Dan Lewis – Belonging in the moment

Cowboy, Team Roper, Bull rider.

Dan, do you remember your first time on a horse?

Two hours before I was born is what my mom loves to tell. Except for the last four years, honestly I don’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t been on the back of a horse.

Where has being with horses taken you?

To hell, and to heaven and back.

What is hell like?

Cold, hot, dirty, painful, and all around miserable.

What is heaven like?

Quiet. The ultimate. It is different for everyone, I think people can sit back and imagine what it has been like to be a cowboy. I don’t want to tell all the details I like to get people to think about things they have never experienced.

Heaven and hell seem pretty far apart! Is there anything in between?

Life, there’s just life, we all dream of what life should be but in the end there’s just life. Everything builds to something else.

What does being on the back of a horse mean to you?

Freedom, being able to breath , ego, power, I belong.

Tell me more about ‘I belong’.

We all need a place to feel alive, where your senses are alive, to the smells, the sights, the feel. It’s a comfort zone , it’s church, it’s freedom.

Is your place a physical place or a sense of being?

It’s a place, definitely a place. It can be anywhere, as long as it is long on wilderness and short on people. I have spent my entire adult life on the back of a horse in the mountains hence society confuses the heck out of me. And it’s a time, it can’t get any better than right now.

People need to think about now, what they say, and how they treat people. Ask themselves are they being truthful, are my words hollow? Do I say things I’m not willing to back up?

That gnaws on me right now because I say I’m a cowboy, but I’m not doing that right now. It’s about walking your talk, so I know I need to get back.

What has happened in the last four years to get you off the back of a horse?

Four years ago I had an auto accident and I broke my neck. I found the old adage was true, “that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”. Before that I was just a cowboy that was it. But through breaking my neck and not being able to do what I love, really taught me that it is truly my passion. It’s about knowing who you are, and what you stand for. You’ve got to know where you stand. In order to take a stand you have to know who you are. If this sounds like a riddle, good, welcome to being alive.

What has pain taught you?

It has taught me that I’m alive. When you feel pain no matter what kind, physical, emotional, mental, you are aware that life is right here for you to live. No hiding, you get bucked off, you go through it and move on.

When you talk about riding a good cow reining horse you get giddy, tell me more about that.

It’s hard to put that into words. I’ll train a horse for six months to reach that one point, it doesn’t get better. Ultimate high ultimate rush, and that goes back to nothing is better than this moment.

So what might the next moment hold for you?

Thats the great thing about being alive, what’s the next adventure?

I am currently starting a new chapter. I have entered the business world. I have designed the safest (for the horse) portable round pen and in which to train horses. Horses hit their legs when they go around pens, with my pen design I have eliminated that . It’s been a bit of a struggle to get people to think outside their boxes and see the benefit of a totally new and innovative design, it puts a kink in their gid-a-long. It’s coming along.

Dan, thanks for spending time with a city girl.
Take care, Penny

Photo Credits – Jacquie Ogle

© The Red Barn Cooperative

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