Horse Tack Review

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Billy Cook
Custom Pro Reiner
Reining Saddles

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Manufacturer: Billy Cook (View all products by Billy Cook Saddlery)

Model: Custom Pro Reiner (View all Custom Pro Reiner reviews)

Category: Reining Saddles

Purchase: I bought my Billy Cook Custom Pro Reiner Saddle at "The Horse Blanket" tack store in Central Point, Oregon. It was used, but practically new. I have seen similar Billy Cook saddles with less tooling and silver retail for 1600 dollars, while I got mine for 900 dollars. I frequent this tack store, and was looking for a new show saddle anyway, so I was lucky to come up with such a great find.

Likes: The saddle has a 16" seat and is a medium oil/walnut color. Regularly, the Billy Cook Pro Reiner is simple smooth leather with a frame of basketweave tooling around the skirt and stirrup hangers, with minimal silver. This custom model however, has full tooling with the same basketweave frame, and floral tooling filling in all the blank spots. It down not have a lot of silver, but more than the normal model. The seat is chocolate brown smooth leather. I have gotten so many compliments on the classiness and beauty of my saddle. Particularly in working classes such as reining, team penning, trail, western horsemanship, etc. Too often, you see poorly built, gaudy light oil saddles that stain easily with an overwhelming amount of silver-plate, and cheap suede seats. Although this might be the "look" in the pleasure ring, I would rather have a well-built, comfortable saddle by a respected manufacturer that doesn't blind my other competitors with all that fake silver! I have ridden in this saddle through rivers and the water did not stain it, and I still get compliments even in the pleasure arena. I wish I could tell the manufacturer how happy I am with all that my saddle offers: beautiful tooling and silver accents, comfort, quality, raised eyebrows from the judges ;)...I could not be happier with this product, and I would recommend the traditional model, or a similar custom model to anyone in the show ring or on the trail.

Dislikes: The only things I dislike about this product is that it has a very shallow seat. This works well in the arena, and I even feel secure in it when working cattle in team penning. However, I had to purchase another saddle for gymkhana events for a deeper seat. I would only recommend this saddle for people who show in performance events, go on trail rides, and only very lightly pursue working events. If you compete seriously in cattle events, gymkhana, or do a lot of ranch work...this may not be the saddle for you.

Quality: The saddle is built very well. While it is already about two years old, there is no bleaching, staining, or warping of the leather. It has seen a lot of work too. The semi-quarter horse bars fit both my Appendix Quarter Horse and my purebred antique Arabian. The tree seems to accomodate many different animals very well.

Summary: I particularly love the color of the Billy Cook Pro Reiners. The extreme light oil leather seems impractical to me, and the dark oil saddles hide tooling and do not give a very dramatic contrast to show blankets and clothes. This walnut color is extremely beautiful. Because my custom model has both basketweave and floral tooling, it was easy to find matching tack for it and it does not seem too masculine or too feminine in any event. I love its versatility. I often see competitors who have to buy different saddles for every type of event, but this saddle is equally at home in western pleasure, equitation, horsemanship, reining, trail, working rancher, and on the real trail.

Rating: 5

Author: Molly Zimmerman

Date: 2004-02-25

Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
1 reader(s) voted.

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