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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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.



Expressions of New Hope: Riders – Robbie 

By Dan Roark

The first rider I sidewalked with was Robbie. His mother is the other sidewalker. Robbie is a sweet boy, but he has his moods. He is very expressive in that regard. And he definitely has a playful side. Enjoy Robbie’s moods and expressions. At least you don’t have to be hit with rubber chickens when he’s in a frisky mood!
















Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.































The post Expressions of New Hope: Riders – Robbie first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Denton Roundup Club Playday 

By Dan Roark

Due to the events of the past week or so, well, life, I’m playing catch-up with posts. As I said in the post last Tuesday, we went to the Denton Roundup Club (DRC) Playday for the second time on Palm Sunday. Despite the strong wind and cloudiness with intermittent sun, everyone enjoyed the day – as you can see on Susan’s and Juliana’s faces.

The members of the DRC are very welcoming. Members share the duties from running the concession stand to being an announcer or judge to driving the tractor to drag the arena between events, and other duties around the arena. Moving the props between events, putting the barrels back up if a rider knocks them over, and manning the chute.

Juliana on Chito

The three riding patterns that Sunday were Spur, Barrels, and Larryette. See the DRC Playday riding patterns here. They change one or two of the patterns each playday. As I’ve mentioned earlier, DRC members get points for placing in events, adding them up during the year.



Claire on Cy


The New Hope riders have their time called out by the announcer, too. So they know where they would qualify if they were members. But the point is that they learn about competing without the pressure of  actually doing so. The experience will come in handy come time for Chisholm Challenge in January. And the lack of pressure let’s them just have fun.




Susan on Daisy Mae


Even Susan, New Hope Instructor, who competes in serious Jumping Competitions, had fun riding Daisy Mae in relaxed and friendly competition. She was able to ride when a third New Hope rider couldn’t make it.




Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.




























































The post Denton Roundup Club Playday first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Denton Roundup Club Playday – Daisy Mae Highlight 



By Dan Roark

New Hope riders, instructor, and volunteers participated in the Denton Roundup Club Playday for the second time. This time the horses were Cy (Cyclops), Chito, and the mule, Daisy Mae.

Look for another post about the Playday and Susan, Claire, and Juliana’s rides and so forth, but I want to highlight Daisy Mae because it was a classic example of a mule being a mule. In the picture to the left, she is just beginning to act annoyed. You can see that she’s pulling on the rope.

Susan, New Hope instructor – in case it slipped your mind – was riding Daisy Mae in the Super Senior category (not determined by actual age other than being older than intermediate), while Claire and Juliana were in the Juniors category.  The two categories were far enough apart that we could all watch the horses between the two in each of the three events. But during the girls’ rides, while Susan was taking videos on her phone (Cyndy was helping with the girls) and I was at the side of the arena taking pictures, Daisy Mae was left to her own devices.


I was at the side of the arena, ready to take pictures of Claire and Juliana’s rides during barrel riding, which was the final event of the day. Then I heard Daisy Mae’s mournful braying – she had had enough. Everyone else heard it, too – and I mean everyone. This was a while after Susan’s barrel ride when the announcer said her time at the end of her ride and added “I like your donkey!” (We’ll forgive her for the donkey/mule confusion.)


Daisy Mae’s braying did not stop. I stepped away from the arena fence and started taking pictures of Daisy. In the second picture you can see she is starting to stomp to complain, which she did while still braying. She would finally pause the braying, but the way she was still jerking on the lead rope, I thought she was about to break loose and be gone.

Shortly after Susan, Cyndy, the girls and I got back to the trailer, Daisy Mae had calmed down. In large part because she had people to pay attention to her and the other horses were back.

That, my friends, is a mule being a mule. And we love her.


Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

































The post Denton Riding Club Playday – Daisy Mae Highlight first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Paddock Drainage Update and Clay Shoot Reminder 

Paddock Drainage ProjectBy Dan Roark

First, here is the updated link for the Paddock Drainage Fundraising campaign. Each time it rains, the need for dry paddock footing becomes all that much more evident. Missy has her fly mask on in the picture, but you can still see her sad face. And picking the horse’ hooves tells the one grooming the horse what the horse has been walking in. The need for paddock footing is urgent.




Second, there are still open spots for the 9th Annual Sporting Clay Shoot benefitting New Hope. Register here.







Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.






































The post Paddock Drainage Update and Clay Shoot Reminder first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Expressions of New Hope – Callie 

By Dan Roark

I take a lot of pictures trying to get some good ones for the New Hope blog, Facebook, and the website. Some pictures I take for personal reasons to see if I can get a particular shot I see in my head.

But the pictures that I will post in this feature of the blog are ones I’ve been taking all along. Pictures of the expressions on  the faces of volunteers, staff, riders, and horses. Which explains the title of the feature.

Expressions of New Hope – as I say – is something I’ve been wanting to do since I starting writing the blog posts. To see the expressions of struggle as they try to perform a particular task, as well as expressions of confusion and so forth, and then see the expressions with the smiles of success are more than heartwarming.

Callie is one of the more expressive riders in this little universe we call New Hope. Choosing the pictures to post was difficult, for the most part. In the first picture she shows confusion as she contemplates what the other riders on the sensory trail are doing. The second picture illustrates Callie’s acceptance of what was happening on the horse. The third picture is her posing for me, showing awareness and confidence. That’s what New Hope is all about!

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.












































The post Expressions of New Hope – Callie first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Paddock Footing: Donations Needed 

By Dan Roark



The relentless rain of the last couple of months made one thing drastically clear – new paddock footing is a definite necessity.





Paddock Drainage Project



The muddy paddocks need a drainage system to keep the horses out of the mud. Lighthoof will provide drainage while the gravel will keep the horses’ hoofs dry.

But it will take at least $70,000 for all the paddocks.



Which means we need your help. Any donation helps. There is a variety of ways to donate to New Hope and you can find them here.

New Hope would like to thank you for considering New Hope for donation! We could not exist without supporters.


Ride on and ride for hope.










































The post Paddock Footing: Donations Needed first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Horse Highlight: Cy (Cyclops) 

Claire on Cy at DRC Playday

By Dan Roark

Cyclops is a quarter horse, vintage 2005, who joined New Hope in 2019 when his owner could not take him to college. Before becoming a therapy horse Cy was a barrel racing school horse, and before that he was a jumper. Back when Cy was a jumper he lost his eye to an infection, but it has never slowed him down. He adapted to his new normal, continued jumping, became a barrel racing instructor, and now is a careful therapy horse!

Cy, doing what he knows and loves

Cy is slow and steady when ridden by a less experienced rider. He is easily ridden or led. His steady gait gives the rider confidence they may not have when they are away from New Hope.

At the same time, as you can see, he still loves “airing it out” with barrels and poles. In the pictures, Claire is riding Cy at the Denton Roundup Club Playday. He was having as much fun competing again as Claire was having riding him.

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.









The post Horse Highlight: Cy (Cyclops) first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Clay Shoot Raffle Reminder 

Raffle TicketBy Dan Roark

First, a reminder that registration is open for the 9th Annual Sporting Clay Shoot benefiting New Hope Equine Therapy Center. For more information on the Clay Shoot see the former post on the blog or go to the Clay Shoot page of the website.

This is a reminder about the firearms raffle to raise additional funds for New Hope.

Raffle tickets are $20 each or three for $50.

Drawing to be held April 13th, 2023.  Do not have to be present to win.

Note – Winner must be US resident able to legally own a firearm.

1 st Prize – JTS AR 12gauge Semi-Auto Shotgun

2nd Prize – Beretta APX A1 9MM Subcompact Pistol

3rd Prize – Heritage Rough Rider .22/.22 WMR Pistol with 2 cylinders


Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope

The post Clay Shoot Raffle Reminder first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.