Sopris Llamas
Sopris Pack Tack Information & Instructions
Sopris Classic Saddle with Rigging (Leather Cinch System)
(Sopris rigging is interchangeable between the Sopris Classic, Sopris Roughy,
Sopris Lumbar and the Ralide Saddles)

1. Split pad (used with both Sopris
    and Roughy) (Felt pad for Sopris
    Ralide Saddle not shown)
2. Diagonal straps & pad quick
    release buckles
3. Chest strap
4. Leather billet strap & tongue buckle
    (Quick Draw Cinches not shown)
5. Metal snap & front saddle ring

  6. Cinch connection strap
7. Pannier stabilizing strap quick release buckles
8. Diagonal straps & rear cinch quick release
9. Breeching
10. Metal snap & rear saddle ring
11. Loop end of breeching
12. Velcro end of pad
13. Sopris brand*

*Important Note on Identifying Front and Rear of Saddle:
Sopris Classic (pre 1995): "SOPRIS" is branded on the rear saddle horn
Sopris Classic (Post 1995): "Handcrafted by Sopris (Front)" is branded on the front saddle horn
Sopris Roughy: "Handcrafted by Sopris (Front)” is branded on the front saddle horn. This brand is also located on the front of each saddle bar
Sopris Lumbar: The draw string cord and the "O" ring between the cylinders are at the rear of the saddle
Ralide: The rounded ends of the saddle bars are at the front of the saddle

  Jump To:
Sopris Split Pad
Sopris Cinches
Sopris Chest Strap
Sopris Breeching
Sopris Rain Covers


Your two-piece pad is enclosed in 1680 denier water resistant nylon covers. The split pad attaches to both the Sopris Classic Saddle and the Sopris Roughy Saddle with Velcro, making saddle and pad one unit.

Two quick release buckles on the front of the pad connect to the diagonal strap on the chest strap. Within each cover is a 1/2 inch felt pad surrounded by 1/4 inch closed cell foam.

Follow these instructions when removing the inner pads to wash the nylon cover: Open the Velcro end of the pad cover and remove the pads from within. Take note so that you can get the pads back in exactly as they came out. It is easiest to fold the pads in half lengthwise when removing and reinserting. Replace the foam pad in the cover and close the Velcro end.

For the Sopris Classic Saddle:
Two small moon-shaped Velcro pads (sent on request) can be attached to the 1/4 inch closed cell foam where indicated, should you need to custom fit an extremely curved back llama. If you suspect the small pads might be needed, test by setting your saddle without split pad on your llama's back in the proper position. Push down with even pressure on the saddle horns while feeling between the saddle and the llama's back on each side of the spine with your free hand. If the space behind the withers is noticeably greater than it is across the rest of the saddle, insert the small pads.

To do this, open the Velcro end of the pad cover and remove the pads within. Take note so that you can get the pads back in exactly as they came out. It is easiest to fold the pads in half length wise to remove and insert. Place the small pad on the outlined area of the 1/4 inch foam and place the inner pads back into the cover just as they came out. From the llama's back outward you should have 1/4 inch foam, small foam pad, felt pad, then 1/4' foam again. Replace the foam pad in the cover and close the Velcro end.

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1. Brush your llama to clear the wool of sticks and burrs that could irritate or sore the back or belly (our poly brush works great for this).

2. Your cinches are attached to the right side of the saddle to accommodate saddling from the llama’s left side. Before putting the saddle on, estimate the size of your llama's girth and adjust the cinches accordingly so that they will be centered when tightened (the same amount of cinch should be on each side of the llama). This is easier once you become familiar with the rigging and your llama’s size.

3. Before putting the saddle on your llama, pull the cinches up and lay them across the saddle. Then, set the saddle on your llama’s back, making sure it is not on backward. Adjust the saddle so that the FRONT (short cinch with Sopris logo tag) CINCH WILL COME ACROSS THE STERNUM (the callused area) with the front edge of the cinch approximately 1 to 1 1/2" behind the llama's elbow.

4. SLOWLY lower the cinches so that they hang down on the opposite side of the llama from you. Holding onto the saddle with your left hand, reach under the llama and take the cinch buckle (leather system) or cinch strap snap (Quick Draw System) with your right hand and connect it to saddle. Hold the saddle in place as you tighten the cinch. Push the wool away from the buckle as you tighten so the wool doesn’t get caught in it. After your llama has gotten used to the saddling process, the cinches must be tightened to the recommended tension: The front cinch MUST BE TIGHT. It should be difficult to get your fingers between the cinch and the llama after you have tightened the front cinch. After the front cinch is in place connect the rear cinch. THE ACCEPTED PLACEMENT OF THE REAR CINCH is as far back as possible bringing it directly in front of the penile sheath or udder. Adjust the CINCH CONNECTING STRAP so that the rear cinch does not ride back into the penis or udder. The rear cinch should just fit snuggly against the belly. Pull and push your saddle from side to side and from front to rear. It will be difficult to move the saddle in any direction (except for the movement of the animal's skin with the saddle) if you have cinched correctly. Check your cinches from time to time on the trail and tighten them if necessary.

5. Two SIDE RELEASE BUCKLES pointing rearward on the front cinch and two pointing forward on the rear cinch are connections for the PANNIER STABILIZING STRAPS (1 "x 20" web straps) which connect to the buckle toward the bottom center of each pannier. To disconnect side release buckle, squeeze at the sides.

6. Excess cinch strap can be tied in latigo (neck tie) fashion to the saddle D rings or stored in the cinch sleeves.  Your cinch straps can be cut shorter, but make sure there is enough strap left to allow for weight gain or the possibility of using the saddle on a larger llama.

7. Walk your llama around to get him used to the cinches and saddle.

8. Repeat the process until he is comfortable. You are ready for the chest strap and breeching.

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The chest strap is used to insure that the saddle does not move rearward when your llama is going up steep inclines. A chest strap is also recommended when packing llamas in a string to keep the saddle from being stripped off the rear of your lead llama.

Placing the Chest Strap:
1. Snap the metal chest strap snaps to the front saddle cinch rings.

2. The chest strap should be centered on the llama's chest and adjusted so that it is placed between the windpipe and the shoulder joint. Tighten the chest strap snugly when in use.

3. The DIAGONAL STRAPS on the chest strap hold the chest strap up and in place. Connect these straps to the QUICK RELEASE BUCKLES on the saddle pad.

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The breeching is used to ensure that the saddle does not move forward while your llama is going down steep inclines. Our breeching also doubles as a training harness: after saddling and attaching the breeching, clip a lead rope on both forward cinch rings and pull your llama through the obstacle or into the trailer.

Placing the Breeching:
1. Begin by standing on the llama's left side with the breeching completely disconnected from the saddle.

2. Put the LOOP END of the strap through the arch of the rear saddle horn in the direction of the llama's head, and then loop it back over the top of the horn.

3. Connect the appropriate metal snap to the rear cinch ring.

4. Hold the breeching below tail level with the free snap in your right hand and walk around your llama to the other side. He will probably move toward you as you bring the breeching around (this is to your advantage). Connect the snap to the other rear cinch ring.

5. The perfect placement of the breeching is where the testicles used to be on a gelding. The top edge of the breeching should ride below the testicles on intact males and below the vulva of a female.

6. Connect the DIAGONAL BREECHING STRAPS to the rear cinch side release buckles that point toward the rear of the llama. Tighten these straps only enough to keep the breeching from riding up toward the llama's tail.

7. Snugly tighten the breeching straps connected to the saddle when in use.

8. Walk your llama around to get him used to the breeching. He will dance and possibly kick a bit at first. Repeat the process until he is comfortable with it. You are ready for the panniers.

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Your rain cover is made of urethane-coated oxford nylon. This material is lightweight, flexible, very water resistant and has a high tensile strength.

Shock cords with nylon hooks run through the seam on each end of the cover. The hooks attach quickly and easily to the bottom outside pannier "D" rings. An extra "D" ring is provided at each point. The Sopris Rain Cover will protect your sleeping bags, pads, tents and any other gear that is tied to the top of the saddle and panniers.

Hypothermic conditions may exist at certain times when transporting your llama to and from the trailhead or during your stay in the high country, especially if you have just shorn your llama. In these situations, the Sopris Deluxe Rain Cover doubles as a raincoat for your llama. Just use the three straps provided and stored in the convenient zippered pocket:

1. The medium-length strap is the neck strap. It has two "D" rings that clip into the hooks on one end of the cover.

2. The longest strap is the body strap that clips into the center buckle on the cover and runs under the llama to the buckle on the other side.

3. The short strap with a "D" ring on each end is the tail strap. Connect this strap to the bungee hooks on the other end of the cover and pull the cover over your llama's rump.

The rain cover may also be used to cover saddles and other equipment while in camp.