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TAKE THE REINS

A wellness retreat to express your inner yeehaw

Words by JENNY MURRAY

 

Devon Combs leads Unbridled Retreats throughout the country. The next session at Alisal Ranch is October 23-26. Photo by Lori Faith Photography.

 

Grounded. Seen. Unburdened. These are a few of the words the small group of women used at the conclusion of their four-day Unbridled Retreat at Alisal Ranch. With smiles of connection and tears of gratitude beneath their Stetson brims, they are seated in what’s now a familiar circle of sisterhood with their cowboy boots firmly planted in the dirt. They are in the rodeo arena at the sprawling 10,500-acre ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, surrounded by the horses they’ve been working with that have taught them to follow their intuition.

Colorado-based equestrian coach Devon Combs, a former competitive rider who struggled with severe bulimia and depression and was ultimately rescued by equine-assisted therapy, shepherds the group with great expertise—guarding the physical and mental safety of each member in the group. She has developed a program of encouragement, motivation and breakthroughs through a series of methods that zero in on the precise reason each person showed up. As you stand in a round pen with a horse, she unearths your truth while guiding you to interact with and observe the horse’s body language. She claims there’s no whispering involved, just listening. Believe it or not, prepare to get unbridled. 1054 Alisal Rd., Solvang, 800-425-4725; alisal.com; unbridledretreats.com.

 

Alisal’s historic old adobe.

 

Alisal Ranch guest room.

 

This story originally appeared in the Fashionable Living 2022 issue of C Magazine.

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