Manufacturer: Billy Cook
Model: Pro Reiner - 9602
Category: Reining Saddles
Purchase: I purchased my Billy Cook Pro Reiner production saddle from the Billy Cook Saddlery in Sulphur, OK, for $1100. I also received a free matching basket weave chest collar with my purchase. I bought the saddle as an all-around western saddle. I show a little bit (mostly hunter shows, as I ride a big, hunter-type half-Thoroughbred mare) and while I don't show western very seriously, I wanted something that wouldn't get me laughed out of a Horsemanship or Trail class. I do a ton of trail riding, and some breaking of young horses, so I wanted something that would stand up to some abuse and wasn't so overly showy that a scratch or two would detract a great deal from it.
Likes: Where to begin with what I love about this saddle?!?!?!?!?! I absolutely ADORE the positioning of the stirrups and the seat of the saddle. I usually have to "fight with" a new saddle to get the stirrups and fenders to swing a bit forward of vertical. The fenders swing forward smoothly, and the pre-turned stirrups on a new saddle are HEAVENLY. I love the finish, which is a rich chestnut that looks incredible on any horse I've put it on. I love the way the saddle fits the horses I've had it on, from my half-Thoroughbred mare to a little no-withers Pinto gelding I ride from time to time. While I've always preferred a fully-tooled saddle, I've even come to appreciate the basket weave borders and corners.
Dislikes: The ONLY dislike I can voice (and I wracked my brain trying to think of any negatives!) is that some of the silver on the saddle has developed some minor imperfections. I actually need to contact the Billy Cook Saddlery and see if they might replace it for me.
Quality: For an affordable production saddle, the quality of the 9602 is exceptional. I've had it for one year now, and short of the couple of scratches I've put on it while on the trail, there's not a single thing I can complain about. The rigging still looks brand-new, and even the rawhide-covered stirrups, which are most vulnerable to getting wet and getting whacked on the trail, are holding up like I just bought the saddle yesterday.
Summary: For the money, I don't believe there's a better-looking or more comfortable saddle on the market. After one full year, the only complaint I have is that I ride english too often! (In fact, I've been caught in the garage, sitting on the saddle on its rack, just because I adore it so.) With the positioning of the stirrups and fenders and the pre-turning of the stirrups, the saddle has been as comfortable from day one as it is one year later.
Author: Meg in OK
Usefulness Rating: 4.51852 out of 5.
54 reader(s) voted.
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