Starting colts, working cattle and competing in cow horse events keep this Nevada horsewoman in the saddle day after day.
On any given day, Jymme Dominguez might be working cattle, competing at a show, starting colts or instructing a Piyo fitness class.
While growing up, Jymme often helped her family and neighbors work cattle near the ranching community of Adel, Oregon. Her parents, as well as her grandfather, worked on the legendary MC Ranch before it sold in the 1980s.
As a young adult, she began starting colts with horseman Frank Dominguez, traveling to ranches across the country, including Thoroughbred racehorse farms in Kentucky. After working together for several years, the couple married in 2013. In addition to training horses, they purchased the Adel Store, a historic café and fuel station in southern Oregon. They also began raising and training their own horses.
Last year they moved to Battle Mountain, Nevada, where Frank began working as the cowboss on the TS Ranch. Jymme continues to train their own young horses, in addition to regularly day-working on the TS and teaching Piyo, a combination of Pilates and yoga.
She also finds time to compete in reined cow horse events, showing her horse Nics Highbrow (pictured). In 2016, the duo placed second in the Intermediate Non-Pro Bridle class and fourth in the Non- Pro Bridle during the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity.
I don’t like the term “cowgirl.” People will say, “Oh, you’re a cowgirl.” I don’t correct them, but I’m more like a cowboy girl. Or a horse girl. I don’t use the term cowgirl.
Our family never had its own ranch. But I always had horses, and we always helped the neighbors [with ranch work]. Adel is a tight-knit community.
When you’re a little girl and you’re raised around horses, I don’t think you have a chance. [Working with horses] just gets in your blood, and that’s what you want to do.
One of the biggest things that’s helped me was when Frank and I bought [Nics Highbrow]. He’s taught me the most, as far as really stepping it up and being able to win [cow horse events] at a higher level.
I’ve got the Border Collie-brain thing going on. I can’t just do one thing every day or I get bored. So I’ve always enjoyed the ranching life because you’re always doing something different. Every day there is a new thing going on.
Even though my grandpa worked for the MC, he took care of their cattle like they were his own. Those were his cows. That’s one thing that I have picked up from him: Treat everybody’s stuff like it’s your own.
Growing up, I’d go with my grandpa all the time and work with him. That was my cowboy experience.
You take pride in what you do, and you try to be the best that you can be at it. This is one of those lifestyles where that really shows. So I’ve always liked that. It’s almost like a little competition within yourself, always getting better at it.
Whether it’s with cowboying, horse training or colt starting, if you ever stop learning then you are going to go backwards. Frank is a prime example. He’s started thousands of colts, and he’s amazing at it. But he’s constantly wanting to learn something else, something new.
That’s what makes it fun. That’s what makes you crave it. Because you’re always getting better and you’re always learning new things.
When work is wearing on you, it wears on your relationships, as well, especially when you’re working together. I’m not like a super kicked-back kind of person. And when you’re both high-strung, it can be hard to work together. You get sick of each other. But Frank and I have figured it out. We know when that point is coming. As long as we get a break from each other every once in a while, we’re good.
I just became a Piyo certified instructor. There’s nothing better than helping somebody feel good about themselves. I’m big into health and fitness. It keeps your body more sound, even for riding. I don’t get so sore. It keeps you stronger, and you’re a better rider when you’re in better shape.
I find myself cussing like a sailor at times. And I have to tell myself, “Okay, tone it down a notch.” It’s hard to be a lady all the time when you’re around a bunch of guys all the time. Because when you’re around it, it becomes your natural talk.
It’s never been awkward for me to work with a crew of guys. I was always the gal that had guy friends in school. But you have to tell yourself, “Don’t ever try and be one of them.” I will always be “the girl on the crew.” You can’t be trying to outdo everybody and be a man. At the same time, you can’t play the girl card all the time, because then you have zero respect from any of the crew. It’s challenging to keep that balance.
This article was originally published in the September 2018 issue of Western Horseman.