Welcome to the World and Music of Dan Roark

Welcome to the world and music of Dan Roark. I have lived here for a while now and it's not a bad place to live, really. Although on some level, it's probably just as well you're only visiting. But hang around as long as you like.

Here you can listen to my songs - and buy them if you wish - read my thoughts in posts on my blog, see my pictures, and find out when and where I am playing. 

You can also hear live versions of my songs on Reverbnation, as well as see videos of live performances. You can also see my videos on, and subscribe to, my YouTube channel


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Claire, FFA, and Horse Judging 

Claire on Cy

By Dan Roark

Claire and I were talking during one of the two Denton Riding Club Playdays in which New Hope riders participated. She was telling Cyndy and I about her team competing in Horse Judging events through FFA at school. I thought it would make a great post and asked her to write it down and send it to me. Claire began as a rider in this little universe we call New Hope. Now she owns Sierra, who is training to be a therapy horse, and is planning a career around horses. Just one of the marvelous stories that unfold at New Hope.

What follows is what Claire sent me (albeit with grammatical edits).

“Horse judging is a part of Future Farmers Of America (FFA). It is called a Career Development Event (CDE). It is my favorite because I love horses, want to learn more, and want to make that into my career. For the last couple months my team and I have been practicing every Wednesday to get prepared for upcoming contests.

Horse judging can be very complicated and competitive as there are lots of teams and it is all based on what the judge thinks. You have 7 to 8 classes depending on the college. Some are Performance under saddle classes and some halter. When judging performance classes it’s all based on how the rider and horse work together while halter classes are just based on how the horse is structured and what it looks like.

We have had four total invitational CDEs (any team from across the state can participate). The first competition was a little rough because everyone on my team had never done Horse Judging. The second, third, and fourth competition went really well!! I placed first out of my team each day but we all did amazing and improved each day! Clarendon college was by far our best day. We got 11th out of 66 teams and I got 3rd out of 219 people! Area at Tarleton is super soon! If we place good there we get to go to state at Texas Tech!!”

The team did very well at Tarleton, but did not place well enough to go to state at Texas Tech. But they will have another chance next year and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they made it to state quite easily!

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

The post Claire, FFA, and Horse Judging first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Expressions of New Hope: Ashwik 

Ashwik Ponders

By Dan Roark

In the couple of years since Ashwik began riding at New Hope, I have taken pictures of him on numerous occasions. When he first began riding, it was almost impossible to get a shot with his eyes open.

Each lesson that I took pictures of him, he opened up a little more. As you can see, Ashwik has come a long way in a couple of years. That’s what New Hope is all about!

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.




















The post Expressions of New Hope: Ashwik first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Autism Awareness Month and New Hope 

By Dan Roark

It’s been a busy month, but before Autism Awareness Month ends, I would like to get in a post in support.

Riders at New Hope Equine Assisted Therapy are often dealing with a number of issues. In numerous cases, one of those issues is autism. Or, more precisely, they are somewhere on the autism spectrum.

Those riders on the spectrum usually prefer to ride the same horse each lesson for consistency. The games on the sensory trail are not designed for every rider. They are designed for the various issues of the riders or to build up muscles that need to be stretched or motor skills that need to be developed.

Each rider has their favorite games on the sensory trail. It’s fascinating to see the smiles on their faces as they play those games. The problems of daily life fade away and they are in their element. Their eyes light up, whether they actually smile or not.

As I mentioned earlier, New Hope is designed to work with riders with a variety of issues. But with the broadness of the autism spectrum, the chances of any of the riders being on the spectrum are great. From low functioning to high functioning and places in-between, and from riders to some volunteers, autism takes many forms.

I have known many people on various parts of the spectrum over the years. In my other life as a singer-songwriter, I play a song I wrote for those on the spectrum. It’s called Hello Out There and you can find it in the usual places online or at danroark.com. Any proceeds from the song will go to New Hope.

For more information on autism, check out autismspeaks.org or the Autism Treatment Center of Texas in Dallas.

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

The post Autism Awareness Month and New Hope first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Volunteer Highlight – Emily Klemme 

Emily assists Chris in grooming Daisy Mae while Caleb looks on.

By Dan Roark

Emily is a regular volunteer at New Hope, in addition to being a substitute teacher in the Argyle school district. She recently moved to Argyle and she is mom to six “wonderful” kids.

A love of horses and volunteering brought her to New Hope. As well as a desire to learn new things. Not to mention meeting new friends – including the animals at New Hope.


Emily leading Flash for Abby’s lesson.

Asked about her favorite horse she said that “Flash seems to be the most chill, but I’ve learned so much about them all!” The same can be said about all of us at New Hope. Horses have a lot to say if we just pay attention and listen.

Emily’s favorite part of volunteering is seeing the smiles on the clients’/riders’ faces. She mentioned that she has met some amazing people, too. Asked how volunteering has affected her: “I’ve always loved to help. I have done this type of volunteering before, but it’s been many years. I look forward to [volunteering at New Hope] every week.”

Thank you for volunteering Emily!

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

The post Volunteer Highlight – Emily Klemme first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Kudos to Highland Homes Volunteers 

By Dan Roark

The sensory trail at New Hope is brighter, thanks to the painting skills of the Highland Homes Volunteers (HHV). They painted every game on the trail that really needed painting and revived the Number Doors game after scraping the old loose paint off.


They also painted new rails for the Ball Drop. The group loved the goats and gave them treats that the group had brought for the occasion. They also brought cans of spray paint. After the work detail – in which they spread mulch and cleared branches in addition to painting – we let the horses out and the group gave them treats until jealousy led to crowding which is never good, especially with horses. Then the volunteers went to the upper pasture to see Tommy and Beau. Then they left the upper pasture and closed the gate before Sharla let Tommy and Beau out so the group could see them in action.

New Hope thanks Kelly and the volunteers from Highland Homes for their work!! The work they did was well needed.

Thank You!!!


Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

The post Kudos to Highland Homes Volunteers first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Expressions of NH: Three New Hope Friends 

Tucker, Juliana, and Claire

By Dan Roark

A few Sundays ago, Cyndy and I met Tucker and her mother, Sarah, in Weatherford and took Tucker to New Hope to ride and work with Claire and Juliana – two of her New Hope friends. Since Tucker and Sarah moved southwest of Weatherford, we have brought Tucker to New Hope as often as we can. Tucker still competes with New Hope at Chisholm Challenge in Fort Worth.

On this particular Sunday, the three of them scooped the entire area and rode/exercised horses.

Tucker, Claire, Juliana

















Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.














































The post Expressions of NH: Three New Hope Friends first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Horses Highlight: Seeing the Doctor 

By Dan Roark

Or more precisely, the doctor came to the horses in the form of Dr. Jennifer Voellinger and her Precision Equine Mobile Veterinary Service. More about her in a minute, but she has a gentle personality conducive to both humans and horses.

Torrin and I helped Kim, the barn manager, bring each horse to the shower stall for their shots and dental checkup, then put them in the tacking area until the medicine wore off, then rinsed them off when they woke up because the medicine also made them sweat.

When I arrived, Kim asked me to get Missy. I got her halter from the board and brought her out of her paddock. When she saw the doctor, she started to dig in. Dr. Voellinger only comes twice a year as a general rule, but the horses remembered that April is the main visit. Missy didn’t give as much resistance as Cy (Cyclops) did. Sharla came and slapped Cy on the rear while I pulled on the lead rope and we got him going.

Olivia, however, was a different matter. Miss Priss wanted to play games. I got her halter on and got her out of the paddock just fine. Then she spotted the doctor and dug in. Sharla said she was coming to help out as I was straining, pulling on the lead rope. Just before Sharla got to us, Olivia seemed to say, “just kidding,” and responded to my directions. The other horses varied in their responses to the doctor until they received their shots. Then they were calm.

I took pictures with my phone since I was helping to rinse off the horses – in particular, I got to rinse Flash. That, and I held the horses while the doctor gave them shots and so forth. So I didn’t get pictures of the horses after they had their injections. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to. It was like looking at a bunch of drunk horses. Nothing the horses would want you to see. It wasn’t their fault.

More about Dr. Voellinger: After graduating from University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, she completed a one year equine medicine and surgery internship at Reata Equine Hospital in Weatherford, Texas. Upon completion of her internship, she had the opportunity to practice equine ambulatory medicine in the DFW metroplex for 3 years before starting Precision Equine Mobile Veterinary Services.

Dr. Voellinger’s primary interests include equine sports medicine, internal medicine and preventative medicine. Her experience riding and competing with horses (she competed in barrel racing growing up in Missouri and continues to do so) allows her to better understand the needs of equine athletes. Dr. Voellinger is an active member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and is a certified animal chiropractor through the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA).


Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.







































The post Horses Highlight: Seeing the Doctor first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

9th Annual Sporting Clay Shoot 

By Dan Roark

The days leading up to the 9th Annual Sporting Clay Shoot were cloudy with a little rain. But the sun came out Saturday morning with just a little wind, making it a beautiful day for supporting New Hope Equine Assisted Therapy. After registration and the signing of waivers, the welcome by Dave Kershen and safety meeting by Dave Niederer, owner of Fossil Pointe, stating the rules of the range, sporting clay shoot officially began.                     

More pictures may be found in the Clay Shoot album on the New Hope Facebook page from myself and others. But for the post on the blog, I want to highlight the women who participated in the clay shoot.







Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.


















The post 9th Annual Sporting Clay Shoot first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Just Another Brick in the Road 

I couldn’t resist borrowing from Pink Floyd, in a manner of speaking. About 11:30 Monday night, I found out that I would have to take our oldest son, Conner, to Love Field Tuesday morning to catch his plane back to Des Moines. The late revelation delayed my calming down to go to bed.

Naturally, I noticed the time when I got up to go to the bathroom at 4:14. Which caused me to toss and turn in fear of falling asleep and not waking up in time. If I was actually able to take any short naps, they were certainly not restful. I got out of bed a little before six, dressed, and went downstairs. Fortunately, Conner woke up on the couch on his own. Mind you, he has a room with a bed to sleep in. Ever since an accident in his truck, he sleeps better on the couch. Particularly when he had been on a bachelor party trip and hadn’t been able to sleep for over 24 hours, even on the plane.

Let me explain that that early in the morning is God o’clock to me. Especially, being on the road. Drinking coffee at my desk in darkness with a low lamp is a completely different universe. There’s not a part of the day when people don’t drive stupid. And when they’re tired too, it makes it worse.

But dropping Conner off at Southwest Airlines baggage check was fairly simple since I knew where I was going. Except for the other drivers dropping people off who were tired and would rather not be there. After dropping Conner off, it was back to the usual morons getting back to I-35.

I was a few blocks before I-35 when suddenly everyone was getting over, with three lanes trying to get to the left turn lane, presumably to turn around. I didn’t see what the issue was – I couldn’t see any obstruction. I was in the far right lane and passed everyone.

Then I saw that someone had lost a good number of bricks in the road. There was no truck around with people waiting to pick up the bricks – just bricks in the road. So I drove over them with my fourteen year old van with new tires fairly slowly. And no one followed me!

Are you kidding me? There was no reason to care about the bricks – and I don’t think I even did that much to them. Even large pickup trucks didn’t follow me. They were still getting over to turn around. I was nonplussed. More to the point, I was home before the backup got through. And they were late for work.


Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.