I blame my friend Pat. For years she has been sharing her love of horses and horse racing with me. She talks to me about sires and dams (we even invented a great party game in the 90s on this topic but never pursued it!) She always reminds me to pick my Derby horse (though neither of us ever bets). She recounts tales of past famous races to make analogies and points in conversation, and in general keeps me abreast of "bloodhorse" news.
It is natural then, when I saw Animal Planet was doing a reality show called Jockeys that I would tune in. I've just seen one episode and I am hooked. Check their website and your local listings for times and rebroadcasts.
There are a few too many commercials for my liking, and if you are fastforwarding through a tape of the show be aware that in some commercial breaks they leave with a factoid question and come back with the answer, sometimes little things that are fun to know.
In fact that's what I like about the show (so I will forgive the tendency it has, as do so many other reality shows [Top Chef, Project Runway, Iron Chef, etc.] towards repetition of moments already viewed), so many little tidbits of information. The names of the various jobs at the track, what those workers do, how dangerous things are (well that's a no-brainer when you are talking about working with an animal that large!), and the jockeys involved.
In the first episode there also seems to be an absence of snipping drama that riddles so many other reality shows. I like hearing people talk about their professions, their skills, and doing it in a professional manner. I like seeing people do their jobs. I'm sure we'll see temper tantrums, but so far only the horses have been feisty. I've found myself cheering on the riders and actually caring which horse is winning.
I can't wait for the next episode. I think I might actually learn something. I might go back to reading Dick Francis novels! And this year maybe I'll do better with my Derby pick!