Llama club hosts fun obstacle day

| October 22, 2020

Missing all the fun activities that the county fair brings was disappointing for area 4-H Clubs but Jean and Mike Haumschild advisors for Kamelid Kushers 4-H Club thought of a fun way to still have some activities.

“It’s a Hobo Show” Jean said about the Llama Obstacle Fun Day held on their farm near Warsaw on Oct. 18.

“Hobo is when you don’t clean up your animals” she said. “We couldn’t do the fair, so we decided to do this. Be prepared because adults have a couple of classes to compete in as well.”

The kids were so excited when they found out about the obstacle course. This is just for fun today, but winners will receive a mug and a $10 gift card. At the fair we have a space in the building we call the Llama Lounge where we go for cupcake day or we have pizza and ice cream, so we are going to have cupcakes and pizza today after the competition.

The obstacle course was set up first with orange traffic cones where llamas must  manipulate around the cones and pass to the right and to the left of the cone, next up was walking the plank, then putting a hula hoop on and off the animals neck in a fluid motion, followed by making a 360 circle within the confines of a square, a change of pace stopping point and  two jumps. Handlers had to walk their animals into a space set parallel with PVC pipe on two sides and back them out of the space, walk into and through Styrofoam tubes and a Styrofoam pit, then on to the streaming tunnel which is built tall enough for a person to walk through with  long streamers hanging almost to the ground. The llama is supposed to walk through without fear or without messing with the streamers. And finally, the teeter totter ramp and the swamp. The swamp is a tarp the llama is expected to walk right up on and walk calmly to the end and off the tarp.” It’s spongy and llamas don’t like it,” Jean said.

Trust is an important part of training llamas for obstacles. If your llama trusts you, it will do, or try to do what their trainer asks. The idea is to teach your llama to go over and through the obstacles. It’s about fun and challenge.

Kids were welcome to come out to the Haumschild farm and practice with their animals beforehand. Junior division had eight obstacles and the senior division had 10. Points were deducted if the llama deviated from the course, touched the obstacles, had a short lead or hesitated. Judging also included having good rapport with your animal.

Mike is a national judge and the Haumschilds have been 4-H advisors for many years. However, this wasn’t classified as a 4-H activity so that anyone could come out and enjoy the fun.

“Parents give their children advice when showing their llamas so we thought it would be fun to let them do a relay with the llama,” Jean said.

The egg drop relay was for everyone. Parents could balance an egg on a spoon with one hand and hold the halter with the other and manage the course without  dropping their egg.

The next relay, musical rug was a rendition of musical chairs. The animal must have at least one foot on the rug when the music stopped.

Four year old Parker Wesney, the Haumschilds grandson made it as far as the orange cones in the egg drop challenge showing skill in walking his llama.

“Parker is too young for Cloverbuds yet, so we call him a Sprout,” said Julie Branch, the Haumschilds’ daughter and the score keeper.

Eight year old Leah Haumschild participated in the junior competition. She was too young to compete in the 4-H competition at the fair because you have to be 8-years-old and in the third grade. She is First Year Llamain in 4-H though. With Jean and Mike being her grandparents, Leah grew up around llamas. It was  no surprise with her skill that she won in her division. Other winners included: Class 1 – Junior Obstacle – Leah Haumschild; Class 2 – Senior Obstacle – Ty Collins; Class 3 – Egg & Spoon Obstacle – Emma Ward; Class 4 – Timed Obstacle – Audrey Collins; Class 5 – Musical Rug Junior Division – Ava Donnell; Class 6 – Musical Rug Senior Division – Gavin Donnell.

The more time you spend with your llama, the more the llama will trust you. The course helps handlers teach their llama to go through obstacles that it might find on the packing trail. It also shows how much the llama has been worked with and how much it trusts it’s owner.

Category: Clubs & Organizations

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