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Melbourne International 3DE
By Di Gatehouse


owen.jpg (6617 bytes)5 month old Damien Owen greets his mum Karen, who had just completed her dressage test at the recent Melbourne International CI***. Karen is a riding instructor with New South Wales mounted police and is married to race horse trainer Adrian Owen.

Karen first started riding at 11 and at 14 got her first pony. She rode him to school every day and when she was old enough, joined the New South Wales police force for the expressed purpose of becoming a trooper. "But I had to train and do general police work first", said Karen who rode dressage almost to the time Damien was due.

As for Damien. He has little chance but to grow up surrounded by horses. But at just five months
his legs are long enough to indicate he may well be too tall for a jockey. "I bet he grows up wanting to drive cars", joked Karen who has taken twelve months leave from her duties as a police sergeant to be with Damien.

Karen rode her ten year gelding Antigua. He is the ex galloper Under Arm, named so because he is out of Great Mistake by Match Winner. His name was a reference to the infamous underarm bowl by Chappel with the last ball a test match against New Zealand. It won Australia the match, horrified the purists and enshrined Australia in New Zealand's black book.

With a new name and a change of direction for the gelding was what he needed and after the dressage test Karen blamed herself for the result which put the pair at 16th place. "He's good at dressage, I've got to get much better", she said. After clearing the steeplechase the pair were in good company with time penalties in the cross country but moved up to 14th place. After the showing jumping Karen and Antigua finished in 12th.

Karen and Antigua are on the National A squad and while Karen was not picked to represent Australia in Taupo, New Zealand, earlier this year, she rode individually but was eliminated in the cross country.

Photo: Di Gatehouse