Can I Ride a Llama in Real Life

Can You Ride A Llama In Real Life?

One of the first questions that I always get when someone finds out that I own llamas is, “Can you ride a llama?”.  So, I thought I would take of few minutes to try to answer that question.

A Brief History of Domesticated Llamas

Llamas in Their South American Home

Llamas have been used as beasts of burden from time immemorial. This has made these South American animals invaluable to indigenous tribes throughout the region. Even today, people use llamas to ferry goods to market and shuttle possessions from one campsite to another. Life in the rugged terrain of many South American nations simply would not be possible without their willing assistance.

Llamas in North America and The Rest of The World

In the rest of the world, llamas are also used as pack animals. In these areas, llamas allow hikers to traverse the rugged terrain of wild areas and make their way safely down the steepest trails. By trusting their packs to the strong backs of their llamas, outdoor enthusiasts can focus on their own footwork as they navigate steep mountain terrain, creating a safer experience for humans and beasts alike.

So, Can You Ride a Llama?

Can Adults Ride a Llama?

Given the many wonderful things llamas do for their human companions, it is only natural that many people would wonder if they can ride a llama.  However, the size and weight differential between even the largest llamas and other animals used for riding means that llamas are generally not suitable as riding companions.

  • A healthy adult llama can weigh as much as 400 pounds, compared to an average of 1100 to 1200 pounds for a horse. Since even a horse should carry only about 200 pounds on its back, it is obvious that having an adult try to ride a llama would not be a very good idea.
  • Even camels, a close relative of llamas, are far larger and stronger and more suitable to ride than any llama. Depending on sex and species, a camel can weigh in at anywhere from 900 to 1300 pounds. The smaller size of the llama means these animals are not strong or sturdy enough to carry an adult rider.

Can Children Ride a Llama?

Of course, there are always exceptions (kind of).  Despite everything I said above, it does not mean that no one can ride a llama.  It only means that adults should stick to having the animals carry their hiking gear and extra food stores.  However, small children so ride llamas, both in indigenous South American cultures and in the rest of the world.

While it is possible for small children to ride a llama, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

  • Most importantly, most llama breeders do not teach their animals to allow riders.
  • If you buy an adult llama, you should not expect it to let your child ride on its back.  Under no circumstances should you simply sit your child on a llama’s back.
  • Even if you buy a cria or young llama, with the intention of teaching it to ride, proceed cautiously.  You will need to go slowly and always put safety first, as a bolting llama could be a big problem.

As you can see, llamas are not really suitable riding companions for any but the youngest children.  However, riding a llama is generally not the best idea. So, feel free to load up your pack llama with all your gear, but you might want to take your kid for a pony ride.

If you would like to learn more about renting pack llamas take a look at our pack llama rental post!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: