From lacklustre to yee-haw in 48 hours
Discovering her inner cowgirl on a luxurious Texas ranch gave Sarah Ivens a much-needed kickstart
Texas is renowned for being big, bold and brash. It’s the American state of self-belief and stamina whose self-proclaimed motto is “come and take it”, a rallying cry to all who live – or visit – to be confident, daring and brave. It is the place where selfconfidence has turned farmers into oil billionaires and helped put astronauts on the moon.
And all this, I figure, makes it a hopeful place to counter a midlife crisis.
Having turned 42, as a freelance writer and a mother to two young children, I was feeling a bit wobbly and stretched, away from the cheerleading boost of being part of an office team.
Working alone from home can be a challenge, the temptation to doubt yourself and become insular very real. I knew I needed something to get me out into the big, wide world again, to test a few boundaries. And then I heard about the Lone Star weekend at The Inn at Dos Brisas, a ranch in the wilds of Texas, an hour from Houston, where outdoor living and a good dose of horseplay in luxurious surroundings promised to turn my lacklustre mood into a resounding yee-haw in 48 hours.
‘To soak in the infinity pool after riding through wild terrain, watching butterflies the size of helicopters in fields of flowers, is to truly forget city life exists’
Driving onto the estate’s 313 acres of rolling pastures and organic farmland, crooning along to local boys Kenny Rogers and Willie Nelson playing on the radio, the fresh blast of possibility was immediately tangible. After settling into the hacienda (complete with a private heated plunge pool overlooking the miniature ponies’ paddock, a gigantic bath tub lined with an assortment of herbal Epsom salts for soaking and a selection of Dick Francis novels), I perused my itinerary over a hearty farm-to-fork