John Romero and Las Campanas Compadres

By Lawrence Becerra, Chairman, Las Campanas Compadres

Las Companas Compadres

Las Campanas Compadres offers therapeutic riding and swimming lessons to people with special needs at the world class facilities of The Club at Las Campanas. Lessons are free and 100 percent supported by private donations.

John, age 24, has enjoyed the benefits of the Las Campanas Compadres therapeutic programs since they began.  He was born with cerebral palsy, has cortical visual impairment, and scoliosis. Both John and his mother, Darlene, serve on the charity’s board.  Even though John is wheelchair-bound, he has a creative spirit that craves action and adventure.  John has been an adaptive skier for fifteen consecutive years, is pursuing a media arts certificate, and is a volunteer photographer for Pandemonium Productions.  John represents LCC in the community to promote its programs.

The LCC swim program offers John a creative way to simultaneously strengthen and relax his body.  Buoyancy alleviates the usual effort it takes to move his own body and the liberating weightlessness in the water is unparalleled.  Darlene says, “After Dave guides John through his strengthening exercises, John enjoys time in the hot tub to relax his muscles. After an LCC swim lesson, the tension in John’s body is radically reduced.”

The positive therapeutic effects of hippotherapy for disabled people who live with limited movement and concurrent muscle weakness or tightness are substantial.  LCC’s transferring/lifting equipment makes the riding experience safer. While LCC’s volunteer side-walkers help the rider with positioning and balance throughout the lesson, the riding program’s special adaptive saddle is supportive enough to allow riders to sit on the horse without a back rider.

John tells us, “When the LCC saddle arrived, I didn’t need someone to ride behind me and hold me upright anymore. The special saddle gives me freedom and independence. I feel safe in the saddle, so now I can use the reins and control the horse. Trotting is the most fun. I like to set goals and reach them.”

John experiences the physical benefits of riding which simultaneously promote relaxation and an exhilarating way to strengthen and exercise little-used muscles. Possibly an even weightier life benefit is that John comes away from a riding lesson with increased confidence and an emotional boost at successfully practicing communication skills and accomplishing his riding goals.  “Mostly, I have fun with Karen and my LCC friends. They encourage me and we laugh a lot,” John says.

For the past four years Las Campanas Compadres has held a mini tri fund raising event on the grounds of The Club at Las Campanas. This is the charity’s only fund raising event and its success ensures the continuation of this worthwhile program. This year’s event will be held on Labor Day, September 1st. Expectations are for 200 participants.

To learn more about the event, or the program and how you can help, please visit, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to providing therapeutic riding and swimming instruction to people with special needs. Las Campanas Compadres is being profiled as part of the All Things Real Estate “Unique Destinations” series.

All Things Real Estate is proud to partner with Las Companas Compadres.  Join us on the air this week, Sunday from 12 – 2 p.m. MST on Talk 1260 AM.  Visit to learn more.