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Jacky Green


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From the Blog of Tim and Jonelle Price: The End of an Era and a New Beginning

Photo courtesy of Team Price.

This blog has been published on EN in its original format with permission from Jacky Green — you can view the original post on the Team Price website here.

The eventing season is just around the corner, St David’s day is behind us signalling the start of spring and the daffodils are peeking up from the ground.

And it’s the end of Mere Farm and the start of Chedington as Team Price relocate to Dorset after some 18 years as friends and tenants of Tim and Melissa Brown. The team has grown over the years as Mere Farm has evolved and it’s fair to say that the final drinks party was emotional to say the least! And when you have as good a story teller as Mr Brown giving a wonderfully funny speech and as good a hostess as Melissa then it was always going to be a defining memory of how closely intertwined both families have become.

Tim had posted a photo of a rocking horse on social media a couple of days before stating that “this is the last horse left at Mere” but since he took it in apparent twilight it was more like a ‘where’s Wally’ shot. All the horses are indeed now stabled in their fine new yard at Chedington amidst the rolling hills of Dorset and a new era of Team Price begins in the land of the Durdle Door. They have swopped the chalk White Horses of Wiltshire for the naked and club wielding Cerne Abbas Giant but the valleys and hills of Dorset, the stunning coast line and the quirky towns are very much to the liking of the Team Price vibe.

Credit Rachel Good. Not so sunny Spain! More Baltic wind…

It’s business as usual from Monday 6th of March at Chedington and with some 15 horses having returned direct from the Sunshine Tour in Andalusia Tim and Jonelle are a step ahead of most of the UK based eventers as always. Jonelle reckons they have jumped around 3,500 fences between them already and it was yet another successful trip with all the horses being on good form. The plans have been made for the start of the season and all the staff have moved with the team apart from Lucy Miles who is on maternity leave. Which means we have a new 2IC in the happy go lucky Megan Hodder who spent most of the winter trying to find a nice HGV tester who would tick pass on her shiny new licence. Mission accomplished and she even added waitressing to her list of ticked boxes before she left Mere.

Kerryn Edmans continues to lead from the front with her unique blend of humour, work ethic and drive and the horses could not have a better team as their PA’s. We welcome Cosby Green to the team who has flown over from the USA with her three horses to base with Tim and Jonelle and the spring plans are all down on paper so no doubt that will start changing straight away!

Of course there will always be a lasting Team Price presence in the very earth of Mere Farm. Not all of the horses have gone…The Deputy (Hero), Sporting Hero (Prawn) and Vortex (Ed Junior) sleep for eternity alongside their canine friends Tonka, Reds and Jarvis close to Raspberry the cat. What memories they must share when they chat below a full moon and reminisce about their days when a girl and a boy travelled halfway across the world with a dream in their pocket and a vision in their sights. How proud they must be of that journey they were such a big part of that ended up with Tim and Jonelle leaving Mere Farm as husband and wife, parents to Otis and Abel and World No. 1 and 2.

The Kiwis Are Coming … Eventually

Jacky Green, who is a part Team New Zealand, kindly sent us this look inside the final few days of preparation for the Kiwi horses as they headed off to Kentucky. Many thanks to Jacky for writing, and thank you for reading.

New Zealand's grooms spare no expense! Photo via Tess Anderson on Facebook.

New Zealand’s grooms spare no expense! Photo via Tess Anderson on Facebook.

It is a long trip for most to Kentucky, but four days on trucks and planes only broken up by a stint in quarantine beats most of the treks across America. The kiwi horses left Sir Mark Todd’s base at Badgerstown in the UK just after 5 a.m. on Wednesday, 20th April with their dedicated girls and one well-travelled vet in Dr. Christiana Ober alongside them.

Meanwhile, our riders were busy stacking up as many runs as they possibly could before they departed on Sunday. Sir Mark Todd, Blyth Tait and Jock Paget all elected to run horses at Bicton in Devon on the Friday, and they achieved that with a zero injury rate which was a good start to the weekend.

Apart from a few logistical errors like being unable to book online check-in — as it appears that despite being able to move planes around the world, Delta and Virgin Atlantic are unable to sync their computers — all was running fairly smoothly in the countdown.

Bypassing Bicton in favour of running a huge team of horses at Hambelden over three days was Team Price. The Friday was horrible, Saturday got abandoned and Sunday dawned with weak sunshine and tacky drying ground. As the other riders and the support team got on the plane, Tim had four Intermediate and Open Intermediate rides to get through before he aimed to catch the last plane of the day at 5 p.m.

The day began well with four tests scoring on or under 70%, and then came the problem of the notoriously tricky show jump gate steward who insists on “programme order only.”

With a mixture of banter and some promises of cake from Tim, we got a great system underway with the only blip coming when Jonelle mentioned that she was impressed with his “improved attitude from last year,” which didn’t go down too well.

Xanthuss III and Bango share a bromance in Kentucky. Photo via Kerryn Edmans on Facebook.

Xanthuss III and Bango share a bromance in Kentucky. Photo via Kerryn Edmans on Facebook.

We assured the steward that Jonelle was nothing to do with Tim and pressed on with our next casualty being Tim’s work rider, Amanda Breditis, who was banned from doing anything in the warm up except walking by the chief steward of the competition.

Heading up to the cross country start we decided to try our luck in a different spot, and Amanda warmed up horse no. 2 while Tim aimed to start on horse no.1. This plan was scuppered when Austin O Connor’s horse sat on the rail into the coffin and a lengthy delay began.

When the in rail was taken out as beyond repair, Andrew Nicholson noted that all the riders owed Austin a drink and Tim sped off into the woods. We hit a slight tack malfunction between horses two and three, but since Amanda is Swedish and has been brought up with IKEA and other flat pack furniture, she swiftly removed her hairband and implemented an on the spot repair, which was dead impressive.

Horse no. 4 was set to go with the clock perilously ticking when another hold meant we were out of time and so that was just the 15 of 16 phases completed.

I generously told Tim he could drive my car as he, being a boy, was obviously the better driver. Boys love this but in reality I had decided that if we were going to pick up speeding tickets heading into London, he could take them. Blondes are not as dumb as they always seem.

By dint of the fact that Tim ended up at checkout with no socks on, he made the flight with three minutes to spare. If you see someone at Rolex with cold feet it will probably be him. I hear that there are some nice tradestands out there so maybe someone will take pity on him!