British dressage rider swaps white boards for Love Island villa

  • British dressage rider Gemma Owen is swapping white boards for the white sands of Majorca as she jets off to join the Love Island villa.

    Gemma was part of the British squad at the 2021 junior European dressage championships, where she helped the team to sixth place with her own Sirius Black. The 19-year-old has competed to inter I and has a bevy of wins and top results at pony and junior internationals in the UK and Europe.

    Gemma is the daughter of former England striker turned racehorse owner/breeder Michael Owen, and Louise Owen, who also has a strong involvement in the equestrian world.

    “Sport has always been a big thing for me and my family,” said Gemma. “My dad was a professional football player. I’ve competed for Great Britain in dressage since I was 11 years old. I’ve travelled all across Europe competing in big arenas in big competitions.

    “I would say I’m very competitive. [When it comes to relationships] I will always go for what I want. But at the same time, I’m not going to mess up something for someone who is in a proper relationship or get in the way of a couple if they have a genuine connection. I wouldn’t do anything to another girl that I wouldn’t be happy with her doing to me.”

    She added: “I am open to finding love, I’m wanting to have a really fun summer. I was seeing someone and then that didn’t work out so I thought, ‘Why not?’

    “I would say I’m fun, flirty and fiery. I think I’m good at giving advice, I’m a good person to talk to, I’m very honest. If I want the same guy [as someone else], I’d do it but in a nice respectful way.”

    Gemma will be the latest in a number of equestrian figures who have spent time on the ITV2 show, which returns for its eighth series on 6 June.

    Chris Hughes reached the final of the third season, before going on to land a job as ITV Racing presenter, while Frankie Foster – now a presenter on Racing TV’s social media channel #Raceday – spent 10 days in the villa in season four.

    Jade Affleck (season six) and Olivia Bowen (season two runner-up) are among the other riders to have appeared on the show. Five-star event rider Will Rawlin also revealed in a H&H interview last year that he had been approached to appear on Love Island and Made In Chelsea.

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