Burns Llama Trailblazers Champion Working Llamas
Burns Llama Trailblazers Champion Working Llamas









Using PLTA Standards as a Benchmark

The Pack Llama Trial Association, Inc., (PLTA) is a national non-profit corporation created in 1998 as a way to test and recognize pack llama competency. Llamas are tested against a written standard during field trials staged in a realistic packing environment.

For many years Burns Llama Trailblazers has used PLTA certification as a way to document the abilities of our llamas. Because certification is done by an outside organization with stringent standards, a purchaser of one of our llamas can be confident of our claims for the animal.

BLT Pack llamas train for their PLTA trials year aroundThe PLTA's objective is to recognize llamas that can fulfill the llama packers' needs on the trail by performing in a manner consistent with the demands of actual packing conditions. The intent is not to confront the llama with unrealistic or trick problems, but rather to test the llama's natural ability and acquired training. These tests use obstacles found in normal packing conditions.

Four levels of certification, Basic, Advanced, Master, and Elite, are available. Each of these can further test a llama's skills by being undertaken in a string. Completing the Basic level demonstrates minimal packing requirements. Advanced certification requires more rigorous training and conditioning for moderate packing requirements, while the Master level is for the well trained llama and owners that have serious packing requirements. The Elite showcases the true athletes of the llama world.

As a measure of our success, we expect all our males and geldings to earn a Master Pack Llama certificate from the Pack Llama Trial Association (PLTA), a process that requires at least four years of training and conditioning. Selected males are further conditioned to earn the ultimate Elite Pack Llama certificate. Females earn at least a Basic Pack Llama certificate and, if they are not busy raising crias, an Advanced certificate.

Certification is also available for strings of two llamas. These titles are awarded at each level. Requirements are the same as for single llamas except that string llamas tackle obstacles as a team. At Burns Llama trailblazers we strive to certify our llamas at the string level. Herd sires are required to complete this certification.

Please see the
PLTA Pack Trial Handbook for a complete explanation of certification requirements.

Basic Pack Trial (BPL) Cetification Requirements

The Basic pack trial tests early stages of training and conditioning against minimal packing requirements.

Criterion Requirements
  Age   Minimum age of 24 months, 24 to 30 months carries no load
  Load (percent of body weight)   0 - 10% of body weight
  Distance   Three miles
  Elevation Gain   250 to 500 feet
  Total Number of Obstacles Required   Five
  Performance Deductions Allowed   Five
  Successful Trials Required for Certificate   Two, including one carrying weight

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Advanced Pack Trial (APL) Certification Requirements

Advanced trials are designed to test a llama's ability to deal with a moderately demanding packing environment.

Criterion Requirements
  Age  At least 3 years old
  Load (percent of body weight)   15% of body weight
  Distance   Five miles
  Elevation Gain   750 to 1000 feet
 Total Number of Obstacles Required   Ten
  Performance Deductions Allowed   Three
 Successful Trials Required for Certificate  Four, or three if the llama has a Basic Certificate

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Page update: 28JAN2022
Most recent website update: 02FEB2022
© Burns Llama Trailblazers LLC     herd@burnsllamatrailblazers.com