Seemed appropriate to introduce her next, after Lola Montez.
If you read Lola’s story, you will remember that she was a carriage horse in a pair. Her pair was Paloma Faith.
Paloma has a very different character compared to Lola. She is a tough cookie!
She protected herself from the trauma and abuse by becoming aggressive – if you get into an argument with Paloma, you will not win. She has a mean & very accurate kick and a very fast bite.
This is something I learned early on with her. Force and violence is not going to take us anywhere, Paloma had been beaten so much that she had become immune to it. You could pick up any whip or a stick and she wouldn’t flinch. Instead she almost took it as a challenge “ Yeah, that’s all you got? I’ve been beaten with worse things before, bring it on?”
So it was obvious that force and pressure was not going to get us anywhere with her.
For the first year, Paloma didn’t trust us or any Humans. Not one bit. She allowed handling, treatment and everything was seemingly fine, but you could see she always had reservations. Her attitude was negative, almost as if she was expecting us to turn against her at any moment.
Now, after treating her with kindness and fairness for the over two years she has been with us, we are finally in a place where I know she feels completely safe and comfortable with us. She comes over for scratches and absolutely loves to go out for rides. She is always first, the leader. And although she is little, she is fast and forward going.
When I first started riding her, I used a snaffle bit but very quickly realized I had absolutely zero control despite of the metal in her mouth. She brought me home on a few occasions happily trotting away completely ignoring my cues. She probably has had very strong bits in her mouth before and my gentle hands were very easy to ignore. Two solutions; stronger bit or better training. I chose the latter and have since sold all my bits – our horses are all completely bitless, no metal in their mouth at all here anymore.
Paloma is the leader of the herd in a sense that no other horse moves her around. She is highly respected by the others. She is the very caring mother of Lua and has the patience of a saint. Lua, the little terror, can get away with all sorts of rascally behaviour and mom will never tell her off.
Now that Paloma knows she is listened to and knows that she is allowed an opinion, she is very communicative. This shows especially when you are scratching her, it’s almost like a game of hot and cold. By slight swishes of the tail, turns on the ears and her position she will tell you exactly where she wants to be touched and where not. Don’t ignore her signs, they will just get louder!
She is a great personality and a very brave and fearless horse. I am glad to have witnessed the change she has gone through and that she now has a positive outlook in life.