Our Therapeutic Model

We do not do drill sergeants. We do not do physical discomfort. We do not do negative reinforcement or punishment. What we do is provide work and animal care challenges appropriate to our setting as a working horse ranch and high school. Equine therapy is effective and demonstrates how certain learned, negative behaviors are ineffective. Young, hot-tempered boys get nowhere with a horse by yelling, pushing, shoving or hitting. Once a young man can demonstrate to himself that persuasion is achievable through gentleness and kind deeds, he begins to realize that there are better means of communication and behavior than the ones he has been displaying in his daily life. What is more, the results are so much more satisfying.

Lessons Learned Through Equine Therapy

Through the care and training of horses, young boys can witness the positive effects of their behavior modification first hand and to their immediate benefit. Here are some of the invaluable lessons boys learn about themselves on the ranch:

  • My aggression will provoke your aggression which in turn escalates my aggression.
  • You can change my behavior and reactions by changing your own.
  • You create your own behavioral problems.

Equine therapy demonstrates the practical application of non-violent behavior. Coupled with education in positive behavior models such as the Arbinger Principles, we can integrate and internalize that knowledge to bring about desired results in behavior patterns. Our teachers, wranglers and counselors are all educated and trained in the application of The Arbinger Principles.

What sets Arivaca apart?

Equine therapy is just one of the many things that sets us apart as a therapeutic boarding school for building men of integrity. Successful behavioral change at Arivaca Boys Ranch comes with a unique combination of:

  • Wranglers who are adept at adolescent psychology and teach boys about accepting hard work
  • Counselors who counsel and mentor the behavioral changes needed to adequately fit back into social settings
  • Teachers who help young men regain academic standing
  • An understanding of the medical and psychological conditions that contribute to unacceptable behavior
  • The chief ingredient, Equine Therapy

Maybe you have heard of them and maybe you haven’t, but these seven principles provide a foundation for moving behavior from anger and violence to positive motivational action. The principles were developed by the Arbinger Institute, which is a worldwide leader in training on self-deception. The seven principles, greatly abbreviated here, are:

  • Every person has hopes, needs, cares and fears.
  • Other people's hopes, needs, cares, and fears are less important than our own; we see others as objects rather than as people.
  • To see a fellow person as an inferior object is to harbor a violent heart toward them.
  • We communicate how we feel about others even when we try to hide it.
  • When others detect violence in our hearts, they tend to become defensive and to see us as objects. Violence in one heart provokes violence in others.
  • Most occasions of outward violence are manifestations of a prior, and often escalating, conflict between violent hearts; that provokes further violence.
  • Any effort to reduce outward violence will succeed only to the extent that it addresses the core problem—the problem of violent hearts.
Enrollment and Tuition

When you contact Arivaca by online form or telephone, we will provide you all the information you need, including current tuition rates. We would love to talk with you, and should our program not be a good fit for your son, we can provide information about other programs across the country which may be more appropriate for your son or your budget.

From the time your teenage son arrives at the ranch, goals are set and worked towards. Boys are presented with new challenges until, ultimately, they are ready to return home and once again begin to enjoy their youth with family and friends.

When your son returns home, our job is not finished. We continue to communicate with you and your son, and help monitor his well being. Your son will proudly reflect proudly his accomplishments at Arivaca Boys Ranch.

For loan options, we prefer Prosper Healthcare Lending as the premier financing company in the healthcare industry. With over $3 Billion borrowed and over 250,000 people empowered, this is a name and a program you can trust. After you have first contacted us and Arivaca is determined to be the right fit for your son, click the image to the right if you need to apply for a loan.

Tuition Provides the Following Benefits

After making the decision to join the Arivaca walk of life, we provide each parent with a packet that contains all necessary forms, intake process information, a list of personal items needed and/or provided, important contact information and other information regarding our program such as:

  • Accredited academic program with individualized program and instruction.
  • Individualized therapy for prescribed treatment with on-going assessment for appropriate adjustments.
  • Group therapy for communication skill development, anger management and problem solving.
  • Life-changing seminars for parents and students on the campus to help provide the tools necessary for building a strong family relationship and ensure the student knows his parent is always there for him.
  • Guaranteed follow-up and related benefits upon successful completion of the program.
  • A great year-round outdoor environment conducive to outdoor activities.
  • The entire ranch culture is based on “Arbinger” principles (arbinger.com) . Boys experience change from the inside out.
  • We create an attitude of giving rather than taking, and provide a solid foundation for a productive and fulfilling life.
  • Boys learn self-sufficiency and independence by performing regular chores, preparing meals and doing laundry, cleaning, self care, etc.
  • Boys develop a strong work ethic and sense of personal responsibility and accountability.
  • Recreational, social and cultural activities are offered as rewards and/or personal enhancement. These include trips to Oracle Canyon, Arizona and horse-packing trips in Colorado.
  • Regular communications via email or phone calls between parents and staff is encouraged to ensure parents receive updated information on the student's progress and personal growth.

Prosper Healthcare Lending

Immediate decisions without affecting your credit, longer terms for lower monthly payments, no collateral required, no prepayment penalties, fast & easy loan inquiry process, and 100% confidential.

boys studying at the computers

Academics In Action

We take our academics seriously with a hands-on supervisor on staff at all times.

boys cleaning the horse stalls

Daily Chores

Our chores are an essential part of advancing in leadership rank and personal responsibility for each boy.

Parent Reviews
parents with their son

Steve & Maggie A.

“Everybody at the ranch has done a great job and we are so happy and proud of what he (our son) has done. He has grown so much and come so far, and now realizes just what he can be. You have saved our son, and we just wanted to let you know. This is the fourth place he has been in and we wish it was the first. The ranch has done what no where else was able to accomplish. The program works, you do build young men, one horse at a time.”

more parents standing with their son

Jose & Caridad M.

“A year and a half after my son attended the ranch I am finally writing to you. The delay was actually intentional because I wanted to let you know about the long lasting and life changing results your program had on my Son and family. The Arbinger Method that was taught to my wife and me through the telephonic sessions had a great impact on the way I related to my other two sons.

Before my Son attended the ranch I had absolutely no peace, I felt for sure that one day I would get a knock at the door and I would be asked to go and identify his body. Since he attended your program I have been able to sleep better and be more at peace. I still worry; I guess that after what he put the family through it will be a good while before I feel completely safe with his decisions and actions.

Before my son attended Arivaca Boys Ranch we had tried numerous different therapies and medications, nothing seemed to help. When I heard about the ranch I decided to look into it, by that time I was practically at the end of my rope. If you recall I set up a meeting with you and you gave my wife and me a tour of the ranch. I was quite impressed with what I saw and at that time knew what needed to be done. If accepted my boy was going to attend the ranch.

Now for the shocker, tuition fee; how was I going to afford this? Answer, my and my wife’s 401 plans. But how could I give up so much money? Easy, as I mentioned before, I was expecting to have someone ask me to identify a body. So I asked myself, if I don’t do this for my son, will I be able to retire and use that money with a clear conscience. I figured if the treatment works this will be money well spent and if it doesn’t; well it’s only money.

Ron, I am happy to inform you that I have come to the conclusion that the money I paid was very, very well worth it. My son is living away from home but as it appears he is living in a decent and honorable manner. He enrolled in a trade school and will be graduating on October 8th at the top of his class. He has made every effort to finish what he starts and for the first time in a very long time, I feel proud of my son and all his efforts. The Arbinger system works, Arivaca Boys Ranch works. Every day I thank God for pointing me in your direction and every day I am grateful for what you and your staff did for my family. Thank you again, you the staff and all the kids you have there are included in our daily prayers, I know that what my wife and I now feel about our son is priceless and I am sure that other parents will feel the same about their sons after the Arivaca Boys Ranch experience.

Ron, if a parent has any doubt of whether or not to send their troubled sons to Arivaca Boys Ranch, please feel free to offer them my contact information. I will inform them of my personal experience and everything my family has gained since my wife and I decided to send our son to you.God Bless you and your staff for what you do.”

more parents reunited with their son after the program


“I just wanted to thank you for all you have done. I’m so truly grateful words cannot express. Thank you for taking the time, giving yourself and your family to help these boys, it is a gift from God. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do but so worth it. It saved him. He wants to join the Navy, he has goals, sees a future. Wow, I am so proud of him. Thank you. I hope he wants to visit the ranch someday, and if you are ever our way, stop by. Thank you again and God bless you, your family, and the ranch staff.”

Letters from Resident Boys
picture of boy giving his testimonial


So this is it, my last letter here at Aricaca. I cannot believe how times have changed. By the time you read this it will be Tuesday and I will be 3 days away from coming home. WOW. I just want to start by saying thanks for giving me this opportunity to make my life successful. I think that while there may still be some obstacles to jump in the future, we have accomplished many of them with my stay here. I have a lot of goodbyes to say but a good, hard, so long is proof that the relationship was good and you had good times and all of these people I would not have met without you deciding to send me here. While it may have been one of the hardest decisions you have ever made for me, it was definitely one of the best. I believe now I can go home and have a good life and I couldn’t have done that without your help. That is something I can’t ever repay you for.

picture of a question mark, used for anonymous personal remarks


So I’ve been thinking a lot lately and was talking to one of the younger guys, Brian the 14 year old, he was saying to me that when you’re a teenager you have to get in trouble and just be a kid, but I said to him that there is a limit to the trouble that you want to get into, and yeah you are supposed to be a kid when you are a teen but then there is a time to mature and finally become an adult and start to figure out the more important things in life. And if I am not mistaken I am positive that it’s my time to do exactly that! It’s my time to figure what I’m going to do with my life and that I need to be mature now and stop acting like a little kid, I’m going to be over 18 by the time I leave here and need to be mature enough to face the real world again but to stand firm with what I believe and what I know is right to do!

I know friends are really important and especially when you are in junior high and high school, friends are a huge part of your teen life! But the funny thing about those friends is that after high school no one really keeps in touch with their friends. Your real friends are your family! I thought before I came here to Arivaca that family is just family, and that I was going to keep my friends forever, but just think about this for a minute.. Would your friends die for you, would they drop everything to help you or come to your aid? I know none of my friends would!

All I’m saying is that family is most important over anything else, and you want to stick as close to them as possible cause they are truly your best friends! Cause they are mine and I didn’t figure that out until just a while ago.”

picture of a question mark, used for anonymous personal remarks


One thing that I can safely say is that I have made some very big changes with my self and my interactions with the people who surround me in my every day life. When I first got here I felt like I had to defend my self by acting better than every body else. I made situations worse by arguing with people and acting very passive aggressive by saying things behind their back knowing that if I said it to their face it would not end up good for me. I realized that I needed to start changing the way I treat people and continue changing even if I think I have changed enough. I started noticing these bad choices that I was making. In order for me to change them I needed to become more compassionate, caring and understanding towards the people around me and learn from them so that I could become a better person. I was realizing that the way I am treating the people around me is the way that I feel about myself. Angry frustrated and unwanted. It was time for me to stop taking out my pain on other people. This is where I started noticing a difference in my way of being. As we know way of being is deeper than behavior so just changing my behavior is not going to change the real me. I had to feel the difference. Sometimes when there is a situation that would have ended up poorly it doesn’t. It wasn’t a change just about the way I act but also the way that I treat people around me. Like I said feeling more care and compassion for them. Seeing them for who they are and not what someone says they are. Not judging people but getting to know them. These are the differences that impact and can change everyone’s true self.

My life now is going great. I have showed myself that I can work though hard times and still come out strong. I am working hard in therapy and getting along with people much better by improving my relationship between us. I am also able to make the right decisions with out even hesitating, still knowing that their will be mistakes that I will make. Thank you for your patience and your time.

Employment Opportunities

If you are looking for an exciting, rewarding career experience, consider joining out team.

Working with struggling young men provides unique challenges accompanied by some of the most rewarding experiences one can have as part of employment. This is truly a life changing employment opportunity. No one is the same after working at Arivaca Boys Ranch. We provide unique training that not only helps one be effective working with our clientele (young men), but creates personal life growth and changes. This is more than a job, it is an adventure!

Arivaca Boys Ranch offers a variety of job opportunities currently.

Full Time Masters Level Therapist

  • Applicants must have a minimum Masters Degree in an appropriate field. (Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, etc)
  • Therapists work a 4 day schedule
  • Clientele are young men 14-17 that struggle with various emotional and conduct disorders.(ADD, ODD, RAD, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, other)


  • Wranglers live with the boys 24/7 and guide them through their day. (Youth Guides)
  • They are trained by us to be Behavioral Health Para-Profesinals.
  • Wranglers work 3 days on, 4 off, and then 4 on, 3 off.
  • We provide training. Room and board is provided while on shift.
  • Wranglers need to exhibit patience, care, and the ability to motivate young men. Wranglers work beside the young men in all their activities. Although horse experience is not necessary, wranglers will help the boys in their equine activities and learn basic horsemanship skills. Wranglers need to be able to do physical labor along side their boys, and demonstrate a strong work ethic the boys can follow.
  • Wranglers are expected to be drug free (regular testing), and to have high moral values. We expect wranglers to be living examples and to inspire our boys by example.
  • Wranglers must have a High School Diploma or equivalent.
Interested in working with us?
Please email us the following and we will contact you for an interview.

I am interested in: Therapist, Wrangler or Other

Previous Work Experience:
Attach Resume if available.

boys sitting on rails watching horses

Work Hours

We expect our leaders to exhibit patience, care, and the ability to motivate young men.

several boys sitting in on a group therapy session

Group therapy session

Our therapists are given many different opportunities to bond and help the young men progress.

Program counselor leading boys horseback riding
horses feeding in a valley
boy bonding with his horse
boys riding horses through the hills
boys tending their horses at the stables

Arivaca Teen Boys Ranch and Academy

unique and historic ranch est. 1878

Located in the rolling hills of Southern Arizona, Arivaca Teen Boys Ranch and Academy is a unique and historic ranch founded in 1878. The campus is rich in history and stories. Old adobe barns and houses built in 1890 are still seen on the ranch. This creates a reverent tone and hfeeling of healing on the ranch that is hard to explain. The Old West is still alive on the Arivaca Boys Ranch — it’s an experience few will ever get the chance to discover. Cattle and horses graze on the 240 acre property, a fitting part of the working ranch. At night, it is not uncommon to hear the coyotes howling. Deer, javelina, quail and even an occasional cougar are residents of our boys ranch.

Round-ups are held twice a year as nearly 300 young steers are branded. The night air is full of the sound of bawling calves separated from their mothers for the first time. Round-ups are done the old-fashioned way with horses and lariats. The hills are combed on horseback looking for cows and their calves for a week before the day of branding. Visitors come from near and far, even from overseas, to witness the Arivaca Roundup. Tortillas and beans are cooked up and served and everyone feels like it is a fiesta... it is!

The boys ranch is at 3800 feet elevation. Moderate winters and summers, similar to the climate of inland San Diego, create the perfect year-round climate for “horse play". Arivaca gets about 17 inches of rain a year. At times of the year, the rolling hills are green with high grass. Evenings and mornings are always cool and pleasant. This is a perfect environment for working with teen boys and horses in therapy – a great way to teach responsibility and true manliness.