Kerr, Barbara - 1987

Kerr, Barbara - 1987

Barbara (Simpson) Kerr

Equestrian Athlete, Calgary

Inducted in 1987

Barbara Kerr’s ability to balance her aspirations in sports, education, and for a family was her key to attaining outstanding success in Equestrian riding. Although she did not begin show jumping until age 16, she quickly adopted a methodical riding style, analyzing jumps and calculating strides before each meet.

Born in Winnipeg in 1947, the Kerr family moved to Calgary when Barbara was just a year old. She first entered the sports arena as a figure skater, but after several years of competition Kerr felt she could not fully appreciate the subjective judging style of skating. In contrast, she found show jumping cut and dry: “in jumping, the gates are either up or down. It’s up to you and the horse.”

By age 20 Barbara was Canadian Jumper Champion and a member of the Canadian National Equestrian team; a position she held for seven years. She broke the international ranks in 1969 when she won the prestigious Aaschen Horse Show in Germany; an extraordinary feat as she was also juggling coursed to complete her Physical Education degree from the University of Alberta.

For the next six years Barbara competed at the top horse shows in the world, winning a better portion of events entered. After taking first and second place ribbons at the Ladies’ Championship in Dublin, she snatched the gold medal with the Canadian team at the Pan American Games, won the Rothmans’ Grand Prix title, and was Leading Foreign Rider at the National Horse Show in New York. Although selected as leading rider for the 1972 Munich Games, Barbara’s dream of an Olympic medal was denied as an injury to her mount prevented her from competing. In 1974, however, she umped to the bronze medal at the Ladies’ World Championship in France.

After 1975 Barbara Kerr performed primarily on the Western Canada circuit, allowing her time to perform other interests and responsibilities. Yet, as the fundamental elements of a champion never disappear, Kerr did return to the stadium in 1979 to help win the Rothmans East/West Challenge Cup for the Western Team. In 1981, she again proved her abilities winning the coveted Chrysler Leading Riding Award at the Spruce Meadows National for her second time.

The magic of Barbara Kerr can inspire all Albertans. She was the first woman to be named Calgary’s Athlete of the Year as well as the first woman honoured into the Horseman’s Hall of Fame. A fine equestrian athlete, Barbara Kerr was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.

Barbara Simpson Kerr

1987 Equestrian Athlete, Calgary

Since Induction

Did You Know?

· Barbara had the distinction of being the first female ski patroller on Western Canadian slopes (1966) and actively patrolled in the Lake Louise area.

· She was a parade Marshal for the Calgary Stampede

· Was an Honourary Chairman of the Easter Seal Campaign for Crippled Children

· Has won Calgary’s Athlete of the Year Award

· Has won Alberta’s Athlete of the Year Award

· 1972 - Was inducted into Calgary’s Horseman’s Hall of Fame

· 1981 – Leading Rider Award at the Spruce Meadows Nationals.

Born: July 20, 1947 Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her family moved the following year to Alberta.

In the 1970s, Barbara and her husband moved to BC where they had a horse farm in the Langley area. He was a vet. They raised four children.


KL - Checked for more updated information November 22, 2019. I did not find anything new on the internet. I retyped bios from the 1987 Induction Program and a ‘longest’ bio from her file folder.