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Sunday, May 6, 2012

A First Time For Everything

"Go ahead - Make my day"
So, since my last blog post we finished the fencing (Yeah!!!), we have figured out the game plan for connecting the two sheds together to store the hay so we can separate the boys and girls and have, hopefully, arranged for help to work on it  Memorial Weekend and we have taken care of the Spring work that needed to be done to the gardens so onto the reason for this post.

Since we were planning on taking Cosmo and Zinnia to the NE Alpaca Expo in Syracuse in May we needed to get them trained on halter and lead.  We also figured it wouldn't hurt to train Masquerade.

"What do they want from us now Cosmo?"
Well putting the halters on wasn't too bad as long as we bribed them with grain, but then came walking with the lead.  Do you remember playing tug of war and all the big kids were on the other side of the rope?

Masquerade just froze on us and went into his "I'm invisible" mode.  He thinks if he doesn't move an inch that we can't see him and we will go away.  Cosmo although fighting, was curious and did let us move him oh so little the first day.  Zinnia did not want to be out of sight of her mother and went into the "cush" mode.  Once down in that position, we were not going to move her without a major battle.  I guess we have to say that Day 1 our "kids" won the battle.

Day by day the battles got to be less and less, except for Masquerade.  He finally did give in a little to walking without fighting but we needed to focus our time on Zinnia and Cosmo.  In hindsight; we needed to start halter and lead training a LOT sooner than we did.  We got them to the point where we could show their teeth, touch them all over as well as pick up their tail and stop and hold them in place.  We took them down into the field area where they hadn't been since last fall and through gates that had not been there so that they would trust where we were leading them.  We thought we had done pretty good.

During this it was also shearing time.  We could not shear Zinnia and Cosmo because of the show but Ivy, Sunflower and Masquerade could be done.  Our first experience with the shearer's did not go well.  I am going to chalk it up to partly our inexperience and them having a bad day.  It's a long story that I won't bore you with.


Well then the temperature decided to drop to below freezing during the nights and windy, cloudy and cold during the days.  My poor babies were shivering like crazy so I figured I would borrow some blankets and just put them on them.  They would like that right?  Well ever try to saddle up a wild stallion for the first time?

We won the battle with Masquerade and Zinnia but they sure were not happy for a while at first; Sunflower - well she just was not going to have anything to do with it - so she won that battle.

Ok - so now onto the NE Alpaca Expo in Syracuse.

Cosmo and Zinnia were going up ahead of us because we had no way of transporting them at this time.  Our mentoring farm Ideuma Creek Alpacas picked them up the day before so that they would be ready to take them that morning.

We got up to the Exhibit Center the night before the show.  Zinnia and Cosmo were very excited and confused.  I felt like the worst "mother" in the world.

Everyone told me that the way they were acting was normal for the first time - for me too!

I tried walking Zinnia because she was going to be showing that afternoon - I had time with Cosmo because he wasn't showing until Sunday.  She was really out of sorts and I am sure that she felt my nervousness traveling through the lead.  I put her back into her pen to let her relax and Karl and I went and observed how everyone was handling their animals.  We felt we really should have worked with our animals more.

There are many color classes- with each age and sex catagory from the Grays through to the Indeterminate' s  (that's when a particular color class can't be assigned).  We learned that 6 ribbons are awarded to each class; so if your class only has six in it or less - everyone is going to get a ribbon and should be very proud.  I sure wish that had been our case!  As it was Zinnia was in the medium fawn juvenile female class, one of the largest classes, with 15 other alpacas, Cosmo was in the white juvenile male class, the other of largest classes, with 15 other alpacas.

  Although the judge did come back for a second look on both of them, we unfortunately did not get a ribbon.  She did say after each class that there were so many fine animals in the class but she only had six ribbons to award and had to pick whom she felt represented the finest. We did witness in some cases some previous Color Champions and Reserve Color Champions who did not even ribbon in their class so-----

I am sure that my inexperience and lack of training on the halter and lead also affected the outcome - it was only my first time as well.  We will work to improve this and who knows - maybe next time.

We congratulate all those farms that did ribbon and hope to be standing among them in future shows!

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