Second Career Star: Liggin Ease

From racing to jumping, Liggin Ease is an all-around good guy.

Q-Racing Journal

Liggin Ease and Taylor Valencia compete at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show. PHOTO: Larri Jo Starkey

Maybe, at age 18, Liggin Ease has earned the right to be stubborn.

After all, he has seen and done most of what a horse can see – he began his life as a racehorse, then moved on to barrel racing, became an over-fences jumping star, and works as a therapy horse.

Maybe that’s why his owners, Kirstine Valencia and her daughter, Taylor, love “Moose.” The Parker, Colorado, residents have owned him the past few years and speak of him with affection.

“He is a Moose,” Kirstine says with a laugh. “He’s a stubborn old man.”

Liggin Ease was bred by George Lewis of Paola, Kansas, and is sired by the good stallion Holland Ease, the Grade 1-winning son of First Down Dash who in his sire career got the earners of more than $12.2 million, including all-time leading living sire Corona Cartel. Liggin Ease’s dam, the Zevi (TB) mare Martha Liggins, was a race winner and produced three winners from five starters.

Liggin Ease raced 21 times from age 2 to age 5, mostly on the Oklahoma circuit, winning four races and earning $13,527 and a career-high speed index of 96. He contested the 2000 Expo Square Stakes, his only stakes appearance, before retiring from the racetrack to become a barrel racing horse.

“He was really, really bored barrel racing,” Kirstine says, picking up his story. “So they started stacking up hay bales and letting him jump them. That’s how he started jumping.”

And with that, Moose had found a job he really enjoyed. Two years ago, Moose was sadly up for sale as his young owner was headed to college, so the Valencias purchased him for Taylor.

“My daughter got on him, and went and won everything under the sun with him,” Kirstine says. “They have been the best duo.”

The pair compete in a number of over-fences classes, from hunter hack to jumpers. In addition to showing in AQHA competition, they also compete in United States Equestrian Foundation competition, including placing in the prestigious medal finals and “A” shows.

“He’s not necessarily the easiest horse to get along with, but if you play by his rules, you are golden,” Kirstine says. “They’re a great team. They are always consistent and get the job done, and (Taylor) has a smile on her face every time coming out of the ring. I have pictures where I swear both of them are smiling. She says that she ‘rides with joy every time I am on that horse.’ ”

Last year, the pair were eighth at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show in jumping, and this year were finalists in the same class. He has earned points in working hunter, equitation over fences and jumping with Taylor aboard.

But Moose is more than just a talent in the show arena. Taylor’s instructor is Lee Dudley of Elizabeth, Colorado. In addition to being a riding instructor, she is also a licensed professional counselor, and uses horses in an equine-assisted psychotherapy program. This program uses horses as a tool to help both adults and children work through trauma or problems, and Moose is one of the horses used.

“He fits into the program just beautifully,” Kirstine says.

While his family is mindful that Moose is getting older and keep a close eye on his health and happiness, he is currently thriving in his work.

“He’s got lots of jobs, and he loves all of his jobs,” Kirstine says. “We think he’s a pretty cool horse, all the way around. It has been so much fun with him.”

Do you know of a second-career racing American Quarter Horse that should be profiled in Second Career Stars? If so, write to acaudill@aqha.org.

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