Trainer preaches giving the reins to God

Photos by Kaiti Sullivan/The Herald
Paul Daily of Louisiana works with an untrained, 2-year-old quarter horse while preaching the gospel during the Wild Horse Ministries event at Hill Creek Stables in Bretzville on Tuesday. Daily has been using horse training as a way to teach trust, faith, obedience and love for the Lord for more than 22 years. "God is just so real to me," Daily said. "He's the reason I'm here. If they will go to the Lord and give them their heart and life, God will change their lives."

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

BRETZVILLE — Years ago, Paul Daily lived life much like an untrained horse.

He bucked. He kicked. He stubbornly ran in circles and tried to jump the fence.

No longer trotting aimlessly, the Louisiana man now uses the muscular animals to share a moving message. The devout Christian leans on horses to preach a sermon of faith, love, obedience and trust — all tied to giving the reins of our lives to the man upstairs.

He did just that at the Hill Creek Stables in Bretzville on Tuesday evening.

“God turned my life around with a horse,” Daily, 64, said before the event. “He showed me that a lot of horses are buckin’, and a kickin’ and a running.” He said, “See that horse? That’s what you’re doing to me. You’re running away from me.’”

During a two-hour training session, Daily broke a 2-year-old quarter horse named Champ. Daily hadn’t seen the colt prior to the event, and Champ had never before been saddled up and ridden.

Before the gathering ended, Daily built a rapport with the horse and guided him around a circular enclosure in front of a crowd of about 75 people.

Olivia Durcholz, 16, of Huntingburg, presents the American flag during the national anthem before the Wild Horse Ministries event at Hill Creek Stables in Bretzville on Tuesday.

“When I gave into the Lord, He started showing me these things through these horses,” he said. “Horse training and serving God is similar.”

After having this revelation, Daily said God told him, “I want you to go and share with others what I’ve shared with you.”

And, so, during the past 22 years, he has trained more than 2,200 horses in 33 states and several foreign countries with the help of his family. He does the work through the nonprofit Wild Horse Ministries.

All the public spectacles are free to attend, and Daily makes his living off donations and merchandise sales. Tuesday’s event marked the 18th stop on his current tour. He has 27 more before he returns home — the closest of which will take place today at the Spencer County 4-H Fairgrounds in Chrisney at 6 p.m. CT.

Daily began Tuesday’s show by waving a flag at an uninterested Champ to control his movements. Eventually, Daily — who was dressed in brown leather chaps and a black cowboy hat — got the horse to look at him. The trainer then petted Champ, and after building more trust with him through rope and lasso exercises, the saddle went up and Daily hopped on.

Throughout that gentle process with the horse, Daily preached through a speaker system to onlookers about how what he was asking of the horse is similar to what God asks of us.

Paul Daily of Louisiana works with an untrained, 2-year-old quarter horse during Wild Horse Ministries at Hill Creek Stables in Bretzville on Tuesday.

Champ was selected for training, Daily said, just like God has selected us for use in His kingdom. Daily didn’t expect Champ to be anything more than an untrained horse, and he said God doesn’t expect us to be or do more than what we are capable of. Trust is important in horse training just as it is to having a good relationship with the Lord, Daily said.

Daily never forced the horse to serve him, just like God never forces us to serve Him and receive soul salvation, he explained. The list of symbolic similarities goes on.

“I want to be kind to this horse,” Daily said before the show. “I want to make something valuable out of this horse. I’m not here to hurt this horse. God wants nobody to go to hell, He wants us all to go to heaven. But it’s our choice.”
Daily’s favorite part of his work is that it encourages people and gives them hope.

“A lot of people say, ‘Well, there ain’t no hope for this horse,’” Daily said. “But if you’ll just take your time, you can work the horse and make it a valuable horse. And all horses are different. No two horses are the same.”

And while Champ’s training is far from complete, Tuesday’s event was a step in the right direction. It marked the first day of the rest of his life, Daily said.

Daily hoped attendees touched by the event would decide to make the first step toward a big change in their own lives.

“If they will go to the Lord and give Him their heart and life, God will change their lives,” Daily said. “And He’ll do it tonight. If they will ask Him to come and be the Lord of their life, He will.”

Paul Daily of Louisiana leads a prayer after a two-hour training session at the Wild Horse Ministries event at Hill Creek Stables in Bretzville on Tuesday.



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