At the age of 14, Anna Dominy got her feet wet (well dusty) at the Jackson Lake Lodge Corrals. What began as a love of horses turned into a head position. Her Grandparents worked for the Park Service and Dominy would spend summers in Grand Teton National Park. “My Grandma talked to the old corral foreman and told him I really liked horses and asked if I could come out and help,” said Dominy. “So I started coming out and scooping poop and just kind of worked my way up the ladder and now I’m in charge,” she laughed. Seven years later, Dominy is now Corral Foreman, head honcho for seven wranglers, 42 horses, and one pony.
“My day starts at 6am. We get here, check the horses for injuries and see if they are sick, feed them and saddle all of them up.” The horses get sent out on two morning rides and two afternoon rides. Throughout the day the wranglers fill the water tanks and clean the corrals.
Sometimes the day doesn’t always run so smoothly. “The other day the horses all got out and went to Christian Pond and did the one hour ride by themselves in single file line,” said Dominy. A few stopped to graze while others paraded down the highway. Fortunately three of them came back and Dominy and the wranglers jumped on them and herded the rest up. “It was really funny, everyone was on the bridge and they all started clapping,” Dominy laughed, “I was like oh I’m a real cowgirl now.”
For the most part, the horses don’t want to leave the corrals. They know it’s where they get fed, but every once in awhile they think it’s fun to escape. “So what happens is they play with the latch and the gate opens and they’re like oh I’ll go eat some grass,” said Dominy. “And when one goes, they all go.” This happens about once a season, but they always come back. “They really are such good horses.”
Good horses with very distinct personalities. “It’s like going into a middle school cafeteria and watching all the kids,” said Dominy. There are cliques amongst the horses. “People don’t realize how much personality they have. You have ones who are kind of like loners and just want to do their own thing, you have the ones that want to go out and check every horse and see what everyone is doing… you have the really curious horses that get into everything and want to chew on everything. So they’re very unique; they all work together exactly like middle school kids.”
With such a diverse bunch, there is a horse for every type of rider. All the trails are hiking friendly, but guests have the opportunity to go a lot further on a horse and see a lot more, especially those with children.
For people who may be too nervous to ride the horses, we encourage you to come down to the corrals and say hello. “The horses love to be pet and love for people to give them treats. They are the most social group of horses I have ever been around.” The corrals provide horse treats for guests, as other food is prohibited for the horses’ diet.
Dominy returns to the Jackson Lake Lodge Corrals each year because she genuinely loves the job. “The most rewarding part is when someone comes out and it’s the highlight of their vacation. They tell you how much fun they had and how it was the best part of their trip.”
Experience Grand Teton National Park on horseback yourself! Corrals are located at Jackson Lake Lodge, Jenny Lake Lodge and Colter Bay Village. There are standard and short rides as well as pony rides for young children. “It’s a fun experience,” said Dominy. “You’re out in the west; it’s the cowboy state. Come ride a horse in the mountains!”