A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

January 14, 2009

Stormy’s New Career

Stormy - Off to a new career as a performance and obstacle alpaca

Stormy - Off to a new career as a performance and obstacle alpaca

Our Stormy was born back in June in the middle of a sandstorm, hence his name Windrush Desert Sandstorm.  Despite the challenging weather conditions at the time of his birth he emerged into the world a happy-go-lucky, laid back lad.

As Stormy has grown he has kept his laid back personality.  His dam Willow is a sweetheart and it seems as if Stormy has inherited her even temperament.  Stormy is also small like his dam Willow and that combined with the long staple length of his fleece has made him look more and more like a puffball as he has grown.

One thing I particularly like about Stormy’s temperament is that while he is curious and likes to investigate what is going on around him he is not pushy. Once he has discovered what is going on he will either watch from a respectful distance or go back to doing something that he finds to be more interesting.

Stormy’s halter training was a breeze; Mitch Murry from Sandy Acres Alpaca Farm was visiting our farm and helping us weigh alpacas. Mitch went out into the pasture to catch one of the other crias, Song, to bring her to the barn for weighing. When Mitch arrived at the scales I realized that the alpaca on the end of the lead rope was not Song but was in fact Stormy. Stormy had never worn a halter before and yet he walked willing with Mitch out of the pasture, away from his dam and over to the scales. Now that’s one easy halter training session!

During a recent daily update phone call with our alpaca neighbor Regina Dart of Llano Soleado Alpacas I was talking about Stormy and how easy he was to handle. Regina mentioned that she might be interested in Stormy for her daughter Abby who likes to take part in alpaca Performance and Obstacle competitions. At the weekend Abby came out to the farm and met Stormy and took him for a “test drive”. The two did well together and Abby decided that she would like Stormy for her special alpaca and so Stormy will be leaving us soon to go and be with Abby and start training for his new career as a Performance and Obstacle alpaca.

Many children (and also some adults) enjoy taking part in alpaca Performance and Obstacle classes. The classes are fun and can be quite challenging. While there are a certain amount of mandatory obstacles included on the course, the show can pick various other approved obstacles for inclusion in the course. Often the class participants do not learn of the exact nature of the obstacles until an hour or so before the class and of course there is no practicing on the course prior to the class starting.

The purpose of the Obstacle Class is to demonstrate the team effort between the alpaca and its handler, the level of training of the alpaca and the alpaca’s willingness to cooperate with its handler. According to the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) Show System Handbook the ideal performance in an alpaca Obstacle Class “consists of a poised and calm team that performs the required movements with promptness and willingness on a loose lead” .

Bearing in mind that description of the “ideal performance” you can see why Stormy is a good choice for Abby. Stormy’s easy going personality and willingness to learn will help Abby and Abby, who now has at least two years experience of alpaca Obstacle and Performance classes under her belt, will be able to train and encourage Stormy as he learns to do things he has never done before!

We look forward to watching Abby and Stormy compete in their classes and hope that there will be many ribbons in the future for this up and coming young team. Good Luck Abby and Stormy we will be cheering you on from the sidelines at the shows!

Rosemary

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2 Comments »

  1. Rosemary,
    Hi! I loved reading about Stormy & Abby. (I’m Kelly Littles mom by the way)
    Isn’t it a joy to watch how an Alpaca can bond with someone and do what ever that person asks them too.
    That is the way it is with my grandson,Cody and our alpaca, Wonders Peaceful Warrior.
    Warrior is so attached to Cody that he seems to miss him when Cody goes back home with Kelly.
    Cody had not worked with Warrior at all, but he wanted to enter him at New York Show. I thought he would be sorry but they fooled me they came home with a 1st 2nd & 3rd place. I was so proud of them that well… lets say Nan shed some happy tears that weekend.
    Please let us know how Stormy & Abby do.
    God Bless,
    Bonnie

    Comment by Bonnie Klingman — January 18, 2009 @ 12:39 am

    • Hi Bonnie,

      Wonderful to hear from you. Some alpacas definitely do bond with people, it sounds like your Cody has found a great partner in Warrior. I look forward to hearing how they do in future shows, I am sure there are more happy tears to come for Nan! I will post updates on Stormy and Abby, their first show will be the TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular in February.

      With best wishes,

      Rosemary

      Comment by alpacalady — January 18, 2009 @ 1:38 am


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