A writer, artist, musician, traveler and horsewoman, 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 learned her way through a series of apprenticeships in the dressage and event worlds- teaching and training and managing stables in Canada and the UK.
A self directed learner and passionate un-schooler, she sought an experiential education as a traveler, artist and writer, and began looking for an approach to horses that would allow for a more authentic relationship. She discovered the field of Equine Guided Learning (EFL), and spent 3 years rewilding her equestrian education with the help of a feral Percheron mare. In 2010 she completed a Facilitator of Equine Experiential Learning Certificate through Horse Spirit Connections in Tottenham, Ontario which combined Linda Kohanov's Epona approach with shamanic studies. She continued her exploration of the liminal edge between human, animal and nature with ecopsychologist David Abram, mycologist Paul Stamets, TTouch founder Linda Tellington Jones, and dreamworker/translator of the unconscious Toko Pa Turner.
Still missing the power, courage, and surrender that is gifted to us when we join with horses in movement, she began to look for ways to bring ridden work closer to the transformational/ personal development/ healing fields of EFL, as well as ways to include the vital necessity of a felt connection with our living earth. She founded Mountain Horse School in Squamish BC in 2012, and began exploring this intersection with students.
After years of supporting Autistic/neurodiverse children privately and as a Special Education/Class Assistant at the Whistler Waldorf School, she knew she needed to find a way to work with these individuals on horseback. In 2014 she left for Elgin, Texas, where she completed a 600 hour apprenticeship and 4 levels of certification in Horse Boy Method- a cutting edge evolution of therapeutic riding specific to Autism and neurological diversity. After returning from Texas, she worked with the Healing With Horses Therapeutic Centre in Prince Edward County, Ontario as consultant, program developer, and trainer, helping the centre expand their scope of practice and educate the community on the benefits of this work.
In 2015 Kera returned to BC, and reopened Mountain Horse School in the Upper Squamish Valley. In 2017 she moved the school to Pemberton BC, where she continues to alchemize her diverse horse experience, passion for earth-centred wisdom, creative talents, and experience learning from persons with neurodiversities into the truly unique offering that is Mountain Horse School.
Read: Where Wonder Takes Up Residence by Lisa Richardson (Pique newsmagazine, March 2019)
Burn Your Plan By Kera Willis (Traced Elements, March 2018)
Listen: Horses as Healer for Autism and Special Needs Kids (Reach for it Radio, October 2014)
Medicine Wheel (Soundcloud, a song by Kera Willis)
Watch: Into the Heart of the World: An Invitation (August 2018)