8. The Neck

The llama’s neck acts as a counterbalance. Watch the llama lying flat on his side as he positions his body to rise. The first motion is a sort of flinging of the neck to gain the momentum to roll up to the sternal position. Llamas that have rigid horizontal necks resulting from spinal injuries are sometimes unable to rise from a prone position without assistance.

 The neck and head also act to counterbalance the body on uneven terrain or during fast directional changes. Instant adjustments can be made to the body’s center of gravity by repositioning the neck. This is why a longish and very flexible neck in the working llama is considered desirable.

Show ring judges have determined that the ideal neck is 2/3 the length of the back, but as with breeds of dogs, there are many variations in body proportions among individual breeds. We feel that as long as the neck is proportional to the body, all is well. The longer legs that are so desirable on the working llama are best if balanced by a longer neck, and a long-bodied llama needs to be balanced by a long neck.

It has been observed that llamas who move with a very erect neck and head carriage also tend to be short-strided in front, and have short, steep shoulders. The truly athletic llama travels with his head and neck slightly forward - slightly ahead of the vertical.

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