From racing to riding... the training diary of an off the track Standardbred

About Jet

Delphi's Spectator, a.k.a. Jet, is an off-the-track Standardbred trotter. He is sired by Delphi's Oracle, 1989 trotter, and his dam was Skirt, a 1982 trotter. Both or his parents have great lines and Jet was expected to be a great racehorse. He raced as a three and four year old before being retired due to lack of energy. He refused to eat and therefore didn't have enough energy to race. He had high potential and was an excellent trotter when he ate. He had 27 starts, 3 wins, 3 thirds, made about $7,000 and had a lifetime mark of 1:59.4M. Jet was born on March 30, 2001 in Montgomery, Indiana. He is a 16 hand high bay gelding with a puppy dog personality.

I have done some research on his name and found out how they picked it. His breeders choose 'Delphi's' from his sire and if you trace Skirt's lines back two generations, you will find a sire named Spectator. Hence his name was Delphi's Spectator. Thank godness it wasn't Delphi's Skirt... that would be really unfortunate.

We got Jet off of the track when he was a three year old. His owners gave up on him and wanted him "gone" and they didn't care where he went. The trainer asked around to see if anyone would take him before the meat truck came by. Nobody claimed him at first but the word spread. A friend of ours who races and trains emailed a group a people, us included, asking if anyone could take him. Mom was looking for another horse and decided to go check him out. So the next day we went down the inspect him to see if he would make a nice riding horse. We got there and the stable hands asked us which horse we wanted to look at...great. Considering I hadn't seen him yet and my Mom only saw him once and there were 30+ horses to go through, it would have been an extremely difficult ordeal but we knew one thing that could seperate Jet from the rest. He is missing teeth on his bottom jaw in the front right.

We picked him out right away and looked him all over. His conformation wasn't perfect, or even close but he had a kind look in his eye and was a real sweetheart. At the time, we didn't know he was only 3 and you wouldn't have guessed it by seeing the way he acted. He was a steady eddy and let us touch him all over without batting an eye or raising a hoof. We decided we would take him home that day. We brought the trailer with us since the truck would have came the NEXT day to pick him up. We gave him a bath and loaded him onto the trailer.

After we let him settle in, we broke him undersaddle. He is a very easy going horse and this didn't phase him at all. My mom started his training but handed him over to me a few months later. Me? Really? I was chosen to train this 3 year old, off the track, clumsy, Standardbred? I was thrilled! I trained walk/trot with the aid of my trainer but, only being an early teen, maybe even a preteen, I got bored with just walk, trot and I lost interest in Jet. BIGGEST mistake of my life! Along with the financial trouble my family ran into, we sold him to an extremely nice woman whom we will call P.

With P, Jet got nice an fat and got some training. He also injured himself quite a few times. He ended up breaking his nose, ripping part of his face off, and pulling a suspensory. Needless to say, in the 2-3 years she had him, there wasn't a lot of time for her to train. After a few years, P decided to find Jet a new home. Since we had right of first refusal, she tried every way she could to contact us. Unknown to her, we ditched our landline phone and got cell phones instead and our emails changed. She knew we lived in the town we do but she wasn't sure the street or number address. She contacted a friend of ours who contacted us and got us in contact with one another again.

We went to visit Jet a few days later. To me, I thought this was the last time I would ever see my first horse. I knew we couldn't take another horse home and I already had another horse. I said my goodbyes to my boy. Once we got home, Mom and I discussed which horse (Jet or Blue, my other Standardbred at the time) would be best for me in the long run. Even though I loved Blue with all of my heart, he was too dangerous around our other horses so I chose Jet. We found Blue an amazing home and we visit him often. We picked up Jet a few days later.

Now that he is back with me, he will never leave my possession again. We have started our undersaddle work aswell as reconnecting the bond we once had. Hopefully it will become stronger than ever and we will promote the Standardbred breed and display what amazing capabilities these horses truely have. We will go far, you can count on that. But we are going to take our time and do it right. Watch out world, here we come.