Croft Ambrey’s Diary – Croft Ambrey is the Champion Llama at the 150th North Somerset Show

Four of us have just returned from a ‘llama beauty competition’ called the North Somerset Show, and this year it was the 150th show so it was very special. Let me tell you all about it.

Early in the morning Silbury, Stenness, Kennett and I walked into the llama trailer and had our people drive us to a field where there were lots and lots of llamas and more excitement than I’ve ever seen in my life. We walked into a pen and said hello to some other llamas in the pens around us – Very Exciting!

Soon, people started to walk about the show and came to see us and to find out all about the fun of llama trekking. We looked at them and they looked at us, and Stenness was stroked.

The time was approaching when the ‘judging’ was going to take place. Kennett and I didn’t know what we’d have to do, but it meant wearing our halters, and taking our people round and round a parade ring before the nice judging lady lined us up and looked at us all individually. Walking in a circle on a rope and halter is very easy for me – I am very calm and placid. Kennett is nervier and kept craning his neck to check Stenness was looking at him from the pen. He walks well too, though he sometimes moves off line and gets a little excited and some of the other llamas in our class did play up a little. We were looked at and had our backs felt, had our lower lips pulled down to display a nice toothy grin for the judge, and were inspected all over. Meanwhile Stenness watched us closely and I could hear him humming encouragingly to Kennett. The
uncle and nephew have a very close bond. Then we walked around again and were all lined up a second time. But this time we were lined up in a different order and I was put at the end of the line with Kennett next to me. The other young male llamas then lined up next to Kennett. I was given a big blue rosette for being the most handsome young male llama, and Kennett was given a big red rosette for being nearly as
handsome. Well, hurrah for us, we thought. Our people were very pleased. We went back to the pen, where Stenness and Kennett were happy to be re-united.

That’s a Llama Show. Or so we thought.

After a few more classes, Silbury and Stenness were asked to parade around the same area. Silbury performed really well and stepped out kicking his thin legs out beautifully. Stenness was probably a bit
distracted because every time he walked past our pen he looked over the rail at us. Again the judge looked at each gelding closely. Silbury inspected the judge keenly, too. And then Silbury was awarded a blue
rosette for being most handsome gelding with Stenness being awarded fourth. I think Silbury was secretly very pleased and knew he had performed well. He had earned bragging rights back on the farm as Ringsbury was once awarded first place in a llama show.

At this point all four of the class winners from the male section of the show – the one to two year old, older male, Silbury and I were judged to see who was the best male. We walked around again and the judge
viewed us all. She had to check how we looked against an ideal llama and I was honoured to be placed first, as best male in the show.

And then, I was judged against the best female llama. We stood side by side whilst the judge looked at us. She asked us to walk away from her and back again, and then she gave me a big rosette in red, white and blue for being the Champion Llama at the North Somerset Show. I was very pleased, Kennett, Stenness and Silbury were generous, and our people were absolutely delighted. Lots of people came up to me and said what a good llama I was, and the nice lady judge said that in 20 years of judging she’s never awarded the Championship to a young llama before,
but that my disposition was so calm and assured she was pleased to this time. I take after my mother Maes Howe who has the gentlest disposition.

And even then it wasn’t quite all over for the llamas. Stenness is a bit of a star when it comes to the llama obstacle race. (Silbury is hopeless at it). Our best racer set off across a board platform, in and out of poles, under a flapping wire, through a water trough, under a very low wire, past a person waving a rattle, through a tricky section where our person had to lift Stenness’ foot and put it in a tyre, over a jump, under another flapping wire, over a carpet, through a sand pit, over a jump and under another low wire. All very easy you might think, but only four of the 15 competitors managed a clear round and needed a run-off against the clock. Well, the other three were alpacas and have a certain advantage when it comes to going under low obstacles, but Stenness raced superbly and just came first. Well done for the llamas!

We settled down and took a rest. Lots of people came to look at and admire us, and we had a lovely time seeing all the other llamas and alpacas. There was lots of chat and our people talked till they were hoarse.

Late in the day, it was time to go home. We happily walked into our trailer and traveled home with our people. Back at Golden Valley Llamas I was pleased to see the rest of the herd, and very soon I was asleep with my head resting on the ground near Stenness’ side.

More llama chat soon.


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