Here at alpaca walking with Spring Farm Alpacas, we train all our alpacas to walk on head collars and lead ropes – its what we do and are renowned for across Europe. It is very important that all our alpacas are halter trained and not just a select few – that way, they are all chilled in our company and if (heaven forbid) we needed a vet visit, we can just load them into our purpose converted van and take them to the vet.
Our alpaca walking team is normally about 20/25 strong but with 20/30 crias (baby alpacas) born each year, we occasionally let members of the walking team go to new homes (where they are much loved) and bring in young alpacas that have passed our training course for walking alpacas! You might think we just attach a collar and lead rope…but we don’t. Using our calm and alpaca friendly teaching technique, we teach all our crias to walk happily alongside us. We are a breeder using really high quality genetics so some of our alpacas are also shown – but again its very important to us that this is not a stressful endeavour. We train our youngsters to load without fear and have mock judging so they wont be worried about going into the show ring.
So amongst the crias, to join the alpaca walking team, we select those who we think will enjoy meeting our guests and thrive on our alpaca walks. Alpacas are like us in that they all have individual characters and some want to walk more than others. Once we have a select group who like walking, we start with small walks around the garden and gradually build up their confidence by increasing the length of the walk and asking different people to walk them at different times. This process can take a few months as we are always busy and its really important that our new alpaca (and llama) recruits enjoy themselves as much as we hope you do.
So to that end, I would like to introduce you to three recruits currently under going walking training. The eagle eyed may notice that we have two llama crias in training – we are hopeful they will both make the grade so we can offer llama walking alongside alpaca walking (within the same walk).