Hidden Bend Retreat, Romney West Virginia

Romney, WV

Monday, March 24, 2014

Alpaca Shearing Class

Last weekend, I took a class to learn how to shear alpacas. It was a lot of fun and included hands on experience using  alpacas from the farm that hosted the event, Good Times Ridge Farm. The class was taught by Matt Best, he's the shearer that has done many of the farms in this area for a few years and came to our farm last year to shear our guys.

Matt did a great job with the class, an hour or two of classroom instruction to talk about the equipment and basic methods, then out to the barns to get started. Using a plywood mockup of an alpaca, our first task was to learn the "shearing dance" which is the series of steps you use as you work your way around the alpaca. It's not quite the Rocky Horror Picture Show Time Warp but when performed with music, it was a quite effective way to learn the moves and quite funny. Unfortunately (LOL), I don't have any pictures of this part of the class.

The pictures below show our 3 person team working on our first alpaca. The shearing was being done by Eric Clark and that's Charlotte Clark helping me hold the alpaca. The last picture shows Eric holding the alpaca that I had sheared and you can see the relief on Eric's face when he realized he had not fully closed the halter before the alpaca was released and we had to get some help getting him back in tow.

 All in all a fun day and although I don't see myself having to shear our guys, I know now that I could borrow the equipment and in a pinch, get it done if needed. Matt will be here on April 16 to shear our 7 alpacas, let us know if you'll be in the area and want to stop in to watch (you might get volunteered to help wrangle as well).

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