Mary Motion has a pretty darn good pedigree.  Long-time Virginia horseman Andrew Motion is her father, her grandfather is Michael Motion and her uncle, Graham, has trained a Kentucky Derby winner among others.

WOODMONT AND MARY MOTION (Center, black & yellow silks) (Douglas Lees Photos)
So when Mary decided to try race riding after a successful showing career, she seemed a good bet to succeed. 

Motion, a junior in high school student got her first win under rules in the $7,500 John D. Schapiro Memorial allowance timber for amateur jockeys at the My Lady’s Manor race meet last Saturday. 

Riding the veteran timber horse Woodmont, Motion took control after two miles and won off by 7 3/4 lengths over Grinding Speed and Brands Hatch. Neil Morris trains the winner for Motion.

“We walked the course together and she asks questions; that’s a great habit and a great way to learn,” said Chris Read, Morris’ assistant and a veteran amateur jockey to the Steeplechase Times. “She listens. She gets along with that horse nicely and he’s a great pro for somebody to start out on. That’s what more amateurs need, a horse like that to start out on.”

Motion purchased Woodmont from Jubilee Stable and trainer Ted Thompson in 2010 and the 12-year-old son of Dumaani has done little wrong with solid efforts in point-to-points and NSA races. He opened 2012 with a second at Green Spring Valley Point-to-Point, and showed up ready at the Manor – pulling Motion to the front with four fences to go.

“He was going down the hill, I thought people were going to be with me and I looked back and they weren’t,” Motion said. “My horse was fine, I was going to keep going.”

The win was not without some challenges as the old veteran seemed to be testing his young rider on several occasions. 

“I’m still figuring him out,” Motion said. “He lugs on the left rein a lot. That’s why he almost ran out at that one fence. We lost a lot of ground on that last turn because he doesn’t turn left very well. He lugs on the left rein but goes right. He’s an odd, old horse, but he’s teaching me a lot – he takes care of me.”

Motion told Steeplechase Times: “(Riding races) is more fun than showing – it’s a race, you know how you did afterward by where you finished or what happened,” she said. “It’s a feeling of freedom.”
Motion credits her mother, the late Patty Motion, with starting her riding career as a toddler.

“Mary, from Day 1, wouldn’t put up with just being on the ground when either her mom or older sister were riding, so it just came naturally to put her on the back of a pony instead of carrying her around at horse shows or hunt meets!” said Mary’s father, Andrew. “Mary was such a natural that we would always joke that she was safer on the back of a horse than her own two feet.”

Proud dad told the Chronicle of the Horse: “The thing that makes me most proud is the dedication she’s shown. She’s out of bed very early in the morning to get on one or two horses at Neil’s, rain or snow, before being in school by 7:45. And during the race season she’d work all weekend as well, either riding or helping run horses at the races for Neil and the Kinross crew. Learning at this age how hard you have to work to achieve success will hopefully lead to good things later in her life.”