Ride for Joy: How to bring kids together with horses in ways that catalyze healing, communion & wonder
For a Sampler of Kera’s Breakout Session at the upcoming 2021 Healing with Horse Online Symposium, check out the video below. To register to attend the Online Symposium or purchase the recordings, click the Symposium Registration here or in the menu at the top.
Kera Willis grew up on a small farm in rural Ontario surrounded by animals: cats, goats, chickens, fish, rabbits, birds, and deer who ran through her dreams at night, crying in their mystical haunting voices. Most of her childhood horses were imaginary until she began taking riding lessons at a local stable, bought her first mare at 17, and apprenticed with a series of excellent hunter, jumper, dressage, and event trainers throughout Canada and the UK.
A musician, writer, artist, and amateur naturalist well as a horsewoman, Willis began looking for an approach to horses that would allow for a more authentic relationship. She spent 3 years rewilding her equestrian education with the help of a feral Percheron mare she rescued off a meat truck, and completed a Facilitator of Equine Experiential Learning Certificate through Horse Spirit Connections in Tottenham, Ontario in 2010, which combined Linda Kohanov’s Epona approach with shamanic healing techniques. Still missing the power, courage, and surrender that’s shared when we join with horses in movement, she began to look for ways to bring ridden work closer to the transformational/ personal development/ healing field of Equine Facilitated Learning. Through horses, Willis believed, it was possible for humans to enliven our felt connection with the living earth and our shattered, essential reciprocity with the more-than-human-world. She founded Mountain Horse School in Squamish BC in 2012 and began exploring this intersection with students.
In 2014 she completed a 600-hour apprenticeship and 4 levels of certification in Horse Boy Method, a form of therapeutic riding specific to Autism and neurodiversity, then worked with the Healing With Horses Therapeutic Centre in Prince Edward County, Ontario as a consultant, program developer, and head trainer, helping the center expand their scope of practice and turn a herd of 12 rescue horses into therapeutic riding horses. Finally, in 2015, she returned to BC and reopened Mountain Horse School in the Upper Squamish Valley, where she continued to develop her body of work, programming, and research, diving deep into somatics, ecopsychology, herbalism, wild medicine making, interpersonal neurobiology, and nervous system and soul healing in response to traumatic experience. In 2017 she moved the school to Pemberton BC where she continues to alchemize her diverse horse experience, passion for earth-centered wisdom and neurodiversity, and the necessity of deep, soul-filled relationships with animals and the natural world into the truly unique offering that is Mountain Horse School. You can find her horse and nature-based teaching at www.mountainhorseschool.com and her writing and music at www.onethousandnamesforlove.com (📷: Tiffany Stark Photography + Kera Willis)
If you’d like to request one of the free 15-minute consultations she’s offering to telesummit listeners, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with ’15 minute Consultation Request’ as your subject line. Please note there’s only a limited number of these on a first come first serve basis, so don’t wait too long! Also, if you want to be notified when her Ride For Joy online course launches in the fall, or to see the job postings for the Canada Student Summer Jobs mentorship positions at Mountain Horse School this season, please send an email to the same address.