LCC Creates a Fun Atmosphere While Promoting Growth

January 31, 2012 at 1:19 PM Leave a comment

Norman, John and Dave at the 2007 LCC Awards Ceremony

As a parent of a young man with disabilities, I have seen how Las Campanas Compadres has been a place where he not only has made great friends, but has had so much fun while being part of a group that celebrates his talents and encourages him in all his endeavors to grow. With that kind of support, he has discovered there is nothing he cannot do if he just has a means for adaptations and for people to come up with ideas to make it happen.

He began with the LCC riding program the summer of 2007, about three months after the riding program began.  When I initially heard about the program, and told him about it, my adventurous son immediately said, “Sign me up, Mom!”

I thought the best plan of action was to investigate what I was incredulous to hear was a FREE program.  I decided to call the riding instructor to get more information.  Georgia Smith was sensitive to my hesitation to “sign up right away” like my son wanted, and she understood my need for assurance about safety.  She kindly suggested we go to a lesson and observe how things were run, and watch someone who had been riding since the beginning of the program. She thought it would be helpful for us to watch a rider who had a similar disability as my son. She arranged for us to watch a lesson the following Monday and gave us clear driving directions to the Las Campanas Equestrian Center.

We easily found our way and my son’s excitement was palpable as we neared the place. I was amazed at the beautiful facility and saw that the indoor arena where the lessons are held were attached to a top-rate stable area.

After watching a half-hour lesson, I immediately picked up on the gentleness, the teamwork of the program’s volunteers, and the respect that the LCC staff  had for the student. There was laughter and camaraderie between the instructor, the volunteers and the rider. We saw how he obviously enjoyed his time on the horse.

When the lesson was over, we were greeted warmly by the staff that had just finished the lesson, and they encouraged us to return to take part in the program.  They wanted to know as much about my son as they could, to make the riding experience as rewarding as possible.  They said it would be helpful to them, as well, if his physical therapist would care to join us for initial lessons to teach them more about John’s disability and what they could do to make the therapeutic part of riding beneficial for John and also, (my personal favorite) to avoid injury.

I was convinced we had found a unique program with people interested in running their program professionally. I was glad they made sure to have a NAHRA (North American Handicap Riders Association) rated riding instructor. I joined my son in his enthusiasm, had a family meeting about the decision, and we “signed up”.

My son always looks forward to his riding lessons.  Over the years, he has achieved several  goals  the LCC staff has set for him. He uses the amazing saddle that allows him to ride without a back rider, and has even learned to trot. There is always laughter and fun on the Mondays he rides and I have seen him learn to be more personable, to respond positively to achieving goals and to do his best to promote the program he has come to love so much.

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