Several years ago, Rose and Frank Nash stayed at a bed and breakfast. When they woke in the morning, they were greeted by alpacas who lived on the property.
When they got home, they had the usual post-vacation conversation: Rose told her husband, “We should quit our jobs and raise alpacas.”
To her surprise, Frank replied with “okay.”
Years later, the Nashes moved to a Tabernacle horse farm from their Marlton townhouse. After getting settled in, they took in two alpacas, and Nash Hill Alpacas was born.
“We fell in love with the animal,” Rose said. “They’re very soft and fuzzy, and we like that they’re sustainable.”
The Nashes care for their alpacas but don’t use them for commercial gain. Their manure is used to compost and fertilize the couple’s garden, while their fleece, shorn once a year to prevent heat stroke, is used to make yarn.
Rose loves to share the alpacas with the public, who can make appointments with her. At the farm’s annual open house, she offers alpaca facts to visitors. Did you know that baby alpacas can start running within 45 minutes of being born?
About a year ago, Gina Durante, a Collingswood resident and owner of the company Yoga Events, got in touch with Nash Hill Alpacas. She had an idea to host a yoga class at the farm, and the Nashes agreed. Rose had heard of animal yoga before and thought alpacas and yoga would be a complementary mix.
“They’re very calm. They make a very soothing humming noise,” she noted. “It’s very peaceful. They’re very serene animals.”
The duo’s first yoga class was a hit. On April 18, another, socially distanced event will be held at the farm.
“Mrs. Nash takes a couple of the alpacas out and walks around during the yoga class,” Durante explained. “So they might bend down while you’re in downward dog pose, or they’ll kiss your cheek or mess with your hair.”
Durante often organizes classes that involve animals, because they entice people of all ages and abilities to practice yoga. A portion of the ticket sales always goes to support the farms and rescues.
“Animals are my passion, and so is yoga,” Durante said. “To donate a part of the tickets back to the farm so they are able to help the animals more is just such a great feeling.”
Nash and Durante hope to host more yoga events this year, and Nash Hill Alpacas plans two open houses in 2021, one in September and a holiday event in December.
“This is something we do because we just love the animals,” Nash said. “People get to know what they do, what they are for. They’re good for so many things that people never realize.”