Paul Parr of Castana, Iowa, has always had a passion for horses.
“It’s a lifetime deal,” said Paul, who was interested in horses from the day he was born and then grew up with horses.
Even though Paul has worked with horses his whole life, he just started training wild horses a couple years ago. Paul is retired and mostly spent his time trucking.
A friend of Paul’s in Tucson, Ariz., bought some wild horses. His friend, who had trained horses for 50 years, had one horse in the group that was dangerous and thought could never be broke.
His friend’s neighbor liked the look of the horse, bought it, and then called Paul.
“Do you think you can do anything with that horse?” the neighbor asked him. Paul didn’t know for sure, but said he would give it a try. Paul went down to Arizona to get the horse, which is also where he spends his winters.
At the age of 81, he started training that horse, and in 30 days, Paul said he could ride him.
“It takes time with a wild horse,” Paul said. “You have to get them to where they can trust you.”
He noted a wild horse is spooky because they are scared of everything and they have to run in order to survive.
“Their life depends on them being able to bolt and get out of there,” Paul said.
To train the horse, Paul said you just have to work and play with it.
“The horse has to tell me what he wants me to do,” said Paul.
He added that you have to let the horse know you’re not going to hurt it.
“Horses are like people. Everyone is different, and everyone is a different challenge,” Paul said.
Paul’s favorite part of training the horse is the ability to convey in his mind what’s in that horse’s mind.
Paul has ridden horses in lots of parades, including the Mapleton Fourth of July parade this year. He also enjoys trail riding. In July, Paul went on a three-week trail riding trip in the Black Hills in South Dakota, and in October, went on a ride to Yellow River by Postville, Iowa, for a couple days. While on his trips, Paul stays in his living quarters trailer.
His favorite trail riding trip is to Custer, S.D. He has been going there since 1984 and tries to go there once a year.
While he can’t ride as far as he used to, he rides for about three to four hours a day while on a riding trip.