Paul Daily was no stranger to horses, but one day, in 1997, as he watched a wild horse buck and run in a fit of unruliness, he felt the call of God.
“It became clear that I had been running from God,” Daily said. “I wanted to make this horse something of value, just like God makes us. There is a correlation between a man training a horse and God showing us the way.”
He held his first demonstration breaking horses at his home in Jena, La., for a Sunday school class of 92 people. It was supposed to be a one-time deal, but after the demonstration, Daily received requests to do another demonstration. Before he knew it, Daily was traveling around to different states as a performer. Finally, in 2000, Daily quit his job working in the oil fields to travel for demonstrations year-round.
Since his first demonstration, Daily has performed 1,612 throughout the country. Wild Horse Ministries will come to Plant City Jan. 25, at Lebanon Baptist Church, and Jan. 26, at The Farm, in Lithia.
“This is what we do now,” Daily said. “We travel and share the word. I’m not a preacher. I’m just a country boy.”
Daily says he doesn’t break horses but rather “gentles” them. In Plant City, Daily will gentle a 3-year-old American quarter horse gelding that has never been ridden.
“It’s not as easy as you think,” Daily said. “You never know what horse you’re going to get. Every horse is different. It’s exciting.”
His wife, Joanna, and daughter, Lenora, have joined him on this latest tour, which also encompasses three stops in Georgia and six in Florida, including the two in the local area.
“It used to scare me,” Joanna said about her husband riding wild horses. “You didn’t know what would happen. But you just have to give it up to the Lord.”
Joanna didn’t grow up around horses, but her son, Dan, and Lenora share their father’s love for the animals. They both had horses in high school rodeos and help out frequently with the show.
“Lenora is a real cowgirl,” Daily said.
During the two-hour demonstration, Daily will train the horse while sharing corresponding Scripture. As he works the horse, he follows what he calls the Round Pen of Life, which includes 10 steps or similarities to the relationship God has with his people. The Round Pen of Life is based on trust, faith and obedience.
Plant City resident Riviere Thomas first heard about Wild Horse Ministries two years ago.
He instantly became interested and wanted to get the ministry to come to Plant City. Last year, he invited Daily and his ministry to Plant City. This year, he is pleased to have Daily return.
“I love horses and how they relate to me and the message of God,” Thomas said. “The ministry reaches a number of people that do not come to organized church.”
Thomas is a member of Plant City’s First Baptist Church, but he worked with friends in Lithia to invite Daily, Cowboy Up Ministry and Frontline Ministry for a weekend of faith.
The weekend starts on Jan. 25 with an inspirational country music concert. On Jan. 26, there will be square dancing, and Daily will give his horse demonstration. The weekend concludes with a cowboy church and a free barbecue dinner. Skipper Calder, with the Cowboy Up Ministry, will perform a horse demonstration with the horse Daily broke to show how continued faith and obedience coincide with a relationship with God.
IF YOU GO
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Jan. 25
WHERE: Lebanon Baptist Church, 110 N. Forbes Road, Plant City
CONTACT: Glen Churchwell, (813) 754-7722
WHEN: 3 p.m. Jan. 26
WHERE: The Farm, 7820 Lithia Pinecrest Road, Lithia