Amanda Poston is the Minnesota HBPA Groom of the Week. She currently works for trainer Tony Rengstorf. After leaving her job as a software engineer, she reinvented her life in the way that made her the happiest, working with horses. Amanda started her journey being around horses by taking lessons as a kid, but broke her arm doing gymnastics and ultimately had to stop riding until she graduated college. As a software engineer, Poston worked for Target and even had a hand in the development of the new self-checkout machines. After Target, she engineered at another company but still felt like something was missing.
In April of 2020, she decided to make a bold move. She sent an email to Canterbury Park to ask if any trainers needed help on the backside and one thing led to another. “Last summer I worked on the weekends because I was a software engineer, and I asked Tony what I had to do to gallop,” Poston said. Galloping refers to riding a racehorse during morning training hours. Exercise riders are extremely important in the training process. “His answer was ‘Move to Arkansas.'” So in January she made the trip to Arkansas and started learning how to gallop. Four months later, she headed back northward, back to Canterbury Park to become a groom since there was a need in that area. “I just love the job. It’s something I enjoy doing even on the worst, hottest, most humid, awful day. It’s still better than the best day of software [engineering].” When asked if she had a favorite horse she likes to work with, Poston instantly and enthusiastically pointed to, Hismuddawasamudda, a three-year-old bay gelding. “He was my first mount!”
When asked if there was anything she would tell someone looking to get into this line of work, the only advice she had was, “It sounds really dumb but you kind of just have to do it. However you can get your foot in the door, whether it’s showing up to do barn-hop on the weekends or hotwalking, it’s worth a shot.”
Canterbury Park applauds Amanda for the work she’s done this season and offers congratulations for being recognized as the Minnesota HBPA Groom of the Week. She was presented with an award last night during the races.
Story and photograph by Megan Bormann