Exclusive: Jonelle and Tim’s baby surprise!

A baby is on the way for eventing's super couple, Tim and Jonelle Price

Tim and Jonelle: great news of a baby on its way (Image: Libby Law)

Jonelle and Tim Price have announced that their first baby is on the way, solving the mystery of why Jonelle is not among the entries in the upcoming Badminton Horse Trials.

Baby Price is expected in early August, and Jonelle has explained in an exclusive interview with NZ Horse & Pony that she is still coming to grips with the momentous news – it came as a bit of a surprise in early March to discover she was nearly four months pregnant!

“I’m 36, and obviously we didn’t have a lot of time on our side, but it was still a bit of a surprise,” she says. “I thought I had a virus back in December when we came home. I was a bit laboured running, and feeling a little bit off. I thought, ‘What on earth is wrong with me?’ Tim eventually made me go to the doctor, and I told the doctor that I rode horses professionally, and if it was one of my horses I would just run some bloods.”

The doctor was happy to take up Jonelle’s suggestion, and the bloods came back absolutely fine. “I thought, ‘Oh well, I just have to get on with it.”

The transport arrangements may have to change for Tim and Jonelle (Image: Libby Law)

Jonelle says she’s in great health now. “I’m feeling absolutely fine. That is a little bit of a problem, really – it would help if I wasn’t feeling so good, probably! I feel like I should be competing.” She admits she definitely looks “a bit fat”, and is still riding a little at home, but knows that this will come to an end soon.

“It is more that I have been made a bit redundant, because I certainly can’t ride in May, which is obviously when all the exciting stuff happens.”

Jonelle has plans in place for her big team of horses as a result of this news. Her top trio, Classic Moet, Faerie Dianimo and Cloud Dancer, are going to have a break until the spring, although Classic Moet may go for an embryo transfer. As for the promising up-and-comers? Somewhat reluctantly, she has handed them over to Tim.

Jonelle Price and Classic Moet at Gatcombe (Image: Libby Law)

“Tim has taken over my next generation. I have got four really nice horses, all destined for spring three-stars, so he has taken over that lot. It’s only fair on Tim, and them, that they develop a bit of a partnership. They have to step up and do their first Advanced. I have had to take a back seat really, and just hand them over. It has not been overly easy.”

These horses include Ascona M, Cekatinka, Kindred Spirit and Kincooley Cruising, and Tim will be competing Kindred Spirit this weekend at Belton Horse Trials, along with his own stars, Bango, Ringwood Sky Boy and Xavier Faer.

Jonelle Price and Ascona M showing a lot of scope (Image: Libby Law)

So, as well as arriving rather fortuitously during a non-championship year, Baby Price is also due at a time when Tim has room in his string to take on Jonelle’s young horses, and Jonelle is thankful for that. “My life is really now about trying to make his life easier. It’s not really what I am cut out for, but I am giving it a go.”

As for Tim being the doting husband, Jonelle says she would describe him more accurately as ‘tolerant’.

“I think I am driving them all a little bit mad, actually, as I haven’t been a particularly good pregnant woman. It’s driving me a bit bonkers, and then I drive everyone else a bit bonkers.”

Tim and Jonelle celebrate Wesko’s Luhmühlen win back in 2014. Wesko is back in work but decisions still need to be made about his future (Image: Libby Law)

Jonelle is also struggling with being a spectator at events. “On the one hand I want to go and watch and obviously be supportive, but I am not very good at watching. I find it hard watching my horses and not saying anything. I am a bit torn between wanting to and not wanting to.”

As yet, delivery arrangements have not been made. “I haven’t got that far. I am still in the acceptance phase.” But the couple have decided not to find out whether it is a boy or a girl. “We are going to leave that as a surprise. We are not about to go and paint the spare bedroom at this stage. I hope it is a boy, though, and then there is less chance of him ever wanting to ride.”

While the baby will have great equestrian genes, Jonelle says she’d prefer her child to opt for a different career. “They can use those genes for something else a bit more financially rewarding!”

Jonelle on her way to fourth at Pau 2014 with Faerie Dianimo (Image: Libby Law)

Much, of course, will depend on how the late pregnancy and first few weeks go, but Jonelle is hoping to get to the season’s final four-star, at Pau.

Burghley, in September, is not entirely out of the question, however. “I am due four weeks before, and if the baby is a week late then I am really in trouble. The problem is, you have to do the preparation from May. So the ambitious side of me says I should go to Burghley, and the sensible side says I shouldn’t.”

Tim is certainly up for a big few months, with new horses to ride, Kentucky and Badminton to compete at, as well as the baby arriving. “It is going to be a busy year and exciting,” he says. “It will be fun, and it will be good.”

Pictured here at Burghley in 2016 when Tim and Ringwood Sky Boy placed second, Ringwood Sky Boy’s first four-star this season is to be Kentucky (Photo Trevor Meeks)

He is diplomatic as he describes the struggle that Jonelle is going through as she adjusts to life as a pregnant woman, and impending parenthood. “It is a massive change for this particular person. She is not used to having her hands tied. She is used to having things exactly how she wants them, and executing things to perfection. She is struggling, because it is out of her control and it is all happening, regardless of whether she is into it or not. I think somewhere inside, she is excited.”

So, congratulations Tim and Jonelle on your news, and all of us here at NZ Horse & Pony wish you the very best with the competitions, the pregnancy and the safe arrival of the little Price.