3. The Feet and Pasterns

The working llama needs a good base of support for continued soundness. Small dainty feet have no place in the world of the pack llama. It has been suggested a foot with a broad heel and short toes with a moderate ‘vee’ (not exaggerated as with a splayed foot) between the toes is desirable. It would seem likely that long toes would shift the animal’s weight towards the rear of the foot, putting additional stress on the structures of the pastern.

This 20 year old stud has good strong feet          Long toes on this girl may be shifting

This 20 year old stud has good strong      Long toes on this girl may be shifting

feet with short toes and broad heels         the weight back on to the heels

Small dainty feet do not provide an adequate base of support for this pack gelding on                  boggy ground. He sinks when he is packed.

Small dainty feet do not provide an adequate base of support for this pack gelding on                  boggy ground. He sinks when he is packed.

Dropped pasterns are a serious problem in the llama, putting an effective end to his packing days. Although various mineral supplements have been found helpful in the treatment of fallen pasterns, strong pasterns are thought to be a heritable characteristic. Nutrition during development is likely a factor as well.

The llama with strong pasterns will not exhibit any marked degree of slackness or sag in the pastern as he strides along. Some very tall leggy llamas seem to have longer pasterns and perhaps they need the extra length for cushioning. Such pasterns may have some degree of spring or bounce but they are still very strong.

Extremely short, upright pasterns on        Longer springy pasterns on a tall Ccara

Extremely short, upright pasterns on                   Longer springy pasterns on a tall Ccara

a small woolly gelding.                                                      female.

An injury has resulted in this soft pastern on one front leg

An injury has resulted in this soft pastern on one front leg. A dropped pastern will result in the fetlock joint actually dropping right to the ground as the llama walks.

Previous     Section: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9    Next