By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Only the hardiest boarders remain. Since December, their numbers have dropped from 41 to 25. The lesson program operates intermittently. The velvet-heads have, by and large, long since moved on. They come back every so often to show their horses and mourn the facility.
They haven't seen anything yet.
On a recent Tuesday morning, Hersman's latest group of investors stopped by to view the property. A delegation from North Hills School toured the center. They plan to put the library in the tack shop. One person, who heard Hersman's pitch to the school, laughed. "He said, 'The barn will look just like it does now, but there won't be horse heads poking out.'"
Hersman, meanwhile, has not given up on Mustang Ranch. "He thinks the school's going to give him enough money that he can build it onto the back of the arena," says one person who has seen the plans. The same person observes that, at this point, the only thing that can stop the train is an appearance by old Ben Carpenter himself, who may not have a financial stake in Las Colinas any longer, but who is, after all, Ben Carpenter.
Carpenter did not return phone calls for this story.
"It's such a typical Texas story," Glass says. "A whole lotta money and a whole lotta hardheadedness, and not much common sense."