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Friday, May 6, 2016

Gospel lessons, with help from a horse

Friday, April 1, 2011

Paul Daily, center, illustrates a Gospel lesson with horsemanship.
(Submitted photo)
Have you ever had a colt that refused to follow the rules, even though those rules were designed to make its life easier?

Come to think of it -- have you ever known a person who did the same thing?

That's the premise behind Wildhorse Ministries, a Louisiana-based nonprofit that combines horse whispering with lessons from the Gospel. The ministry is led by Paul Daily who will bring his message -- and his equestrian skills -- to Calsonic Arena Saturday night.

"Paul Daily calls the horse a mirror with hair on it. The way they behave with their trainer is the way we behave with God," said Clint Clarnaeu, who was instrumental in bringing the event to Shelbyville. "The reason I thought Shelbyville should hear Paul Daily is when he's doing his training ministry, every person there can see themselves in that horse in some way."

Admission is free for the event, which begins with music at 5 p.m., and love offerings will be accepted for Community Outreach Partnership.

Clarneau ran across Daily when both men were doing mission work in Kentucky last September, Clarneau finished his work early and heard about Wildhorse being in the next town over. When he got there, he found himself helping out, operating Daily's video camera throughout the event.

By the time it was over, he had seen more than enough to convince him to bring Daily to Shelbyville.

"Our primary goal is to get the message out there," said Clarneau. "The secondary goal is to help the community. There are over 35 churches on board with it already. There's been a lot of unity in the community over him coming in."

Horse whispering is the common term used for natural horsemanship, a technique in which a horse is gentled with voice and touch, instead of "broken," using body language and an understanding of equine psychology and instinct. Daily describes himself as an "ole country boy" and "oil field worker," but he's made his mark as a horse whisperer. He has loved and worked with horses all his life. Before the ministry started he worked in the oil fields "for his bread money" and trained horses on his days off.

Early in 1997, Paul was working with a horse when he felt the call to take the lessons the horse was learning and relate it to man's life lessons with Jesus Christ. During the first three years, demonstrations were given before almost 15,000 people in Louisiana and Texas. This non-denominational ministry was taken to churches, fairs, prisons and "anywhere we're invited." In May of 2000, Paul left his job in the oil fields for a full-time ministry.

Originally, Clarneau had planned to have the event in a local stable or barn and only invite a few hundred people. But as the interest grew, and with input from Willie Nelson and Winky Groover, a home for the event was found at Calsonic. A young, unbroken horse will be provided by a local stable, one Daily won't have ever worked with before.

Daily gentles them, with words and pats, until they let him bridle, saddle and ride them -- all within two hours.

Occasionally, he can get the horse to totally submit by lying down. Daily says the Lord has given him this ability and is using him to reach people who shy away from organized religion and church. As the horse submits to his ministrations, people submit to God's.

"We have witnessed individual lives being changed because of their willingness to submit to Jesus Christ," said Daily.