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


Horses Help Forge Lasting Friendships 

[Re-posted from March 15]
Tucker is facing the camera, Juliana has her back to the camera

Tucker and Juliana are a perfect example of the type of friendships that are built at New Hope. Away from the outside pressures of school, society in general, and people who just don’t understand. People driving by go unnoticed.

There are only horses and friends in the little universe called New Hope. Well, and a mule, three goats, a boar, and two dogs. But they’re friends, so that works. Tucker and Juliana’s friendship is special (yet not the only special relationship at New Hope – whether person/person, person/horse, or horse/horse). Let’s say their friendship is unique. They keep in touch all the time. They are each other’s shoulder, sounding board, and scuffling companion.

Keeping in touch all the time involves the New Hope group chat. The

Juliana putting on Tucker’s number for Chisholm Challenge.

idea of the chat was to keep everyone informed about New Hope events – dates changed, lessons rained out, practice times for Chisholm Challenge, etc. As far as the young riders are concerned, the adults on the chat are there for the updates as mentioned above. Other than that, it’s teenagers chatting about whatever strikes their fancy – from a good grade in school to being at Disneyland to actual pertinent questions about New Hope.

Despite the slight irritation for the adults in getting pointless texts (as far as they’re concerned), the group chat further illustrates the friendships that are forged at New Hope. The riders in the chat are all good friends. But even they realize that Tucker and Juliana’s friendship is unique.

There are also friendships at New Hope between volunteers/riders and riders who have issues that do not allow them the convenience of a phone. Sunday is the day to exercise the horses. Which means riders get to come out and ride outside the structure of lessons. And see their friends, both animal and human.

Tucker and Juliana’s friendship is certainly special. But, as mentioned earlier, it’s not the only special friendship at New Hope. That’s the thing about this little universe we call New Hope – we’re all friends. And that is special, too.

Ride on and ride for hope.

Chisholm Challenge – The Volunteers Who Make it Possible 

[Re-posted from Feb. 15]
Susan presenting an award to an exuberant Luci.

Susan ended the awards luncheon by thanking all the volunteers. And they should be thanked. Nothing that happens at New Hope would happen without volunteers. That includes a great many tasks. Most of which have to do with horses (and a mule), with or without rider.

Specifically pertaining to Chisholm Challenge itself – not counting the preparation beforehand – begins with loading up  the tack room into the truck along with other necessities.  Then transporting those horses that will be ridden during events to the stalls in Fort Worth. Then there’s the general care of the horses for two and a half

Warm Up Arena – Riders’ seating is on the left.

days. In addition, volunteers are needed to bring the riders to the New Hope stalls from the New Hope section of the John Justin Arena (JJA) stands and then back to the warm up arena at the back of JJA. That trip needs to be made for each rider. After the ride, it’s all done backwards. Then there are the side walkers and horse leaders. As well as other volunteers.

To the volunteers who helped at Chisholm Challenge, we say Thank You!

Ride on and ride for hope!

Chisholm Challenge Award Luncheon 

[Re-posted from Feb. 2]

Excited Award Winners

After being under the weather last week – and staying out of the weather then and now – it’s back to the Chisholm Challenge news and the awards luncheon.

Looking outside now at all the frozen white, it’s hard to picture the sunny Saturday at the Pizza Hut in Argyle as the crowd gathered to celebrate the riders’ accomplishments. And to think of being inside and warm while the horses brave the elements.

Folks began to gather a little before 11:30, but trickled in for a while. A multitude of conversations was shared over the next couple of hours, but oddly enough, not a lot of pizza was eaten. But the excitement was palpable, with volunteers and families of riders visiting with old friends and meeting new ones. Riders visited with each other excitedly –  there was even a little wrestling involved. Something about a phone and a sock. Which probably helps to explain the leftover pizza.

Before things went awry, Susan Altshuler – Organizer of Things – began the presentation of awards. Those that received awards at Chisholm Challenge – such as for English Equitation and Drill Team – were “re-presented” with those awards so that all present could celebrate with each of the riders. And celebrate with each of the riders we certainly did.

The smiles on their faces in the picture had been on their faces for quite some time throughout the presentation. The applause seemed to go on forever. You can feel the enjoyment in the air as you look at them. Yet behind all the smiles of satisfaction lay the determination to do better next year.

Ride on and ride with hope.

Chisholm Challenge – The Aftermath 

[Re-posted from Jan. 20]

By now, everyone – horses, riders, and volunteers – has had a chance to rest. Some of the riders and volunteers have been riding to exercise the horses, re-live Chisholm Challenge, and sooth their soul.

Tomorrow will be the New Hope awards ceremony at lunch with – you guessed it – pizza. At the equitation events, the awards were presented at the end of each heat. For other events, such as trail, the awards were picked up by volunteers from each stable.

Those awards for New Hope riders will be presented tomorrow and riders who received awards last week will be celebrated as well. A time to have fun, congratulate each other, share Chisholm Challenge memories, and plan improvements for next year.

Watch for news of the awards party, and an online presentation of sorts.

Ride on and ride with hope.

A Horse is a Horse Except When It’s Not 

[Re-posted from Jan. 13]


Now that I have your attention, I’ll explain what I mean. No, I don’t mean that at any time, a horse is not a horse. That is not in my bailiwick. I mean that every horse is different – like almost everything on the planet. Or I could say that horses are human, too. Which also means they’re fallible as well, not that they are actually human. But they do have some similar characteristics, to be sure.

One of the things that fascinates me about equine assisted therapy, is that everyone involved, with little exception, has issues they are trying to resolve. To attempt to list all those issues would be like trying to note every point on the autism spectrum. It would probably never end. More to the point, horses, riders, volunteers, and leaders are all helped in many ways by their interaction with each other.

The reason I bring this up at this precise time is due to my last post on Wednesday about the final day for New Hope at Chisholm Challenge. Tucker was supposed to ride Gabby in Barrels and Pole Bending. But Gabby reared up at the gate and could not be calmed down. And she cannot be fully held responsible.

It was a long three days in a new stall for all the horses. And with so many other horses around, they were all nervous to a point. Not to mention having to hang out in the warm up area – with other horses – while waiting to be called to the gate. In addition, men were working on stalls with machinery while all of this was going on for some inexplicable reason. And the volunteers were all tired and sleep deprived and slightly on edge themselves.

But everyone got through it, Tucker was commended for being courageous and sticking it out, and everyone from New Hope headed home. But mostly, there was a sense of pride for having made it through another Chisholm Challenge, whether a horse, rider, or volunteer. Lessons were learned on all levels (albeit horse or human). A lot of love was shared. And EVERYONE benefitted in mind, heart, and soul. That’s what fascinates me about equine assisted therapy.

Stay tuned for more about Chisholm Challenge.

Ride on, and ride with hope.


Chisholm Challenge – Final Day 

[Re-posted from Jan. 11]

A tired group of volunteers waiting for the final Chisholm Challenge events after packing everything up to return to New Hope. Tucker is competing in barrels and pole bending. Then it’s time to load Gabby and the final group of horses in the trailer before heading back to Argyle.

It’s been an eventful, successful, and insightful Chisholm Challenge. All of the competitors enjoyed themselves despite some disappointments and tired horses. Lessons learned will lead to better riders in the future. But despite challenges, the competitors all performed quite well.

Watch for more posts about Chisholm Challenge in the coming days after we all get a little sleep.

Ride on and ride with hope.

Chisolm Challenge – Load In 

[Re-posted from Jan. 9]

While I was posting yesterday, volunteers were setting up the horse’s stalls and tack room. It took a number of volunteers several hours to get everything set up. They also erected the banner at our gathering area for Chisolm Challenge Opening Ceremonies in John Justin Arena. Competition events will be held at both John Justin Arena and Will Rogers Coliseum.

This morning volunteers took Keegan, Gabby, Missy, Flash, and Daisy Mae the mule from New Hope to their stalls so they can gussied up and ready to compete. Tommy, Beau, Olivia, Cy, and Libby made the trip this afternoon with more volunteers. Chito and Rain will have New Hope all to themselves. “Although not in the same paddock because Chito is bossy.”

We will be posting pictures of the horses (and mule) during the Chisholm Challenge. Below, Tucker is riding Chito on the left and Juliana is on Rain, giving the horses one of the last exercise periods before just hanging out for a few days.

Ride on, and ride with hope.

Here Comes Chisholm Challenge! 

Drew and Tommy

[Re-posted from Jan. 8]

Drew was satisfied with his practice for Chisholm Challenge this next week with Tommy. And no, Tommy did not eat Susan, she just happened to be grooming Tommy at the time. Riders have been practicing for a number of weeks for Chisholm Challenge events.

Chisholm Challenge is one of the first “events” in the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo donates the John Justin Arena and other amenities such as use of the Will Rogers Coliseum to Chisholm Challenge. Over 550 volunteers donate their time and efforts to Chisholm Challenge.

Chisholm Challenge will begin on Monday with the Equestrians with Disabilities competition in the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) events. On Tuesday and Wednesday, North Texas Area Therapeutic Riding Centers – of which New Hope Equine Assisted Therapy is one – will compete in events such as English Equitation, Western Equitation, RANCH Riding, Showmanship, Barrels, Pole Bending, Drill Team, Driving and Trail.     

New Hope riders will participate in Western Equitation, Trail, and Barrels, as well as Drill Team. The majority will be riding in Trail. All three events – and all the events when it comes down to it – are a matter of demonstrating control of the horse. Whether that be with a side walker, side walker and horse leader, or, for those who are older or less challenged, with no assistance. New Hope riders are younger and fall mostly into the first two categories.

The events will be free and open to the public. Stay tuned for more on Chisholm Challenge and New Hope’s involvement.

Ride on and ride for hope.

When Doing a Stupid Thing Has a Good Result 

I was driving up to Colorado the first of last week. Coming through the Raton pass, there is an unlikely RV park on the right side of the highway when you’re headed north. It has been impossible for me over the years to figure out how you get to the damn place. They re-did the road there at the weigh station a few years ago, making it even worse to be able to tell how to get to the RV park. I thought about it again, coming through.

I stopped in Trinidad at a little shop to see some people I know, as I usually do. A little while later, I left, drove back up the block, and took the entrance to 25, and was off. It wasn’t too long before it occurred to me that I was going back the way I came. I was pretty pissed at myself. I just hoped I could find some place to turnaround before I had to drive all the way back to Raton.

So I’m getting nervous thinking time is passing faster than it is. There are exits but no entrances on the other side. I’m trying not to berate myself, but I feel sort of stupid.

I come around by the weigh station and I see an exit with an entrance on the other side. Praising my good fortune and beginning to feel better about the whole incident, I took the exit. I get to the top, turn left, get to the other side, and head into an intense turn back toward the highway. Coming around that turn, I  pass a road on my right. I see that that road leads to the RV park.

Success! I finally know how to get to the RV park. I would not want to take a trailer to that park, but I know how to get to it. Keep in mind that I had never bothered looking for the exit coming south. That’s the only way you can get to it – from the north headed south.

Good can come from doing a stupid thing. Just not all the time.


Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.




Wrong entrance from Trinidad.

Get Ready for the 8th Annual New Hope Sporting Clay Shoot!! 

And I mean get ready for the 8th Annual New Hope Sporting Clay Shoot on April 15th at Fossil Pointe Sporting Grounds. It will not only be a day of testing skill, sportsmanship, camaraderie, and just plain fun, but it will also be a day for supporting New Hope.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. on April 15. Start time is at 9 a.m. Awards, auction, and lunch – provided by 407 BBQ – at noon.

Details for participants:

100 Target shoot and lunch is provided in registration fee.

Shooters supply their own guns, ammo, hearing and eye protection.                                                               

Individual Shooters will be assigned a team at registration.

Awards at select stations for high scorers!

Particulars for participants:

Entry – $600 per four person team; $150 per individual; $300 Station Sponsorships

[ $75 Team discount if you bring your own cart or UTV]

Team trophies for 1st, 2nd & 3rd places will be presented, with a 1st place high individual trophy.

What a wonderful and enjoyable way to benefit New Hope!

To sign up, click here, or contact Dave Kershen – 214-417-9645 or dkershen@newhopeequine.com.

[All attendees will abide by range safety rules and regulations and sign a waiver at registration.]

Ride on, and ride for hope.

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Previous events

Dan will play songs from his new album, Southern Plains Revisited, his previous work, and songs of John Prine from 7 - 8:30 p.m. Up to 30 people may attend the show live - adhering to social distancing and wearing masks when not at your seats, and donating to the cause. If you would like to attend the show in person, contact David Card at david@poordavidspub.com to make arrangements. Tickets for the livestream are $10 and include the link and a download of Dan's Southern Plains Revisited album when it is available. A major portion of the proceeds goes to Poor David's Pub to help keep the doors open. When the pandemic has finally subsided, songwriters and performers would like to still have places to play.

Dan Roark Livestream at Herd Wear Store

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Herd Wear Store, 2000 US Highway 287, Clarendon, Tx 79226

Dan will play songs and tell stories from noon to 12:45 at Herd Wear Retail Store in Goodnight, Tx. Tickets are $.50 but contain the livestream link. Herd Wear has all things bison and more. They have many unique and special items. The bison ribs, burgers, summer sausage and brats are a little pricey, but oh, so delicious - worth the money. Cecil and Darlene will work with you on whatever you need. You can even schedule a virtual shopping experience.

Dan Roark at Starving Artist Festival


StarvingArtistFestival.com 12 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. ALL DONATIONS BENEFIT FEEDING AMERICA! 12 - Introduction 12:10 - Zach Benson 1:00 - LEX (E should be reversed) 1:35 - Matthew Mozingo 2:25 - Bad Ties 3:10 - Torture and The Desert Spiders 3:45 - LEIF 4:20 - Andrew Magruder 5:10 - OneManJamz 5:45 - Sarah Zotian 6:20 - Tyler Schafer 7:10 - Dan Roark 7:45 - Max Stratyner 8:20 - Brian Sauerwald 8:55 - Ian Logan