This week, we heard from John Moore, a Colorado horseman who spends months teaching in Sweden.
He wrote this note to fans, followers, friends:
I’ve been counting the years since I first began touring overseas to make the bulk of my living, and it adds up to somewhere over 30 years. I’ve been playing music and riding horses as my main source of income for a lot longer than that, but it has been taking me away from home for long stretches for at least that long. For several years it was an adventure, being single with no reason other than my dog and horses to stay home, and that was easily fixed by dumping them at my folks’ place and taking off for Europe for months at a time.
While working in Sweden several years ago I met the exceptional woman who was to become my wife. Erika and I have been married coming up on 21 years now. It’s been an amazing journey, and we have been raising our two daughters Amanda and Joelle along the way. It’s has been a long haul, but an incredibly worthwhile one.
We have made some good life-long friends along the way and have had some great experiences, as well as having been able to travel to some amazing places all over the world and see some amazing things
. We have been privileged to work with a lot of great people and horses in many countries, and to play some music for some great audiences in some pretty unique and far away places.
When our daughters reached the age where it became too expensive to travel together as a family I began traveling alone for long stretches to do horse clinics and play music gigs. This was ok for a while, but through the years it became apparent that my attention was needed at home, and that Erika was overloaded with the work of caring for our daughters and keeping up our place and our business for several weeks at a time while I was away.
Last winter I was offered a job managing the horse program for Williams Ranch Company in Alpine, Texas, with the option of working whenever I was not on a tour. I accepted the job, so we spent last winter in Texas on the ranch.
Then, a few weeks ago I was offered (and I accepted) an additional job in Durango, Colorado playing music with a great band called the Bar-D Wranglers. They are legendary in the Western Music genre, and I have always admired their band. They play 7 days per week from the middle of May to the middle of September doing a chuck wagon dinner show every night – at the same place! They also play gigs throughout the winter, but summer is their busy time. This job allows me to work summers playing music in Colorado, and winters working with horses in Texas and going out on short runs to play with the Bar-D Wranglers. But most importantly, it allows me to be where I have belonged all along, with my wife and family. We have moved from our place near Dove Creek, Colorado and are now renting our house there to a friend. We have a new place near Durango, and it will be our new primary residence in Colorado. The kids have returned to a homeschool program, and I am able to share the teaching duties with Erika since I will be home every day now.
The relief of knowing I will not have to leave home for long stretches ever again is unbelievable! The days of saying goodbye to my kids, hugging them and knowing it would be over a month before I saw them again are over. I was away from them 4 to 5 months each year. I missed their birthdays, school plays, dinner time with them in the evenings and bedtime prayers. And the days of seeing the longing in my wife’s eyes as I kissed her goodbye, knowing that all she wanted and needed was to have me there at home, but then leaving anyway to make a living, are also over. I’ve missed our anniversaries, her birthdays and the long talks in the evening about the family and life in general. Erika always told me she would live in a cardboard box and we could eat beans and bread if I would just be there. I was always waiting for an opportunity that would allow me to stay home and still make a living. I should have made a change a long time ago and found a good cardboard box for us, but I kept going, and it has taken a toll. But now, these two opportunities have come to us, and it’s an answer to prayer.
So wintering in Texas and summering in Colorado is our new life. I’ll eat dinner with my family every night, tuck the kids into bed and say prayers with them, and sit and drink coffee, read and visit with my wife in front of the fire in the evenings.
I can’t find the words to tell each of my clients in the horse world what an honor it has been to work with you and your horses. Several of you have become lifelong friends, and I am so much better for having known you. Thank you for your hard work, your loyalty and your integrity.
And on the music side, I can’t say enough about the honor it has been to work in bands with Byron Berline (and the opportunities he has given me), John Hickman, Dan Crary, Steve Spurgin, my musical soulmate and mind reading friend Dennis Caplinger, and the many other musicians I’ve been honored to work with.
I am really looking forward to a new musical home with the Bar-D Wranglers! I am going to stay put and play more in one place from now on instead of doing so much traveling. I still plan on picking with my lifelong musical compadres in the cracks between these two new adventures. So come see the Bar-D Wranglers in Durango, Colorado! It’s a great family show that I know you’d enjoy.
I love the horses, perhaps even more deeply than I am aware. The honesty and true reflection of ourselves that can be found in working with them has had an effect on me that has taken me to depths beyond what I first thought it was all about. I’ll spend the rest of my life with them and will never quit them. But working with them as a business sometimes requires compromises that I don’t wish to make any more. It’s been a long haul and an incredibly rewarding one, but it’s time to spend some time straddling some of my own horses for a change.
Thanks for reading through this long letter! This is a big change in my family life and one I thought I should share with friends.
With the warmest and most sincere regards,