Dana van Lierop: ‘The Jury was totally smitten with Johnny’

Dana van Lierop - Johnny Cash Meetmoment Werkendam 2021 © DigiShots

June 22, 2021
Dana van Lierop – Johnny Cash Benchmark Moment Werkendam 2021 © DigiShots

‘I knew he was good, but that he would do so well was a surprise.’ In the weekend of June the 20th, Dana van Lierop made a successful debut with Jelger fan it Hiem, aka Johnny Cash (Tsjalle 454 x Tjimme 275) during the international FEI dressage competition in Hungary. Both in the Prix St. Georges and the freestyle to music of the Inter I they triumphed gloriously and with splendid percentages too: 71.177% and 75.045%.

Johnny’s first international appearance

Dana had taken as many as thirteen horses with her for her five-day stay at the FEI event in Hungary. For Johnny Cash it was his first experience abroad at a multiple-day competition. ‘For us the main thing was if his appearance would go down well with the Jury’, says Dana, who in spite of her just 26 years ranks with the Dutch dressage top and has a lot of international experience. ‘Some Jury members are definitely still prejudiced when it comes to Friesian horses, but they all loved Johnny. Many Jury members even looked me up after the competition to tell me how much they had enjoyed it, they were so smitten with him. He has a modern type, presented a very fine and friendly picture in the test and was keen to work. Johnny gives himself to the full 100%, quite amazing,’ Dana compliments him, and goes on to say that she ‘could ride Johnny nicely over his back and in a fine long frame. His canter in particular is very impressive, he has great cadence in trot and good length of stride in walk. Actually, he is capable of scoring 8s on all elements and he still has so much more potential.’

Special character

Dana rides Johnny Cash for his owner Ted Kop Jansen. ‘The first time I rode him was 3½ years ago when I visited Ted. I then told him there would always be a box available for him in my yard.’ When his regular rider Amber den Heyer – who rode Johnny Cash to the European Champion title ZZ Heavy – had to stop because of hip problems, the Friesian stallion went to Dana’s yard. ‘He chooses his own people, if he doesn’t like you he’ll turn away from you,’ is how she describes him. ‘He is a very special character horse. He either likes you or he doesn’t and when he likes you he will give you all he has.’

Time in the field

At the Stallion Inspection 2021 Dana and Johnny made a very fine appearance in the Tsjalle 454 demonstration group. ‘At that time I had only had him under saddle for six weeks’, says Dana, who sees still more potential in the 10-year-old stallion. ‘He has the talent for the higher work.’ She hopes to be able to start him in the Dutch Championships this year. ‘And hopefully at the European Championships too.’ But she’s also aware that horses like this are much in demand and with Ted Kop Jansen everything is for sale. ‘We’ll see. After the trip to Hungary he’ll first get a week off. Out and about in the field, he has definitely deserved that.’

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