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

Remote, Remote, Who’s Got the Remote? 

When I check into a hotel, ordinarily there is one remote by the tv. Granted, there are times I have had to take it to the front desk for new batteries or eventually getting a new remote. Which entailed holding the door of the room open while the desk clerk programed the new remote. But ultimately – regardless of the technical delay – it still only took one remote to operate the tv.

Now that doesn’t mean it operated the tv well. It just operated what was there to operate. Sometimes you get lucky and have a choice of shows that you can tolerate. Then there are the times when the only show you can find that you can possibly stand are reruns of shows you only watch in hotel rooms because you’ve seen them far too many times. Castle, Rizzoli & Isles and Bones are a few that come to mind. Or certain episodes of Andy Griffith that no one likes.

But in this particular hotel there were three remotes. (And the refrigerator didn’t work, but that’s another story.) There were no instructions as to which remote to use. Come to find out, it took all three. J.D. and I would have to re-discover the combination each time we came back to the room.

The remote on the right was the tv remote. The middle remote was a Roku remote. The one on the left was our Fire stick remote. If I remember the combination correctly, the Roku turned the tv on, the tv remote changed it to the Fire stick (HDMI 1) and controlled the volume and the Fire stick controlled our shows. It took us quite some time to figure it out in the first place. But, pain in the ass though it was, it was worth it. None of this explains why there were two remotes to operate the tv in the first place. Before we figured it all out, we had a choice of – you guessed it – Rizzoli & Isles or Castle.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

It’s Always Something – Water Drainage 

By Dan Roark

[Author’s Note: It occurred to me that, with the constant influx of new expenses that can plague a nonprofit involving a herd of horses, It’s Always Something would be a good title for a weekly fundraising post. There are many ways to support and help New Hope. While it is true that every little bit helps, we have fundraising campaigns for urgent or larger projects. I will try to highlight one each week. The post below is part two about a project that is on the back burner, yet illustrates the constant surprises that come up.]

If you’ll remember, a little over a week ago, I published the post, It’s Always Something. It was about a French drain that I called a gutter (I still don’t get the difference) pictured to the left (the gate is in the back of the picture). The day the farrier came, Dave was finishing the job Sharla had painstakingly – over a week’s time – started. He was also looking to possibly use the French drain/gutter to help solve the problem of running rainwater away from the barn.

What he found told me I was not so far off when I was saying that the original purpose of the gutter/drain was a failed attempt at directing the flow of rain water into dirt. Dave discovered that, apparently, the former owner had a gravel pit. In the second picture, the gravel pit was between Dave and where I’m standing and possibly under where I was standing. (The first picture was taken from the other side of the gate.)

So it was a failed attempt to direct the water away from the barn into, not just dirt, but gravel. Now there’s more dirt. At least that’s the best we can figure. But even that doesn’t explain why the drain/gutter didn’t go the length of the barn. We will probably never know for sure.

But it is another large project that we’re going to have to deal with in the future – installing  a drain that takes the water away from the barn. Other campaigns/projects will need to be completed first. For the time being, however, the drain is clean.

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

Venmo – @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy

The post It’s Always Something – Water Drainage first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Volunteer Highlight – Melissa Sines 

By Dan Roark

I followed Sharla when she took the New Hope trailer with a few horses to the Stock Show and Rodeo grounds  in Ft. Worth for Chisholm Challenge in January. It was not her only trip. When we got to Will Rogers Coliseum paddocks, Melissa was at the door. She helped get the horses in their paddocks and whatever else was needed.  She was there most of the three days from unloading the horses to loading them back up after the competition. That’s the type of volunteer she is. Melissa is not just a volunteer. She’s also a feeder on Tuesdays and Fridays. Here’s your chance to meet her:

Melissa Feeding the goats with her husband, Thomas.

What brought you to New Hope to volunteer and how long have you been volunteering?    What brought me to New Hope was the need to get out of my house as well as old memories of riding before I was in first grade. I missed everything about horses. I’ve been volunteering/working since August 2021.

Tell a little about yourself. I’m a stay at home mom of three grown kids. I’ve been married for almost 26 years (to the same man!).

Who is/are your favorite horse(s) and why? I’d like to have a favorite horse, but it depends on when you ask. If I’m braiding Olivia’s hair, it’s her. If I’m bathing Rain or chasing Chito, it is either one I’m tending to. Whoever has my full attention at the time has all of my love.

What is/are your favorite part(s) of volunteering? I like feeling helpful and even the smallest thing I do as a volunteer brings me closer to people who do what they love. That’s everyone, riders, volunteers, instructors, and workers. We choose to be at New Hope and breathe in every drop of happy.

How has volunteering affected you? I began volunteering at New Hope and found my own therapy being around the horses. Caring for them brings me peace. When I get to watch our riders, well, that brings me joy.

 

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

Venmo – @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy

The post Volunteer Highlight – Melissa Sines first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Siding Saga – How Furniture Feels 

We had new siding installed at the house a while back. The picture is from the camera before they took it down and we were looking at the front lawn – that also had crap all over it. The ladder is over the front door. This went on for days. The back door was blocked as well.

Cyndy was working at the school so she came and went. At night we could get out to volunteer at New Hope Equine Assisted Therapy Center. But during the day I was effectively trapped in the house with the dogs.

One of my uncles on my Mom’s side made, repaired, polished and refurbished furniture. All kinds of furniture. The effects of doing all that in a closed room eventually caused symptoms that led to his death.

I thought of his woodworking over the years. The smells – particularly of the wood – and the sounds. How he could use a plane and have the wood come out smooth. I always had one end come out higher than the other. When I tried to fix it, the other end came out higher. Which also applies to trimming (or mangling) bushes and trimming my moustache – I can manage that one a little easier.

Be that as it may, I have never thought about how the furniture felt. Until I was trapped inside while they removed the old siding and installed the new.

It was like being stuck inside a whack-a-mole game. It would go quiet a while, then a rapid banging on different parts of the roof, surprising me and making me jump. Over and over and over. Then they would stop for lunch for about an hour. Which would make it worse. The two dogs concurred, we were continuously on edge. We would drop our guard and start thinking about something – then bam, bam, bam! I would jump and they would bark.

It rained on Thursday so we had a day of silence, except for constant rainfall. Then on Friday they returned to make more noise, “finishing” the job. When they left, the trailer in the driveway (a makeshift dumpster on wheels) stayed behind a few days.

But it was blissfully quiet. We could go in and out of both doors and let the dogs out again.

 

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

Toilet Paper Holder – Over and Under 

I don’t remember what hotel or where it happened to be. I think it was in Joplin, Missouri. I was looking around the room upon arrival. As soon as I saw the dual toilet rolls, I immediately took a picture. Just in case you can’t tell, the top roll comes out under and the bottom roll comes out over.

I’ve heard of over and under shotguns, but toilet paper holders? But it must soothe the traveler’s soul when he or she realizes they are saved the trauma of having to switch the roll around or live with it as is.

If I was staying in the room awhile, I would definitely use the bottom roll until it ran out. Then the quandary would begin. Do I go ahead and use the other roll as is? Or install the backup roll on the bottom holder – leaving the top roll as is. Which is what I would probably do. For one thing, if I used the top roller, I would have to turn the roll around. Which would defeat what little purpose it had in the first place.

Which begs one last question: If I used the top roll after the bottom roll ran out, and if I used that roll as well, would the cleaning staff replace them the way I found them?

We may never know. Like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. And don’t get me started on freaking Blow Pops. But it’s something to think about when you drove all day, arrived at the hotel and had a few beers.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

Expressions of New Hope – Ella 

By Dan Roark

Like most riders at New Hope, Ella is happiest on a horse as you can see by her expressions. And their vibrant smiles are mirrored by the smiles of the volunteers. And their squeals of delight when trotting or learning something new warms the hearts of those around them regardless of the actual temperature at the time.

See for yourself with the pictures of Ella in the latest installment of Expressions of New Hope. In the second picture, Ella is looking at Margaret across the arena. Which is something all of the riders do when there is someone else riding in the arena. Their expressions enliven each other, too!

And that’s how we roll in this little universe we call New Hope.

 

 

 

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

Venmos – @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy

 

 

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

Horses Helping Heroes, New Board Member 

Bart Lesniewicz
Bart Lesniewicz

By Dan Roark

Sometimes an episode of a television show will start out with a scene that is actually the ending with the important parts missing. Then  “three hours (or whatever) earlier” flashes across the screen. Then the actual episode begins. So…..

New Hope, while all board members are very much appreciated, has a new board member that has been a long time in coming – although the person was unknown…

Sometime earlier….

Horses Helping Heroes is a program for veterans that has been in the works at New Hope. Rich Firmin, a veteran and the demonstrative beginning of the program, has not only been a stalwart volunteer, but his son, Richie, is a rider at New Hope. The pictures on the Horses Helping Heroes tab on the New Hope website are of Rich. With all of the business of managing an equine assisted therapy center, including a herd of horses (and a mule), expansion of the program was preempted by other urgent projects and emergencies.

Then Tonya Andrews, a medically retired disabled Air Force veteran, came to New Hope last year. Her progress has been phenomenal. Read the previous post about her here. She helped to ratchet up the importance  of the Horses Helping Heroes program. Tonya has done so well, with work at New Hope and with her physical therapist, that she is competing in the Wheelchair Games in New Orleans at the end of July.

For that reason, while I was making a list of upcoming posts for the blog (one of which will be the story of Tonya’s journey to the Wheelchair Games), I thought about talking to Sharla and Dave about beginning to publicize the Horses Helping Heroes program for the Fall.

Now we come to the scene that you think is deja vu until you realize it’s the scene you saw at the beginning of the episode and they’re adding the missing parts…

Then, of all times, I get the New Hope email newsletter from Kathleen saying that Bart Lesniewicz, a retired United States Marine Officer, is joining our board to Chair the development of our veteran’s program. So you see why I say it was a long time in coming? But now the person is known.

Please join us in welcoming Bart to the board. You can read more about Bart on the team page of the website. We look forward to exciting things happening with the Horses Helping Heroes program.

Ride on and ride for hope

Donate to New Hope.

Venmo – @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy

The post Horses Helping Heroes, New Board Member first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

The Farrier Returns – Wyatt Myr 

Cyndy shows Wyatt and Kim the second shoe that Cy threw.

By Dan Roark

Not only was it the customary fifth week for the farrier to return to New Hope, it was also the return of Wyatt Myr to work after breaking his neck and back in an accident during a polo match. Fortunately, the doctor told him it was the best case scenario for neck and back breaks. If you can call it a best case scenario at all.

Joey is still helping Wyatt out while he is in the brace, which may be another five weeks. Natalie was assisting with trimming the horses that don’t have shoes and removing the shoes of the ones that do.

Joey inspects a shoe he’s been molding on the anvil.

Wyatt was a state champion barrel racer growing up in Michigan. He took up polo while he was in college, saying he was immediately hooked on the “speed and fun of polo.” He competed professionally along the East Coast following college until he moved to the Dallas area ten years ago to help run the Polo Training Foundation (PTF). The PTF was formed in 1967 to promote clinics and interscholastic and collegiate polo. Located on a ranch in Burleson, the organization closed in 2010 during the recession.

Natalie takes a break and smiles for the camera.

Along with his farrier business, Wyatt also teaches polo at Legends Equestrian Center, thirty-five miles east of downtown Dallas. “At Legends, we’re trying to grow new players and teach them how to play safely.”

Here at New Hope, we’re glad he wasn’t hurt too badly and the horses are glad he’s back. We’re also happy that Wyatt has done – and is doing – so much for the sport of polo.

But we’re just grateful he’s a farrier, too!

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

Venmo – @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy

The post The Farrier Returns – Wyatt Myr first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

It’s Always Something 

By Dan Roark

There is always something to do. But particularly so for nonprofits, especially when that nonprofit includes a herd of horses (and a mule) and various other animals. Depending on volunteers (who are very much appreciated) means there will be times when there are – for whatever reason – no volunteers available. The staff is stretched thin, to say the least.

Then there are those times when hours of work with good intentions lead to simple frustration. Times that make you go “what the…hey?”

Sharla spent the better part of a week, in addition to leading lessons and numerous other tasks, cleaning out the gutter in the picture. I call it a gutter for lack of a better term. You’ll see why I say that in a minute. She was under the impression that by clearing it out she would help the water flow – in an ongoing attempt on several fronts to keep the barn from flooding every time there is a heavy rain. You see the big drainage tube at the top of the picture. Which would certainly lead one to believe the water draining from the roof would have someplace to go.

As it turns out, it just runs into dirt – solid dirt. Was the plan to hope the dirt would simply absorb the water? That would depend on the water coming through the tube no faster than a serious trickle. Whoever had the land before Dave and Sharla Kershen acquired it in 2012, built the barn at the bottom of the hill. So to think that the water would be absorbed by hard packed dirt – which would be soaked itself at that point – is delusional. If that was not the intent, what the heck was it?

But wait, there’s more! Here is a picture of the other “end?!” of the gutter (see why I’m not sure about it being called a gutter?). A gutter achieves a purpose. Whatever this is does not. And the grates that were over the gutter kept almost nothing out. Which means when there was a heavy rain, the water would overflow, leading right into – you guessed it – the barn. Rendering it useless on a number of levels.

Fortunately for New Hope as a whole, but unfortunately for Sharla, all it cost was Sharla’s time. No outgoing expenditure was involved. But that is not always the case. Such as the recent examples of the extended period of rain delaying the harvesting of hay, and the illnesses of Olivia and Libby.

If you would like to volunteer, please click on the New Hope website’s Volunteer tab. There is a variety of tasks that need to be done so we certainly have something that could be “up your alley,” so to speak.

And, as always, any donations large or small are appreciated. As involved as we are, even we don’t know what’s coming next.

 

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

Venmo – @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy

The post It’s Always Something first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

Expressions of New Hope – Eduardo 

By Dan Roark

When I first began taking pictures at New Hope, and New Hope events, Eduardo barely opened his eyes and didn’t talk much – other than the random sports recitations during lessons. At first, it had as much to do with my being a new person in his therapy sphere as it did his being nonverbal on some level.                                                                           

However, as you see from the pictures, Eduardo has come a long way. At Chisholm Challenge in January, he was in the last heat of the day on Tuesday, being the only rider from New Hope entered in western equitation. He sat patiently all morning and into the afternoon. As his time to ride drew nearer, he got ready, put on his hat/helmet, and waited some more. Eduardo then did his family and New Hope proud in his event, winning a ribbon. His eyes were open as he took in the entire experience. The picture to the right is Eduardo riding in Trail at Chisholm Challenge.

By Family Fun Day, though, as you see, he had accepted my place in his therapy sphere, and dropped his usual guard. Enjoy seeing Eduardo in his happy place – on a horse at (or representing) New Hope!

Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

Venmo – @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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