Fri September 25, 2009
Louisiana horse whisperer brings others to Jesus
By Rebecca Feldhaus
Princeton, KY – Armed with a flag and his faith, Louisiana cowboy Paul Daily packs Princeton's City County Park with locals and a few out-of-towners. He stands tall and sturdy. Donning fringed leather chaps, and a black cowboy hat Daily's gray hair peaks below the brim.
Daily represents himself under a registered non-profit charity Wild Horse Ministries. He started the ministry in 1997, while still continuing his full time oil field job. In 2001 Daily felt a calling to work with horses full time.
"It started out as a demonstration for a youth group at my house. We just got a bunch of kids around there and I showed them what God had showed me with the horse. So it started as a one time only deal, and here we are, still a-going."
After a few songs from a classic country band and John Wayne's recorded pledge of allegiance Daily gets the show on the road. While the audience waits patiently, an aggravated young colt rumbles in his trailer. The colt's owner verifies Daily has never seen the horse, and off he goes. Daily starts out with a flag at the end of a long, pliable rod. With the flag, and his voice, he starts working.
"I think he's got his chest stuck out. I think he's a-bragging and boasting about how tough he is. I've seen his kind before. Matter of fact, I used to be just like that."
Along with his trusty black lab, Daily works the horse by speaking to him clearly, and with hand signs and movements. As the night continues, Daily even saddles the horse and rides him. Charlie Watson provided the colts this year and last year at different events. He was initially skeptical, but now he's a believer.
"I put a halter on the horse the day before he got it, and when I left it, I rode it the next day and it took a while, but you could ride it."
"And before you couldn't?"
"No, barely touch it."
Daily says he's always been a cowboy, and he loves that culture. Working with horses is something he's very comfortable with, but he didn't always work like he does now.
"I used to be pretty rough on them, used to beat and bang em, but you don't have to do that. If you can get their attention, then you'll have a better horse. If I can get him to work for me today, chances are, he'll work for me tomorrow."
Though he changed his rough horse training ways, Daily says he likes to think of himself differently than most may think.
"The word horse whispering, I'm not to favorable to that because a lot of people take it out of context. The Horse Whisperer was a movie. If you noticed, I didn't whisper a word here, I talked loud and clear. It's a silent communication between me and the horse. We basically read each other's minds. It's not a game, you learn kind of what horses are thinking, you learn what makes them do what they do. And if this horse can ever realize that I'm not there to hurt him, he'll come around and he'll start trusting me."
Daily and his wife travel all over the country spreading their message. They've visited 30 states and Daily says he wants to make it up to Canada. It makes one wonder how long septuagenarian Daily can keep it up.
"Well, as long as God gives me health. It's pretty rough on the body, pretty hard. We live on the road, I actually live in a horse trailer. And we go, go, go, we will do 160 demos this year, and that's in 11 months. We're going to try to take most of December off, if we can. So we stay real busy. And I'm going to go as long as my health will hold out."
Last week's demonstration went well for Paul. Though his dog received a sturdy kick when the horse was right out of the shoot, everything else went safely. This is not always the case.
"Oh yeah, that's just part of it, yep, yep, we've had some pretty close calls, but God has watched over us."
Daily is not a preacher. He's just a cowboy spreading his message one horse at a time.