary to get animals haltered quickly, and it might not just be by you. Do you have enough halters for everyone in your herd? Will they fit? Checking halters frequently for proper fit and then marking a tag either on the halter or on a peg/nail on your barn wall will make it easy to find quickly. If you can put tags on your halters, make sure to include your name and phone number at a minimum. The name of the animal is helpful, and when all else fails and time is pressured, duct tape works wonders! Make sure you keep identification information with you to verify ownership. A photo album of your animals with current pictures is useful.


Besides a photo album, you need to have medical records readily available to take with you. In case of an emergency, it may come in helpful to have vaccination records and medical history, especially on any special needs animals. Also, have your veterinarian’s contact information.


If your coming into an emergency season (winter, fire, etc.) it’s best to check your trailer and truck for any maintenance. Make sure the tires have correct pressure and are lubed properly; brakes are in working order. Keep your truck’s gas level full and ready to move at all times. You might want to practice loading with some of those animals that never seem to leave the farm. The middle of an emergency situation is not the time to find out you have a stubborn animal who refuses to load..


During a disaster: Remain calm and follow your plan. Listen to the Emergency Broadcast System on your portable radio for information and special instructions. If you have to evacuate, take your animals (use your phone tree), records, emergency kit, food and water with you. Call in advance to make sure that space is available at

the location set aside for relocating your animals. If you have to leave your animals at home, make sure that they will be secure and have plenty of food and water.


After a disaster: If an animal is lost, contact your local County Emergency Operations Center and report to the animal coordinator. Listen to your radio for updates. You should keep your photo album and medical records handy for verifying ownership of your animals.


If you find any lost animals, confine them separately from yours. Report them to the Operations Center. Make sure that you use caution when approaching and handling strange or frightened livestock. Be aware that landmarks may have changed and animals can become confused and lost. Check your pastures and corrals for damage and any foreign objects that might harm the animals. Be on the lookout for downed power lines. You may encounter wildlife that have been displaced or are disoriented – use caution.


The old Boy Scout motto of “Being Prepared” holds a lot of truth. By taking some preliminary steps and using common sense, you can save yourself and your animals a lot of stress and anxiety if an emergency situation were to occur. Let’s hope that you never have to put your emergency plan into action!


Editor’s note: Since this article was written many years ago, social media has become a successful and quick way to get information and updates. Here in Northern California, animal evacuation centers posted their need for feed and supplies, found animals, space availability and much more. There were organized groups that were ready to haul whatever type of animals that needed evacuation. It was truly wonderful how quickly people came together to help those in need.


Celebrating Bella and her Indomitable Spirit reprinted with permission

Trish Brandt-Robuck and Chuck Robuck, loyal clients, share a special bond with their llama, Bella. Their love for Bella helped her triumph over tragedy and serve as an inspiration for others. In 2010, Bella stepped into a gopher hole and broke her right hind leg. The Robucks’ primary veterinarian, Dr. Robin Skillman (’82) treated her for the broken leg. Despite best efforts to heal the broken leg, her leg worsened when another llama figured how to unlock the gate, and all the llamas left the barn, including Bella. Her leg was not sufficiently healed for this trek around the pastures and up the hills at the Northern California Ranch. It fractured again. They had to make a difficult decision whether to have the leg amputated or to euthanize Bella. The decision was amputation.

!Bella tried to adjust using three legs but was unable to stand.

She seemed to have lost her will to live. Committed to helping Bella, they had her fitted with a prosthetic leg. The determined llama soon returned to her normal life and regained her outgoing personality. Bella is now a member of the Gold Country Amputee Support Group and often provides comfort to fellow amputees at events throughout California.

!For her therapy work, Bella received the 2017 Placer SPCA Hero Award, recognizing those in Placer County who have gone above and beyond to demonstrate the power of human-animal bond and heartfelt efforts to make the community a more compassionate place.

!“This once tragic situation has opened doors to opportunities I never before thought existed,” Trish said. “Bella, once depressed, is now thriving and knows no boundaries with her indomitable spirit.” !The Robucks appreciate the compassionate care their llamas receive at the veterinary hospital. As long-time clients, they could not think of a better way to celebrate Bella than by making a gift in naming a stall at the future Equine Performance Center of the Veterinary Medical Center, which will promote clinical innovation, transformational research discovery, and compassionate healing.

!For information about supporting the Veterinary medical Center, please contact the Office of Development at 530-752-7024.


Bella the Llama Gets a Second Chance

! !

Gold Country Amputee Support Group inducted an honorary member Thursday evening. What makes this member so unique? Bella is a 20-year old llama with a prosthetic leg. Bella was given a cape embroidered in gold with the group’s logo to wear at an induction ceremony at RBR Ranch in Newcastle. Trish Brandt-Robuck, owner of the llama ranch, presented a mug of Bella to Dan Wheat, president of GCASG, in return.


More than seven years ago, Bella stepped in a gopher hole and suffered a compound fracture that later became infected. Without the help of Michael Carlson C.P.O. Bella would have been euthanized. He spent three months and tried three different prototypes. Bella’s prosthesis is conventional technology, nothing fancy. She needed something for a farm setting. The prosthesis is waterproof and has elastic straps to help keep it underneath her weight.

! ! ! ! !

Bella’s been wearing the artificial leg for seven years. “She is well-tempered. She didn’t spit on me so I knew we would work well together,” Carson said. Carlson has created prosthetic limbs for many members of GCASG and has also made a brace for a marabou stork in Florida with a damaged knee. GCASG covers four counties in the area, Placer, Nevada, El Dorado and Yuba. It is the largest group north of the Bay Area. “It is information sharing, is what it is,” Wheat said. “We’ve all had the same issues and problems along the way and only another person who can tell you is another amputee. We all have a story to tell.” The group’s main fundraiser each year is a golf tournament at Turkey Creek Golf Club in Lincoln every October. Meetings are held every other Thursday in Auburn. For more information, call 530-368-7281 or visit


Fish are not the only animals that go to school by Maureen Macedo

Alpacas and llamas are popular at both Ag and Career days at local schools. We’ve been attending school events for several years. Depending on the age group we are reaching out to, the topics can include what’s the difference between a llama and an alpaca, geography lessons, genetics, fiber use, business plans and “what can you do with a llama/alpaca.” Of course, they ask if they spit, and of course we say yes… but not without a reason! We typically are given younger student groups – Kindergarten through Second grade – when attending Ag days. It is amazing how well the camelids deal with these youngsters. For most children it is the first time they have seen an alpaca or llama. Be prepared if you have the little ones. They have a very short attention span. We have found that alternating between information about the animals, letting them get their hands on a fleece, have items made from the fiber for them to pass around, spinning demonstrations and the ultimate, petting the alpaca/llama.

Hughson Elementary School students eagerly await their turn to meet the alpacas.


Maureen and Larry Macedo reside in Turlock, CA on their ten acre ranch where they raise alpacas, llamas, and miniature horses.

Be prepared for any weather, these events take place rain or shine. For instance, this year two of our alpacas had their first experience off the ranch on a very rainy day. The event coordinator did give us an easy up, which we set up to act as a wind break as well as a rain shelter. We were one of the only animal presentations there that day, and we garnered many happy letters from students and an ad in the High School Yearbook. Kindergartners with umbrellas were the first folks these little boys met off the ranch, they handled it better than I did! (There is a reason that I taught Junior High science.) Best to bring two to an event, that way they have a buddy and you can trade off on petting duties if necessary. Important things to find out before you commit to one of these events are: length of time that a class will be with you, what time is the set-up, how many sessions will there be, what age group(s), do they expect handouts, where will you be located to name some of the more issues which need to be resolved early. Be sure to find out not only who the main contact is, but also the school secretary and custodian. The event coordinator is sometimes a parent, so a school contact is important as well. Bring some hay and a water bucket, even if you don’t end up using any of it, better to be prepared. If you are really lucky, the animals will pee or poop. Seriously, this is a good thing and always a source of giggles – be prepared to deal with it matter-of-factly but with humor. This also leads you into a discussion about how many stomachs they have, about their teeth (be sure to have animals that allow you to show their teeth), what they eat and how diet is important to all living things.


"The key to a successful Ag day is to be prepared, to come with a sense of humor and to enjoy the opportunity to share camelids with the students."

Career days are usually with older students – Junior High and High School. Talk about what your educational background is and how it helps you with ranching. For the livestock end, how much property does it take, basic information about breeding, what are the uses of the fiber, shows – halter and performance, packing, hiking and camping. More detailed displays and information is necessary for this type of event. Kids of all ages are fascinated with these South American camelids. Most are familiar with the “Llama, Llama” books, and llamas and alpacas are extremely popular in advertisements and household items right now. Having an opportunity to get am alpaca or llama to a school really shows how calm they can be and does a lot to dispel many misconceptions about them. We do our best to accommodate requests from schools, the smiles on the kids faces (and the adults who accompany them ) make it very worthwhile!

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Sonoma County Ag Days by Suzann Penry Fallen Oak Llamas was invited to participate in Sonoma County Ag. Days on March 13-14, 2018. My first thought was to decline the offer. After all, I had lots of chores to do on the ranch. Then I thought “why not, I ALWAYS have chores”.

Suzann Penry owns Fallen Oak Llamas located in Oregon House, in the Northern California foothills.

Indy and Shoshone settling in at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds.


I chose PFO Indy and Argentine Shoshone to come with me. Shoshone is a very seasoned traveler and llama ambassador. Shoshone had not been off the ranch for 6 years. Indy is people friendly but still acts like a pushy little kid. Indy was a yearling at the time. Bringing these two would have two benefits– Shoshone would teach Indy manners and the kids could see two completely different types of llamas (heavy wool vs. classic).

The weather held during the 3 1/2 hour trip down to Santa Rosa. As I pulled into the barn the rain started coming down. I was greeted by the amazingly friendly staff and directed to the large 24’ llama pen. Adjacent was the 12’ area for my llama display. The staff asked if I was bringing the llamas on the following day. Huge smiles and laughter followed when I told them to look through the tinted windows of the van. It took a few hours to settle the llamas in and set up the display. The fairgrounds supplied excellent animal knowledgeable security in the evening while I went to my motel. I met up with my daughter, Tina, and had dinner with her family. It felt odd not to sleep in my van.

I arrived early the next morning. The big day! I cleaned up and set up the presentation videos. Other adults and 4H kids set up their displays. Draft horses, mini horses, chickens, bunnies, cattle and a pig were all in place. The calm before the storm


At that time, I honestly could not understand why the exhibits were only open from 9 AM to noon. Nine o’clock came and only a few kids were in the barns. 9:15, 9:30 only 50 or so kids. Wow this is going to be easy.

Then the flood gates opened!


I have been raising llamas for 17 years now and I have NEVER seen so many kids!


The kids were everywhere, running all different directions. Hundreds. Yet with all of that energy, most were very respectful of the animals.

I did not dare take the llamas out to be pet. There were just too many of them. The llamas knew exactly where to stand, They had a huge pen. The llamas had every opportunity to stand at the opposite end of the pen but they chose to stand about a foot out of reach of all the little hands. Noon came and there was still hundreds of kids. Thirty minutes later the place was empty again. I straightened things up and went to lunch with an awesome lady, Ann Nally. I came back and met up with Tina. We walked and fed the girls before going to an Ag Days dinner.

The next day I started again. This time Tina was able to join me. Tina has become such a great promoter of llamas. Tina interacted with the kids while standing with the llamas.


I stayed in the display area. I gave out three huge bags of fiber, one handful at a time. Kids were literally lined up in both areas. The second day felt like it went much faster & before long the place was empty again. We loaded everything up. We had to wait to load the llamas though. Some of the Fair people and Fair photographer had to be there to watch the llamas load into the van.

A picture of the llamas and the ranch ended up on the front page of Sonoma Marin Farm News publication. They spelled my name wrong. But what the heck, it was for the llamas and the kids.


! El Dorado County Fair 4-H Show ! June 15, 2018

by Trish Brandt-Robuck


The El Dorado County Fair is an annual event that the youth look forward to. The youth competed in Showmanship (4-H rules) and the three performance classes (ALSA rules). EstherSue Sykes was the judge and her husband, Greg, helped out as a petter in the Public Relations class.


The Showmanship classes follow 4-H rules where the youth wear their traditional 4-H white and green uniforms. Why white for youth? I will never understand, but it does look sharp. All first-timers in showmanship, regardless of age, are entered in Novice. The winner of Novice can then go into Advanced Showmanship to compete. Advanced consists of all ages combined who have been in one or more Showmanship competitions, but have not entered into Senior Showmanship. The winner of Advanced can either stay in Advanced for future competitions, or jump up to Senior. However, once a Senior exhibitor, you can not go back to any other level. 18

The Performance classes followed Showmanship. The youth changed into cooler and more comfortable clothing as it warmed up to 88 degrees. The bleachers filled with spectators as they enjoyed watching some very talented young people. The exhibitors were given three attempts at each obstacle before being asked to move on to the next. Colorful scarves for tying around the animal’s necks, a bright green and white pom pom necklace with a cow bell, and two near by camels made for interesting sights and sounds, culminating with applause from the grandstands.


“Pasture Schooner” Shade Shelters by Jerry Dunn


Finding the best shade shelter for llamas, that offers comfort from the sun and hot summer winds, can be a challenge. Selecting the proper shelter and staying within my budget became a creative project. I first came up with the idea after reading an article about the old prairie schooners and how they flexed with the change in terrain and the wind. The wagons offered shade and shelter for the settlers during their journey; hence, the idea for a new, inexpensive shelter for my animals.

! !

The shelters have withstood 60 mile an hour winds, rain and hail for 15 years. However, I did learn the hard way that the fabric must be taken off before the first snow The shelters require five basic materials costing around $200 or less [this article is from a 2010 LANA newsletter – prices won’t be the same now]. Materials


6 - 60 “T” posts 2 - 5’x8’ stock panels 3 sections of 20’, 2” flexible plastic tubing 8’ x 20’ shade cloth nylon wrapping string/needle

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First, I chose locations where I thought the llamas would like to sit and view their surrounding. I marked the footings for each shelter to allow north/south openings, and the walls with an east and west orientation.


The T-posts were set 7’ apart along an 8’ line, making sure the spade of the T-post was below the surface. The width allows room for watering, and for me to drive the garden tractor through during mowing and still provides enough space for two to four llamas to sit in the shelter. 20’ lengths of 2” plastic tubing were slipped over the posts all the way to the ground. It’s best to work with the tubing on a warm day so it will stretch and flex as you slide over the length of the post to the base. When you have finished sliding the tubing over the post, you should have a 20’ archway 7’ wide.



Set a panel on the outside of each set of posts. (Secure the panels with bailing wire to the posts. Zip-ties deteriorate in the sun. Lesson learned here!) The panels give support and structural integrity to the side walls in case a llama wants to rub or bump against them during a skirmish.


The 8’-wide shade cloth can be purchased at a wholesale garden center or floral warehouse. The shade cloth blocks 55-65% of the suns rays and drops the temperature at least 10 degrees in the shelter. The height of the shelter allows sufficient airflow in all directions. A lower arch increases the ambient temperature in the shelter. I purchased a full roll of shade cloth 15 years ago. I used 100’ for five shelters and sold the rest to friends who wanted to build their own shelters. The nylon wrapping string can be purchased at the same place or at most garden centers.


Attaching the shade cloth can be done by one person in about an hour. If you have another person that can help you, it takes about 30 minutes. Use wire twist ties from new rolls of garden hose to center and hold the cloth on the tubing as you wrap. Stand on a short ladder and secure the shade cloth by pulling it tight using a whipping stitch around the tubing to keep it in place. As the wind blows the shelter will flex and stay in place.


It may take awhile for the llamas to discover this great shade. Once they do they will use it on a regular basis.

! !(this article is from a 2010 LANA Newsletter)


SLY PARK II LANA’s Llamping Trip by Sue Rich

! Just off of California’s Highway 50, south of Pollock Pines and beyond the Sly Park boat ramp, sits the Black Oak Equestrian Campground. Just like every other campground, each site offers a sturdy picnic bench and a cement-ringed fire pit. What makes this campground “equestrian,” or in our case, “camelidian,” (I just made up an adjective, I think) is the set of pipe corrals at each of the sites.

June 8 – 10 of 2018, an excited subgroup of the LANA membership took over the entire site for a three day adventure. Twenty-three humans, 15 llamas, 1 alpaca, and 5 dogs pitched tents or parked RV’s to settle in for a weekend that included a packing clinic, a Saturday hike, lots of community building, and one heck of a barbecue.


Friday was dedicated to arrival and set up. With a layout conducive to big rigs – either RV’s or livestock trailers - the campground has close to 10 different sites. Water faucets and some of the best honey pots I have ever seen make camping easy. Meeting and greeting and choosing camp sites kicked off the first day. Some arrived earlier in the afternoon, some in the early evening. Note to self: it’s such a good idea to pitch the tent in the front yard prior to the trip. That is the time to try to remember how to put up the tent, the directions for doing so being safely sewn into the interior of the tent. (Did anyone think that through?) That is also the time to discover that the previous users failed to put all the tent poles back in the tent’s storage bag. Plus, you look so capable in the campground as you competently lay out telescoping poles and drive in tent stakes. Just sayin’. 22


Saturday morning broke with early rousers in the tents rapping on the doors of the RVs anxious to start the day. Greg Harford, our invited pack expert, had driven in fresh from a long stint in the back country and started us out with some practical advice about llama trekking.


Greg created Potato Patch Llama Packers and has catered to experienced back packers who now need a little assistance getting into the wilderness. He allows those with aging joints or young children, visitors from Europe and the Bay Area, to venture into the back country assisted by his experienced and well-conditioned animals. Much of his business is repeat, and after a three hour Llama 101 orientation, his customers spend many happy days backpacking with Greg’s animals carrying the heavy loads. He now is transitioning to focus on the breeding of packing llamas. Check out his website: 24

He brought with him two of his very experienced packing llamas. He shared how he conditions his animals, how he stakes some but not necessarily all of his animals at night, the benefits of bells on llama halters, and proper pack placement on the animal.

Putting knowledge to use, we returned to our campsites to prepare our animals for the hike.



Once saddled up, our group gathered at the edge of camp.


Ron Pedroni, experienced packer and Sly Park returnee, gave the group instructions at the trail head.


Mini clinic behind us, we hit the trail. We had experienced packers and animals; we had first timers, both human and camelid.


We had little kids and little dogs. We had 4H kids and we had their newto-llamas families.


We had calm animals and we had anxious and confused animals. The latter would have been mine. Next note to self: prepare the animals with some short hikes at home prior to the trip, think hard about which animal should lead the merry band of pasture mates so we don’t have that “discussion” en route, shear all that heavy wool off the animals before taking on narrow trails with inclines and declines at higher altitudes. Yes, I ate my share of humble pie on the venture. But here’s the thing – how do you and your animals get experience? You go and you do. There’s always gotta be a first time. Ok, and a second and third time because there are always new variables in play. There is always something new to learn.

All that aside, there is always something that feels right or settling or reflective about llama trekking. Part of it is the sunlight filtering through the trees. Some of it is the meandering of a trail around trees and rocks headed, via the scenic route, to a lake. Maybe it’s the focus on you and the animal and how you navigate together that allows you to shed the thousand and one random and city-life thoughts and just be. 29


Saturday capped with a glorious communal meal. Ron and Erik Pedroni fired up the multigrated barbeque built to accommodate just such large parties. Its partner pieces are a really large fire pit with a cluster of picnic tables. We gathered and we ate. And we ate. Marinated riblets, corn on the cob, cabbage salad and more were featured. Oatmeal carmelitas provided a sweet ending to the meal. As always, breaking bread with other people, especially those with a common interest, is a bonding activity. And the camaraderie of the three days was a definite highlight of Sly Park II. There is just something about pulling up a chair and sitting by a campfire ‌ that and sharing a meal.


Sunday arrived quickly, and the business of the day was breaking camp. Tents came down, ice chests got repacked, and corrals got cleaned. Cell phones were out, and last minute photos were taken and shared. Llamas loaded into trailers, and the adventurers headed back home. Driving down the hill, for many, discussions were already underway about Sly Park III.




“My favorite part of the Sly Park weekend was that I earned a new name, “THE LLAMA ENFORCER.” ~ John Garcia (who took command of a wayward and headstrong llama)

“My favorite part of the weekend was being able to sleep in a tent with my new friends all by ourselves. Experiencing that and being able to go on a fun hike were good challenges. I learned that when you are packing, you might want to put a bell on your llama so you know where it is in case it gets loose. I also got to practice putting the pack on my llama. I think it would be great to make it longer or do more than one hiking trip.” ~ Lola Garcia (second year, 7th grader youth participant)

“Camping at Sly Park with the llamas is so much fun! This is my second year participating and there are two reasons why I think it’s so great; 1) the camaraderie, and 2) the real life experience of packing with the llamas that you won’t get in any show. The experience just keeps getting better each year.” ~ Leilani Garcia (Llama mama to Lola)


“It was fun and I learned that you have to watch out for your llama in case he is tired and needs rest. I also learned how to make sure the same weight is on both sides of the pack.” ~ Terra Blevins (first year, 10th grader youth participant)

“What a fun trip! Parts of the hike were challenging; however, I felt my llama listened to me and trusted me in what I was asking him to do. We both need to be in better condition for next year.” ~ Kathy Nichols (first year participant)

“I learned a lot. It made me want to try it again. We took another hiking trip just afterwards, and we talked about how fun it would be to camp there with the llamas.” ~ Jamie Lawrence (first time llama trekker)


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LANA Youth Article & Art Contest


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LANA invites youth member of all ages to submit an article on any camelid-related topic of interest to the youth. Articles should be 1000 words or less with four pictures or less.


Articles should be written in Times New Roman 12 point font and double-spaced, with the author’s name on each page in the header.

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Young members (11 years and younger) are also invited to submit a piece of original artwork. Pictures or scanned artwork should be submitted as .tiff or .jpeg files with a resolution of at least 300 dpi. The content should be the original work of the youth author.


Articles and scanned artwork should be submitted electronically to Sue Rich at


One winner from each of the four age categories (sub-junior, junior, intermediate, and senior) will be selected twice a year.


Submission due: November 1, 2018


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Winners will receive a $25 cash prize and articles will be published in the LANA Newsletter and on the website.


POTATO RANCH LLAMA PACKERS Sierra Nevada Llama Rental! “Take it off your back and put it in our pack!”



Greg Harford (Proprietor)! 15025 Potato Ranch Road! Sonora, California 95370! 209-588-1707!!! 38


! the Rich Ranch est. 1986

the Rich family Sarah, Fred, Sue and Kenny Oakdale, California





RBR Ranch

Trish Brandt Robuck

Newcastle, CA

Cal-ILA presents

Entries must be postmarked by August 6, 2018


RDL Ilya ALSA Halter Champion






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