As the sun rises over the Utah desert, Turn-About Ranch is already bustling with activity. The crow of the roosters marks the start of the day as the pigs, cows, and horses wait to be fed. Our students awaken early, enjoy a hearty breakfast, and then turn their energy and attention toward a day that will be packed with school, therapy, meaningful ranch projects, and horsemanship.
Students participate in a rotating schedule of activities before and after lunch. Some will attend classes at our fully accredited school, while others will practice new skills and riding techniques during horsemanship sessions led by experienced and qualified instructors.
While therapy is integrated in everything we do here, students also participate in weekly individual and group counseling sessions. At mid-term and prior to graduation, family therapy sessions are added to the schedule.
As a working cattle ranch, there are projects that students complete every week that contribute to the functioning of the ranch. By participating in projects like cutting wood, harvesting crops, hauling hay, ranch cleanup, and community service, teens learn valuable lessons—including teamwork, leadership, coping with frustration, and the value of hard work.
One of the highlights of ranch life is being able to ride horses, hike, and join in on cattle drives through the hills, valleys, and sandstone canyons surrounding the ranch. Turn-About Ranch students have many opportunities to enjoy and be inspired by the majestic natural environment that makes Escalante such a beautiful location.
At dusk, the cows come to pasture and the ranch falls silent as teens enjoy a few minutes of quiet time to read, journal, or write letters before bed. As they look back on the day, students are satisfied seeing the fruits of their labor and knowing they contributed to something bigger than themselves.
Our fully accredited academic program allows teens to continue their education while participating in treatment. Students attend school two to three times per week in four-hour block sessions. Available courses include science, English, math, social studies, and physical education.
During horsemanship, teens learn about horse anatomy, safety, and the basics of caring for these amazing animals. Once they master basic knowledge and skills, students may begin arena riding, trail rides, and buckaroos (cattle drives). Horsemanship is a form of equine therapy that teaches students to build healthy attachments and care for individuals other than themselves.
Every week, students help with traditional ranch work, including fixing/building fences, cutting wood, working cattle, harvesting crops, hauling hay, ranch cleanup, community service and other activities. These projects are one of the students’ favorite parts of the week because they are active, outdoors, and working as a team to complete projects making real differences on the ranch.
Because students engage in hands-on learning and overcome challenges throughout each and every day, therapy occurs around the clock at Turn-About Ranch. Every activity is designed to build character, teach values, and promote self-improvement. There is also time set aside for more formal individual sessions, group therapy, and family counseling with on-site professionals.
Our vocational program teaches students valuable life skills in the culinary arts, building trades, animal husbandry, sewing, auto mechanics, gardening, and other areas. In addition to learning practical life skills, students may discover a passion leading to a new educational pursuit or career path.