William Whitaker and his girlfriend Elisabeth Fredlund are celebrating the birth of their first child.

Isabella Emma Maria Whitaker was born at 10.45pm yesterday (1 February) at the Halifax Royal Infirmary, weighing a healthy 9lb 1oz.

“I’m very proud and really excited,” William told H&H.

“She’s a big baby – Elisabeth coped really well. Put it this way – rather her than me!” he joked.

William, 22, is a cousin of Ellen and Robert Whitaker and nephew of British team stalwarts John and Michael. His father Ian is the only non-showjumping brother of the Yorkshire family.

“We brought Isabella home last night (2 February).

“She was pretty good actually, she was very well-behaved,” said William.

“She’s feeding well, too. Maybe she’s lulling us into a false sense of security!”

William met Elisabeth, who is Swedish, at a horse show in Italy.

So will baby Isabella go into the family ‘business’?

“I would think there’ll be only one thing that she’ll do,” joked William.”But of course we will be happy for her to do whatever she wants.”