EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — A local animal trainer has been training dogs and horses, but recently started training long horns and, in January, started training camels.
Heather Beck lives in Eagle Mountain. She is working with two one-hump camels named Falkor and Zepher. She has trained some Texas Longhorn cattle to be able to saddle and ride them.
Beck said she has been impressed with the Longhorns' and camels' levels of intelligence.
“I get a lot of flak from horse trainers, ‘oh cattle are so stupid’ I say, ‘well, actually, they're pretty intelligent and I feel they’re smarter than horses-- really more grounded, not as spooked,” said Beck. “I don't think people realize they can be very affectionate, they come when they're called, they know their names, and they are monkey-smart.”
Beck needed help working with the young camels, so she hired Sidiamar Taoua, a camel trainer from Africa’s Sahara Desert,
“Back home we used camel to go from A to B,” said Taoua. “Basically, they are our family, our transportation, our everything.”
Taoua has also trained camels in Mexico and Europe. He said the camels learn quickly. He had only been working with Falkor and Zepher a few hours before they listened to him when he told them to lay down.
“They are more smart than horses and dogs. They can feel things, they can sense things you can't,” said Taoua. “They are like us; they have different personalities, if you're mean to them, they'll get you back -- just go slow with them love them.”
Beck said her ranch is dedicated to education for anyone interested in learning about these creatures.
“It’s an educational ranch,” said Beck. “We are not a petting zoo. Basically, we want to be able to educate people about the animals we have, and how they can be friendly, and a part of your life.”
She said her animal training hobby has paid off.
“A lot of people will use them for film, for TV, parades, things like that - and you can actually make a pretty decent living. Not just with the Texas Longhorn but also with the camels. You can do live nativities, you can do rides.”
If you want to learn more about Beck’s Canines, Cattle and Camel Ranch, visit: https://www.facebook.com/canineandcattleranch