Love of horses and cutting competitions brings busy couple together
Bailey Cook and his wife Vicki Williamson Cook are a busy couple. He owns an oil company and is a practicing attorney in Oklahoma and Texas. She is an international flight attendant for Delta Airlines. Between their schedules, sometimes they spend three or four days a week away from one another.
One thing that helps keep this busy couple together is their love of horses. The couple first met at a horse cutting show in Boyd, Texas, in 2001. At the time, both were with their previous spouses, then they crossed paths at a cutting event in Ft. Worth in 2010 after they had each divorced.
“We started cutting together and then our relationship just took off from there,” Bailey Cook said.
Today, the couple splits their time between Argyle, Texas, and their 525 acre ranch in Davis where they breed mares and raise foals. Cook said that in addition to the horses, they also have multiple dogs, cats and cows.
“It’s a fun lifestyle but it’s also a hard lifestyle because of the hours and commitment,” Cook said. “It’s very expensive but can be very nourishing if you’re tuned into animals.
Cook said they try to go riding whenever they can. They also work in sessions with a trainer when the opportunity presents itself.
“To be really good at this you have to dedicate the time,” Cook said. “So if you’ve got an hour and a half, you need to go spend time with your trainer. We’re always working on our skills and staying proficient. If you’re not working on learning new skills, you’re working on maintaining existing skills.
The couple goes to several cutting events across the country a year. The competitions take them as far away as Idaho or California. (However, distances such as these are not a challenge to a woman who has already been to London and back this week.)
In 2012, they once spent an entire month driving to events around the country, and circling back home.
“We have a living quarters trailer with space for four horses,” Cook said. “We just hit the road and stayed gone for a month and just made a big circle.”
While on the trip, they each left for a few days to make space for work.
“In that month, she broke off and flew to Africa and back,” Cook said. “Then I broke off and flew back to Oklahoma to go to the office for a few days. Then I flew back and met her in Sacramento.”
Cook said the other contestants have almost become like family to he and his wife. Often they see the same people at events hundreds of miles apart.
“Our conversations are funny,” Cook said. “We’ll start out talking in Abilene, Texas, then we pick it up in Ft. Worth, and it continues in Ardmore. It’s like nothing at all has changed.”
On Friday, the couple each showed a horse at the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity at Hardy Murphy Coliseum. While Bailey did not place, Vicki will be riding again on Sunday when she competes in the finals in the 4-year unlimited amateur category. This would be her third win in the amateur division at the event if she comes in first place.
Cook said that horses means more to the couple than another title win.
“There’s just something about looking in the eye of a horse. You can see yourself and see your future. They have a desire to please you and they’re faithful. They’re kind of like a good friend putting their arm around you and saying it’s going to be okay,” Cook said.