A little about me . . .
I am Eileen Ditsler of Icehouse Llamas. Located in San Dimas, California about 40 miles from downtown Los Angeles. San Dimas is a small community nestled at the foothills of the Angeles National Forest.
Icehouse Llamas occurred quite by accident in 1995. I stumbled across llamas at the Los Angeles County Fair with my good friend, Paul Territo. I must admit I had never before given llamas a second thought. I had been involved with horses as a teenager after having wanted one since I was 4. Why walk when you can ride was my motto at the time. Paul convinced me hiking could be fun if it involved llamas. Besides they would carry all our gear and I wouldn't have to have a pack on my back. We each bought a llama and began taking our little buddies with us everywhere. Soon I found llamas to be so much fun and much less expensive to care for than horses. I have never looked back.
One of our first hikes with baby Chill and Diego 1996 on Blue Ridge-that's Mt Baldy in the background.
The inevitable happened quickly, I discovered showing. But not just standing around looking pretty in a halter class, but the really good stuff—performance. Always I had enjoyed trainining my horses and working with my dogs. The llamas were at least as smart as dogs and so much quicker figuring things out than the horses. The world is our obstacle course.
At one of my first shows someone asked me my ranch name. Hmmm, I didn't even have a ranch, let alone a name. So that was a challenge. Our first real hike with the llamas had been up Icehouse Canyon at the base of Mt. Baldy in the Angeles Forest. It is one of the best hikes close to home where I can go and see actual season changes. So I chose Icehouse Llamas.
Above is a photo of the original Icehouse in the canyon which burned down many years ago.
Another inevitability was acquiring too many llamas. Yes, llamas are addicting and I am a llama addict. The numbers are hard to keep down. The predicament isn't the buying, it is the housing. I live with my Mom on about ¾ acre in a residential area zoned for livestock. I have great neighbors, but I still keep the majority of my herd of 13 llamas or so at Ken & Nanci Suttons in Apple Valley. Without the Suttons I don't know how I would be able to be so successful. They are awesome!
I do wish they'd come to more shows though....
My Dad, Erwin Ditsler, was involved with the llamas, too. At first he participated showing in halter class and even in the performance classes, too. Being the engineer he was and having spare time sitting on the side lines at llama shows, he developed a great system for keeping track of the performance points. He soon was able to calculate quickly the performance champion and reserve champion at shows as soon as the places were announced for the last class. From this grew a much appreciated interest in helping with the score keeping at our local shows. 7 years he also volunteered his time at the Grand Nationals helping with performance scorekeeping.
And did I mention that he was the best obstacle designer and builder? He helped me by making devious and difficult obstacles for use at the Moonlight Madness Performance show each summer. What will I do without him? We were always thinking of new obstacles for MM.
There wouldn't be an Icehouse Llamas if it wasn't for my Mom. She is the reason I am able to live this wonderful life. She is the best. Of course, everyone thinks that about their Mom, but mine really is. I work and come home to play with the llamas. Mom is generally willing to feed and clean when I am off to one show or another. She also tries to make sure I have some variety of life experiences. She thinks there's more to life than just llamas. I suppose there is.....
Mom is very tolerant considering she would prefer a life without pets. She could be quite content with nothing to worry about feeding or petting.
Pepper, the barn cat, lazing in the summer afternoon shade. She is a great ratter.
Judie Moser donated this wall hanging at the LANA Hobo Show 2010 fundraiser. I couldn't resist it since it looks like my Mike. Now it hangs in my room where my smiling Mike greets me everyday.