Shows & Parades
GETTING READY FOR THE PARADE
Many of us have been to watch a parade and thought, "Boy, I would love to be in the parade with my llamas". Being in a parade with your animals is fun and exciting but will require a certain amount of PATIENCE, and sometimes an over abundance of patience.
You don't just get up the morning of the parade and go join in the line up. The first thing you must do is prepare the llama. If your animals live near the City or County this will help. I live in the country now, and might get four cars on our Road a day (I love it) but the llamas do not get much desensitizing to the noises. You may be laughing at this but remember, you may not have horses and/or marching band coming by your houses either. My animals on the other hand are used to the horses, dogs, and loud music, let's just say I like the music "pumped up" loud in the truck. I love Rock and Roll. So, now you get my point...there is A LOT in a parade that an animal must see and hear before entering and being freaked out and spooked badly by it. No one wants to see a scared animal running at them wildly or running circles in a parade.
Not only do you need to get the llamas used to the sounds and sites around it, but lots and lots of loud people, as well as the "get up" that the animal will be wearing like costumes, harnesses, backpack, cart, wagon, clothes, hats...
You should take your llama to a crowded park, parking lot or the like to practice for the Parade. By taking your animals out to train for the parade away from your home, you will also know ahead of time if everything (wagons, carts, etc) will fit in your vehicle. I have heard more then once of folks, on parade day, lamenting that their gear does not fit in their vehicles that they wanted to use in the parade.
Make sure your llama is comfortable wearing, pulling, pushing or whatever you are going to have the animal do in the parade. Take whatever it is your llama is going to be doing in the parade to a crowed park and practice, not just once, several times over several days long before the parade day. Don't forget treats and water.
When you call the Parade Committee about joining in the march, tell them you have a llama, and/or you are a llama group, ask them not to place you directly behind horses or directly in front of Marching bands, remind them of a llama's acute hearing and that llamas odd looks might spook the other people's horses.
The day of the parade now fast is approaching. Get all your things together. You will need a lead rope, halter, harness, water, water bowl, and treats. Don't forget to wear comfortable shoes and nice or silly costume. I'm am sure you have seen people in parades and you wondered "What were they thinking?" Here they have this beautiful animal, groomed to the teeth, spotless carts, backpacks, wagons, whatever, but the person is in their barn clothes. The person is not groomed and is wearing old torn clothing.
Not only do you worry about how the llama and vehicle looks, and this may mean a new paint job on that cart, but also yourselves. Comfortable clothes are a must, barn clothes a no no!! Dress to the theme of the parade.
Some parades require paper work to be carried, or numbers to be worn, don't forget those either when you are loading for the parade. Making a list of everything you will need to take with you for the Parade and double checking it on Parade day is a wonderful idea.
Decorating your llama, wagon, rig, etc to the theme of the Parade is half the fun, but be careful. Don't use glass Christmas Ornaments, if they would come apart, or drop off your vehicle or animals and break on the ground your llamas or another animal might cut their foot or eat it.
If you decide you want bells on your llama's harness, sewing them on with thread will NOT hold them on your harness or collar. The bells will fall off as you are walking along with the llama. Use dental floss and sew around the bell many times. Recheck your bells each time you use the item they are sewed to. Weaving the bells into the webbing or leather is best. Be careful putting anything on your animals that might spook them, and just like the item being pulled, you need a practice run with your decorations too. Make sure all decorations are safe for your animal and won't fall off.
If you are walking with a llama club or 4H, you will want to make or have a Club or 4H Banner made with the club name and maybe a phone number or website address. You also may want to make up fliers or business cards with club information to hand out to folks, and there will be some people attending the parade that are interested in joining your group. This is a nice way to literally pick up active members, ey?
The more organized and professional you look the more likely you will be invited back to participate in this and other Parades. Many times there are prizes for best Parade Entrant.
If you do decide to hand out candy or dog treats to the spectators, be very aware of what your llama is seeing. Walking up to strange dogs with your llama in custom or pulling a wagon, etc, is really NOT a good idea. Also watch children and adults walking up to your animals. Most folks today no nothing about the types of animals they approach.
Be sure to get a newspaper the next day and look for you and your llamas photo.
All of the facts in this article hold true for a person taking their animals to schools, churches, etc for demos or visits too. Really, any time you are out in public with your llamas, you represent all llama owners when you step out into the public eye.
(all of the same information is true for many types of animals, dogs, goats, horses and others)
SHOWING YOUR HARNESS LLAMA
Before you head out to show your llama in a Harness Class, there are some basic things you should know.
First of all, leave your ego at home. Leave all your pride and ill feelings for others at home. Go to the show in a good mood, happy and remember....showing your animal is what you have been looking forward to. If things went wrong this morning before leaving for the show, or on the way...it is all behind you when you arrive. Llama Shows are fair and few between, enjoy the day in a good mood!
PARENTS OF 4Her's THIS SECTION IS FOR YOU TOO! Kids learn from how their parents act. If you are taking your child to a 4H event, as a parent, behave! Don't talk badly about the other kids, their parents, other animals, the judges or how the event was put on. If you don't like something, save it for next year and volunteer to help so it can be presented your way.
Also, this is their project and their day. Parental help is wanted, needed and appreciated, but the idea is for them to learn by doing. Have your child do as much as appropriate for their age. By the same token. The 4H kids do need your help, your encouragement and your kind words. Be the wind to help them fly.
When you are showing your llama in any class, be sure you have read and understand all, all of the rules. If you have questions, ask before the class. Do not ask the Judge ANYTHING during the class.
Let me say that one again. KNOW THE RULES BEFORE YOU ENTER A CLASS! I have seen more people enter in to classes with animals and become angry because it did not go as they thought it should. I have heard "That judge does not know what her is looking at." or "That judge does not know my line of animals." The list of snide remarks go on and on. The truth is the person entering usually did not understand the class and what the judge was looking for. KNOW THE RULES!
Please remember, each and every time you are out with your llama you represent us all. The general public does not know much about llamas and you will be a novelty as well as their source of information.
Each time you take your llama down the road, enter a parade, sign up for a llama show class, you repent all goat owners. Do us a favor and handle yourself and your animals well. Work with clean and groomed animals. Make sure your wear nice clothes when out with your llamas. Please clean the barn then head out to the show in your barn clothes. It is always a good idea to take a second set of show clothes with you. A back up set just in case your show clothes get soiled or torn.
When you show your animals in harness, make sure your equipment is clean and in good repair. Check everything a month and again one week before the show. Does the vehicle need a new coat of paint? Is your harness clean and fresh looking? Harnesses need care too. Check and make sure the clothing you are wearing are well fitting and in good repair. Try them on the week before the show to make sure that you are pleased with what you will be wearing.
Get everything, and I mean everything ready and gathered, if you can at all have it packed in the vehicle, the day before the show. Get up the morning of the show an hour early. You never know what might happen and you might just need that hour. Eat a good meal before leaving for the show site. You might not get a chance to eat while at the show.
Before you leave the driveway, reread your list. Do you have everything you need? Do you have directions to the show site? Do you have your show numbers? Do you have your copy of the show rules with you and easy to find?
Now have a great time at the show. Relax, smile and have a wonderful time!
If you do not win. Try harder next year. Train more, train better. Do not get mad at your llama, the judge, the other competitors. If you can at all, video tape your performance and rewatch it to see where you may have flawed. Don't get angry, get better!!