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Michael Owen thrown off horse twice in preparation for jockey debut

Owen stands with trainer Dascombe who pose with Brown Pather after winning Dubai Gold Cup. Warren Little/Getty Images

Michael Owen was thrown off his horse twice in one day as he prepares to make his racing debut at the Prince's Countryside Fund Charity Race at Ascot on Nov. 24.

Owen, who played 89 times for England in his professional football career, is a known supporter of horse racing and has built his own stable which Tom Dascombe has trained from since 2009.

However, Owen has now decided to take up jockeying himself for charity which he's described as a "big learning curve" so far.

"It's made me think that they're [horses] not machines," Owen told the Prince's Countryside Fund. "I've been doing some practice back at home and it felt very easy and I thought I would breeze it.

"Today, there's been wide open spaces, horses you don't know and it's been very, very different. It's made me think to myself that I need to do some hard work between now and Ascot.

"We've learned a whole range of different skills and obviously part of that was sitting on horseback, doing a bit of walking, trotting and cantering, which were very different from what I'm used to. It was a big learning curve."

"It was a tough fitness test, it was obviously specific to what you're going to be doing so some of it was not what I would have normally done in my career. A lot of strength work and balance and posture and core, work on your thighs, so it was interesting and quite punishing at times actually.

"I found in life that a lot of things look easy on the eye. You go to a stadium or you watch on TV and everything looks quite easy, and then you try and do it yourself and you think it's quite hard. Then you see the jockeys up close and what they do and it's nigh-on impossible.

"It's people at the very top of their games and very top of their sports and they are exceptional at it."

The Prince's Countryside Fund was established in 2010 to help secure a brighter future for British farmers and the countryside.