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


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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.

The 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 are available. 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 Extreme 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 Extreme Pack Llama certificate. Females earn at least a Basic Pack Llama 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.

Basic Pack Llama (BPL) Certification

Criterion Requirements
Age / Load minimim age of 24 months / carries no load
30 months or older / 10% body weight
Distance 3 miles
Elevation Gain 250 to 500 feet
Obstacles 1 water, 1 jump, step-over, 1 deadfall,
& 2 additional obstacles selected by the trial committee to represent local packing conditions
Safety Deductions Allowed 5
Successful Trials Necessary Two, including one carrying 10% body weight

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Advanced Pack Llama (APL) Certification

Criterion Requirements
Age / Load minimim 36 months / 15% body weight
Distance 5 miles
Elevation Gain 750 to 1000 feet
Obstacles 2 water, 1 jump, step-over, 1 deadfall, 1 rock rubble,
& 5 additional obstacles selected by the trial committee to represent local packing conditions
Safety Deductions Allowed 3
Successful Trials Necessary Four, or BPL Certificate plus three Advanced trials

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Master Pack Llama (MPL) Certification

Criterion Requirements
Age / Load minimim 48 months / 25% body weight
Distance 8 miles
Elevation Gain 1500 to 2000 feet
Obstacles 3 water, 2 jump or step-over, 1 deadfall, 1 rock rubble, 1 brush, 1 foot inspection, removal of packs
& 3 additional obstacles selected by the trial committee to represent local packing conditions
Safety Deductions Allowed 2
Successful Trials Necessary Four, or APL Certificate plus three Master trials

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Extreme Pack Llama (EPL) Certification

Criterion Requirements
Age / Load must hold Master level certificate / 25% body weight
Distance 10 miles
Elevation Gain 2500 to 3000 feet
Obstacles 3 water, 2 jump or step-over, 1 deadfall, 1 rock rubble, 1 brush, 1 foot inspection, removal of packs
& 3 additional obstacles selected by the trial committee to represent local packing conditions
Safety Deductions Allowed 2
Successful Trials Necessary MPL plus 2 Extreme trials

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Last website update: 31DEC13
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