From lack­lus­tre to yee-haw in 48 hours

Dis­cov­er­ing her in­ner cow­girl on a lux­u­ri­ous Texas ranch gave Sarah Ivens a much-needed kick­start

The Daily Telegraph - Travel - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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