Mary Mo!

It wasn’t so long ago that Mary Motion used to ride her Uncle Graham’s pony around the backstretch in the mornings at Saratoga and dream about spending a whole summer at the track. Now 17, Motion is getting to do exactly that, working as a stable hand and exercise rider for steeplechase trainer Doug Fout as well as galloping horses for her uncle.

“It’s been a great summer,” said Motion. “The hours are long, but with [Fout’s] four horses it’s been manageable.”

Motion, who will be a senior at the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Va., is already an accomplished horsewoman. She has ridden competitively over fences since she was 11 and earned her amateur jockey license from the National Steeplechase Association at the age of 16.

It’s not surprising that Motion should be so involved with horses; in addition to her uncle, trainer of 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, her grandmother rode in England, her father Andrew breeds horses, and her mother, Patty, who died of breast cancer when Motion was eight years old, rode competitively.

“I’ve been on horses all my life,” she said. “I don’t think I had an option.”

In addition to her passion for horses, Motion is also a leader in school. At Foxcroft, Motion has helped organize the students to participate in a local fund-raising walk for breast cancer awareness, for which she and several of her classmates received an award in May from the Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Foundation.

After graduation, she plans on riding for a year in England before going on to college, and then pursuing her goal of riding professionally.

“What I’d like to do is be the first to win the Grand National [in England] and the A. P. Smithwick [at the Spa],” she said. “But I promised my father I would finish college first!”{jcomments on}

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