Home on the range: Ben’s Ranch supports troubled teens through farm, ranch life

BY · MARCH 21, 2017
By Mark Ambrogi

Brose McVey knows what spending time on a ranch with horses meant for his late son.

The Carmel resident wants other teenagers with mental health issues to have that opportunity, too, so he has created Ben’s Ranch Foundation. The nonprofit finds families on ranches or farms to host those teens for a summer or longer.

Ben McVey was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 14.

“He and I shared that interest in horses at a pretty early age,” McVey said. “As this disease started to show itself, it became one of the few refuges where he could feel some comfort and get away from the stress of real life and enjoy it. Eventually, that spawned the idea when things got bad to take him out to a ranch at least for a summer.”

Shortly after his junior year ended at Midwest Academy, which hadn’t gone well, McVey made a decision to take Ben to the Cayuse Ranch in Wyoming for the summer. Ben ended up staying 18 months. There Ben learned how to gentle mustang colts off the range.

“It became an amazingly effective therapy to reboot and reset his self-esteem, his focus and mindset and got him back on track to get out of bed and try to have a life,” McVey said.

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