Gemma Owen loses Sirius Black unexpectedly

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Mon, 06 Feb 2023 15:44

Gemma Owen’s 2021 Junior European Championship team ride, Sirius Black III, sadly passed away on Friday 3 February at the age of 18, following a sudden and severe illness.

Gemma and the German-born Sirius Black III, who was affectionately known at home as ‘Siz’, competed together since 2018. During that time, they represented Great Britain with much success in Junior classes. In his early career, Sirius Black was ridden by Peter Storr and, later, Sonia Baines, winning regional championship titles and Premier League small tour victories with both riders.

The Stedinger x Rotspon gelding soon formed a successful partnership with Gemma, which led to their selection for the 2021 FEI Junior European Championships at Oliva Nova in Spain, where alongside Holly Kerslake, Annabella Pidgley and Mette Dahl they achieved sixth place for Great Britain in the team competition.

Stepping up to Young Riders that same year, they were the second highest-scoring Young Rider combination in the British Dressage U21 Championships and began their 2022 with numerous Small Tour victories on the domestic circuit. After handing over the reins to her trainer and Grand Prix rider, Sarah Higgins, while she appeared on the reality TV show Love Island, Gemma returned to the competition arena in October of last year. A series of successes followed, including Prix St Georges wins at Arena UK and Vale View Equestrian High Profile Shows.

“On Friday we lost my horse of a lifetime due to a sudden and severe illness,” said Gemma on social media. “Words can’t describe how much this horse meant to me and my family, he was truly one in a million. 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.

“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 will never be replaced. I love you endlessly.”

Photo © Łukasz Kowalski