Pat Kerby, the legendary point-to-point rider died on 8 April, aged 94.
Born Mary Patricia, Pat grew up and lived all of her life on the family farm on the borders of Worcestershire and Herefordshire. One of five children, she was encouraged and supported by her father into point-to-point racing, which at the time just after the war was very much a true amateur sport supported by farmers and their families. She had a remarkable riding career spread over 30 years from around 1947 to 1979, during which, until 1972, she was restricted to ladies’ races.
Bearing in mind the season was much shorter, her 1978–1979 tally of 62 winners was a fantastic achievement culminating in winning the ladies’ BMW championship at Chepstow in 1979 with Happy Returns, at the age of 52. This was only achieved by going to London and persuading The Jockey Club doctor to issue her with a permit to ride on account of her age.
In addition to riding her own horses, Pat also rode for several local owners whose horses had been bought during trips to Ireland, including Peter Grey, Tawny Tarn Sultan Surprise and Vilacity. She was a lifelong supporter of the Clifton-on-Teme Hunt, with whom most of her horses were qualified. She never used a whip hacking or racing as her father told her that she did not need one to get the best out of a horse.
When asked why she had never married, she replied that she had not met a man good enough to replace her horses. In her retirement she was generous in supporting local riders and keen in engaging with young people. Although steely and fearless when racing, she was always modest and was very well respected in the horseworld. A true legend.
Pat is survived by her younger brother Peter.
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