I say 'our' hard work because I have been working in tandem with Patou Alacazam, the sparkliest alpaca in the herd.
Al was born in August last year and grew well on his mothers milk and the lush grazing here in Patouland. There were seven other cria born last year and they played and gambolled as a group. It was only when Al was nearly 6 months old that I discovered that he wasn't pronking with the other youngsters in the evenings. When they pronked around the field Al would be way out in front. Way out in front because he was running like the clappers and not pronking. He was not a pronker. He was a runner, a flat out, ears back runner.
This concerened me as I felt that he was missing out on an essential part of being an alpaca. I felt that something needed to be done. I needed to try at least to turn Al into a pronker.
Thus we began the long road to pronking. The training started in late February and to begin with was conducted in the dark to avoid ridicule and embarrassment to the both of us. Al was pretty much on board with the idea straight away. He initially thought that the rest of the cria were in some way defective because they spent so much energy going up and down rather than getting on with the speedier art of 'ears back' sprinting. When I pointed out the enjoyment that they were getting out of pronking and the wonderment with which people watched them he became focussed. Totally focussed. Al wanted to be a pronker too.
We tried various excercise regimes aimed at increasing his 'upward' movement and depressing the flat out speed element of his running. It was not easy at first and I wore through the knees of several pairs of trousers demonstrating the art of pronking. I have to say that we had tears along the way, tears of sadness, frustration, shame and ultimately tears of unbounded joy.
His secret training regime came to a halt last week on Friday with his first full pronk in public. I was there with the camera and have captured the moment for us all to savour.
If you will allow me I will expain what is happening in the attached movie clip. The rest of the herd gathered in front of the house in anticipation. The news of Al's first public pronk had got out and there was a buzz around the herd. The only member of the herd that refused to believe he could do it was Henry. He point blank refused to watch the attempted pronk.
Al's best friend, Barney went with him for support to the bottom of the field and said he would pronk with him. Several over excited herd members in the girls field decided to run along side him. The main bulk of the herd waited at the top, fingers crossed.
I write this with great pride, Al is the little black alpaca seen entering the shot from the left. He ends up posing magnificently in front of me, chest puffed out with pride, as tears of joy stream down my face. Henry is seen scowling at me the whole time through. We have had words.
Al is now a fully fledged pronker.
Now if that isn't drivel I don't know what is.