How to Use a Belly Line to Halter Train Your Llama

Reprinted with permission from Southeast Llama Rescue

(1)  This is a figure eight on a bight, tied in 11mm dynamic kernmantle climbing rope.

(2) Toss the rope over the llama's back. (I like to have about 30 feet of rope.)

(3) Move the llama over the rope so you can pick up the end, or use a whip butt or stick to reach over and fetch it.

(4) Run the live end of the rope through the figure eight.

5) Cinch the rope around the llama's ribcage.

(6) Move the llama over the live end of the rope so it is between his front legs, or use a stick or whip butt to pull it through.

(7) Run the live end of the rope through the halter noseband or ring. Do not secure it to the halter: it should be able to slide.

(8) When the llama pulls, the head is pulled in line with the sternum, making it difficult for him to get his head up and pull the handler off the ground, or to hit his head on the ground in an effort to get away.

(9) To get the rope off, just reverse the process and shake the rope. The figure eight knot won't seize up, so you can shake it loose until it just falls off the llama.

(10) Here I am using the belly and a regular lead rope to halter break Pepper. He is a four-year old rescue who has only had a halter on once or twice for vet care and transport. I cue him with the lead in my right hand. If he jumps, runs in panic, or balks and sets, I put pressure on the belly line in my left hand. This cues him at the ribcage, protects him from hitting his head, and brings his head into line.

(11) Pepper is getting the message and isn't pulling back and fighting the 'move forward' cues anymore. He is attentive and relaxed after only two or three pulls from the belly line, which is then no longer necessary.