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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Previous events

Sponsorships Needed for the Third Annual New Hope Gala 

Save the Date Hope Gala Oct 25 2024

By Dan Roark

While you’re making plans for after the heat that’s coming when things get cooler, mark your calendar for the Third Annual Hope Gala – this year themed “A Night At The Races” – benefitting New Hope. It will again be at Lucky Spur Ranch in Justin, Texas.

You can get your tickets here. As you scroll down to the bottom of the page for tickets, please take notice of the sponsorship opportunities and bring them to the attention of any one or any company you may know who might be interested in sponsoring the Hope Gala. New Hope is, after all, a non-profit – help us in promoting our mission of hope and healing.

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Tito’s has stepped up again this year as the Bar Sponsor.  We would like to thank them for being multiple year sponsors! It is with the sponsors’ help that we can raise the funds to keep operating the little universe we call New Hope.

Donations of any size help, however. Just sayin’…..

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

Venmo – @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy

The post Sponsorships Needed for the Third Annual New Hope Gala first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

The Hits Just Keep on Coming – Expenses-wise! 

Help Libby get back to doing what she loves – being a therapy horse!

By Dan Roark

While I was posting about how well Libby was dealing with equine Cushing’s disease, her health began to go south, adding to the vet issues and bills which accelerated with Olivia’s visit to the equine ICU recently.

Libby contracted pneumonia, causing an overnight stay at the vet hospital – which also revealed that she will need to have her Cushing’s disease retested. Apparently, Libby is not successfully keeping the Cushing’s at bay with her current dosage.

By all accounts, Libby had choke at one point. Horses with choke ordinarily have a frothy discharge from both nostrils (a mixture of saliva and food that has not passed down into the stomach), caused by the esophagus being blocked. It seemed to resolve itself – the majority of cases of choke will clear themselves within a couple of hours. Unfortunately, Libby also aspirated into her left lung. Which is one way a horse can contract pneumonia. But her right lung remained clear. So it is not resolutely clear which came first, choke or pneumonia.

We’re hopeful Libby will come home today, but it may be tomorrow. And a hefty bill will come home with her. Please prayerfully consider donating to New Hope to help our girl come home in style. And know that all donations are appreciated. New Hope could not exist without your support.

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

Venmo – @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy






The post The Hits Just Keep on Coming – Expenses-wise! first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Expressions of New Hope – Margaret 

Margaret and her magnificent sunglasses.

By Dan Roark

Margaret is usually wearing sunglasses of some sort. She always has fun riding, but especially so on Family Fun Day. I don’t know if she took them off for my sake – the sun was still bright – but she did pose for me.

In the picture in which Rain is trotting, Margaret exclaimed, “This is soo0 much fun!”


Margaret and Rain trotting.


Cyndy didn’t care for this picture, but I think it’s a great picture – all three have the same expressions and Cyndy’s wearing colored sunglasses, too.









Margaret smiling at me.
Margaret waves at her fans!









Please keep in mind the time and expense it takes to create these expressions. The care and feeding of the horses and the scholarships for the riders, among other things. All support, large or small, is very much appreciated – by the horses as well as the riders, staff and volunteers. The horses cannot tell you, but we see the contentment on  their faces. You can see it on Margaret’s and Rain’s faces. The smiles make it all worth it!

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

Venmo – @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy

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

Equine Therapy is For Horses, Too – Libby 

By Dan Roark

The reason Sharla was clipping Libby during the Farrier’s visit was due to Libby having equine Cushing’s disease, as I mentioned in the Farrier post.

Cushing’s disease, whether in humans or horses, involves the pituitary gland and is generally found in the female species of both.  The effects, however, while both are hormonal, are distinctly different.

Equine Cushing’s disease is more correctly known as PPID. [I’ll spare you the actual words. If you know, you know…] Suffice it to say that the pituitary gland is a gland at the base of the brain that produces hormones in response to brain signals. When those brain signals go wonky (my term) due to PPID and the damage controlling inhibition is lost, there is an excessive production of  hormones from the pituitary which enter the circulation and affect the whole body.

I was talking to Sharla while she was clipping Libby during the farrier’s visit. She was explaining that she was clipping Libby because, as a result of Cushing’s, Libby grew more hair, but couldn’t shed during the summer.

My precise words were “well, that sucks! Giving a horse more hair, but taking away the ability to shed is just cruel!”

And it is, but that’s the nature of life. Including life in the little universe we call New Hope. The other symptoms of equine Cushing’s – other than the increased coat length and failure to shed – include weight loss, increased drinking and urination, lethargy, laminitis, and increased sweating – which doesn’t help with the whole not being able to shed situation. Horses (whether they be mares, ponies, or geldings) affected by Cushing’s are also more susceptible to infections such as sinusitis, skin infections and parasitism.

Some owners will choose not to treat the disease, but simply manage the symptoms and change the diet. Depending on the severity of the disease, that may be all one can do. But when one has a herd of therapy horses continually involved in equine-assisted therapy, sometimes that is not only treating the disease, but it is all one can do. Fortunately, here at New Hope, we have Kim Martin as barn manager who stays on top of symptoms with all the horses, which can change daily. Which is why we’re glad to have Dr. Jennifer Voellinger to call and be able to depend on her competent diagnosis. And Wyatt, Joey, and Rylee to keep the horses shod and their hoofs and legs healthy. [Donate link below – just sayin’.]

In the meantime, when the weather gets hotter – and it will, unfortunately – and we give the horses showers, you can bet Libby will be first in line and then get back in line hoping we forget she was first.

Ride on and ride for hope

Donate to New Hope.

Venmo – @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy

The post Equine Therapy is For Horses, Too – Libby first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Before the Deluge Recap – The Coming of the Farrier 

Rylee, facing the camera, talking to Kim Martin, NH Barn Manager, by the Farrier trailer.

By Dan Roark   The farrier comes every five weeks. The last time was on May 20 – before the torrential unforgiving rains. Joey was substituting for the regular farrier, Wyatt, who was in the hospital with health issues. Joey’s assistant was Rylee, affectionately referred to by Joey as the “Dutch Hammer.”

One of the things I remember from the old western movies (maybe the new western movies too, but I haven’t seen them) is the blacksmith shop. It was mostly open in the front and had this huge anvil in the middle of it. The blacksmith would heat up the metal, lay it on the anvil, and beat the crap out of it with a sledgehammer.

Joey at the anvil shaping Libby’s shoe. You can see the heat of the gas “stove” over his shoulder.

So when I got to New Hope, I was surprised to see what amounted to a blacksmith shop on a trailer. Complete with a gas stove of sorts – to heat the horseshoes – and the aforementioned anvil, a fraction of the size of the one in the movies, that pulled out of the rear of the trailer.

When volunteering for New Hope, you learn things that it never really occurred to you that you actually needed to know. It would take considerably more space than I have here to list all the things I’ve learned at New Hope. And the list is constantly growing. But of concern here is the fact that it never really occurred to me how long it actually took to shoe a horse.

It’s a good thing that all of the horses, and the mule, don’t need new shoes at the same time. It took three hours to effectively and completely shoe Libby, all told. In the meantime, Rylee, “manicured” the other horses hoofs. [Insert commercial about the Farrier’s visit being expensive and donations being needed.] If we spot shoes in the color and size we want, it can take no more than half an hour to buy a new pair. Libby needed all four and she had no input as to color. But Libby was a good girl and was patient. She was getting a lot of attention, which helped. Sharla spent a good part of that time clipping Libby, due to Equine Cushing’s disease – more about Libby in an upcoming post.

First, Joey had to take the old shoe off and file the wall. Taking care not to disturb the sensitive parts of the hoof, yet still cognizant of any needs the horse might have as far as the hoof and leg might be concerned. Then, when the farrier is satisfied, the shoe goes on the wall.

The shoe is heated in the stove before it is put on. When it is put on, the following picture is the result:                                                                                                                                                It also stinks! But what I don’t understand is that the tremendous heat doesn’t bother the horse even more than it does. I know it doesn’t bother the horse, but it seems like it would bother me. Which is probably why I’m a volunteer, not a farrier. I’ll leave you with a picture of Flash getting a “manicure” from Rylee.



Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

Venmo –  @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy






































The post Before the Deluge Recap – The Coming of the Farrier first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Before the Deluge Recap – Family Fun Day 

By Dan Roark  [More pictures can be found on the New Hope Facebook page. But I wanted to highlight the work Susan did to set up the games and facilitate the events.]

Despite the rain the latter part of the week before, the sun shone bright for Family Fun Day on Saturday, May 18, which was re-scheduled from April 27. And, boy, did it shine bright. But so did the smiles on everyone’s faces. The games Susan had set up in the arena for the riders included barrels, pole bending, equitation, lariette, loony barrels, and dragon rescue. She also set up games for the parents and family in the upper pasture viewing area as shown in the first two pictures. For some reason, I did not get a picture of the full arena setup, but the pictures show the different events.

The most interesting part of the day was also attributed to Susan. Olivia, the girl (as opposed to Olivia, the horse), and her family showed up late. So that when Olivia was doing her events, she didn’t have an opponent in the flag race or a companion in equitation. Since all the horses had been put up, and rather than tack-up another horse,

Torunn during Flag Race

Susan brought out the stick horses. Torunn, instructor-in-training, was the first to volunteer to be the “competition” against Olivia in the flag race. Kyrie and Tucker rounded out the team that would run relay to take the three flags to the third pole.

Susan instructed the girls to stall, stumble, or otherwise delay in the spirit of competition. Everyone had fun, but Olivia won. Smiles and laughter abounded both in and out of the arena.

Torunn, Kyrie, Tucker during Flag Race




Kyrie and Tucker




Olivia with Claire side walking









Olivia watching the girls across the arena.



Claire, Kyrie, and Tucker – Equitation







Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

Venmo  @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy


























The post Before the Deluge Recap – Family Fun Day first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

New Hope – After the Deluge 

Sean working on upper paddocks.

By Dan Roark     I had originally planned to begin by saying “after the rains and storms of last week” when the bottom dropped out again as I was sitting there. Then more rain came. The rain is freaking relentless.

And so is the need for funds in this little nonprofit world we call New Hope. The picture is of Sean working on the upper paddocks. The mud management system in the upper paddocks is done now – finished just before the deluge. But the lower paddocks still need the mud management work done. Olivia recently had colic and had to go to the equine ICU.

The ELC after the removal of carpet and other items.

Not to mention the damage from the deluge. Any amount is appreciated.

Donate to New Hope.

New Hope now has:

Venmo – @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy

We also need help with buying hay. The weather is keeping hay farmers from harvesting, making hay prices rise.

Giving Grid

Now I’ll do what I’ve been trying to do for weeks – get back to the business of writing about the positive things that are coming out of New Hope. Some of them kept coming even during the extended and torrential “rainy season.” It’s just difficult to write (or think) positively when the rainy weather takes over and will not relinquish the reins to the sun.

Ride on and ride for hope.

The post New Hope – After the Deluge first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

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.