International dressage rider Gemma Owen has emerged as runner-up of Love Island 2022. After eight weeks in the Love Island villa in Majorca, Gemma, 19, and her partner Luca Bish, 23, finished second in the final of the ITV2 show on Monday, 1 August.
Cheshire-based Gemma, daughter of former England footballer Michael Owen, now a racehorse owner and breeder, has enjoyed a highly successful international dressage career in youth ranks, representing Britain at the 2021 European Junior Championships in Oliva, Spain, riding her own 17-year-old Stedinger gelding Sirius Black.
Gemma and Sirius Black have also competed up to inter I level nationally, and scored a personal best of 73.53% at prix st georges (PSG) in January this year.
Gemma’s last show before entering the Love Island villa was Myerscough Premier League in March, where she finished third in both the team and individual young rider tests, having only stepped up to the level this year.
View this post on Instagram
Gemma Owen was not the only international dressage rider to appear on Love Island 2022. Her trainer, grand prix rider Sarah Higgins, featured on the penultimate episode, in which family members and friends join the contestants in the villa to catch up and meet their partners. Sarah joined Gemma’s mother Louise on the show, saying that she is “so proud” of Gemma, who “has been amazing from start to finish”.
Sarah has been competing Sirius Black alongside her other horses this year while Gemma prepared for her stint on Love Island – Sarah and “Siz” scored a prix st georges win at Keysoe Premier League in April, and an inter I third at Somerford Premier League at the end of May.
“Me and Sirius can’t wait for [Gemma] to be back this week,” said Sarah.
Gemma travelled back to the UK on Wednesday, 2 August, with the other Love Island finalists. As well as seeing family, Gemma is sure to be keen to catch up with her junior dressage teammates, who enjoyed huge success at the 2022 Junior and Young Rider European Championships last week.
You may also be interested in…
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.