‘He was taken far too soon’: Gemma Owen’s ‘horse in a million’ dies suddenly aged 18

  • Dressage rider Gemma Owen is “heartbroken and in complete shock” after her junior team horse Sirius Black III died suddenly on Friday (3 February) aged 18.

    The Stedinger gelding, who was known at home as Siz, died following a “sudden and severe illness”.

    “Words can’t describe how much this horse meant to me and my family. He was truly one in a million,” said Gemma. “Everyone who met Siz will know how amazing and caring his temperament was. He was taken far too soon. He has left us all heartbroken and in complete shock.”

    Gemma Owen and Sirius Black competed internationally for Britain in junior and young rider ranks, including at the junior European Dressage Championships in Oliva, Spain, in 2021. The team, also featuring Annabella Pidgley, Mette Dahl and Holly Kerslake, finished sixth.

    Gemma finished as runner-up on ITV’s Love Island in 2022, and her trainer Sarah Higgins took over the ride on Siz while Gemma was away in the Love Island villa. With Sarah, Siz claimed a Permier League victory at prix st georges (PSG) and competed at the National Dressage Championships in September 2022 at PSG and inter I.

    Grand prix rider Sarah described Siz’s death as “totally heartbreaking”, adding: “I was so fortunate to be able to share in the journey with him and Gem.

    “He was the most kind and gentle horse and every way and will be deeply missed by everyone who was lucky enough to be part of his life.”

    Since returning to the dressage arena post-Love Island, Gemma and Siz clocked up several wins on the national circuit, scoring a personal best of 73.95% at PSG in December, and winning at Arena UK and Vale View High Profile shows.

    Last month, Gemma told H&H that her plan for 2023 was “To get out [competing] as much as I can”.

    Following the loss of Siz, she said: “You taught me so much Siz and I will never be able to thank you enough. You brought so much joy and happiness to our lives and you’ll never be replaced, I love you endlessly.”

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