Modeled after horse show jumping, rabbit show jumping (also known as kaninhop) is a competition that involves bunnies bouncing their way around courses that consists of several small jumps of different heights.
Competitions are held mostly in Europe. The sport started in Sweden during the 1980s where a rabbit club started to arrange a rabbit jumping competition. The first national championship was in 1987 in Stockholm, Sweden. After that competition, other parts of Europe started forming rabbit jumping clubs. In the 1990s, Norway joined the bob-tailed activities and competition, and developed new clubs.
Attributes needed to become a champion of rabbit show jumping are agility, courage and determination. Breeders train their bunnies eight weeks before the show-jumping competition by walking them with a harness on and encouraging them by talking to them throughout training and during events.
The rabbits must first take part in four different rounds that include different types of barricades, rails, jumps while they are attached to a lead. Other courses also include a crooked course, straight course, a long-jump and high-jump challenge. These are divided into 5 levels – 20 cm (mini) -- 28 cm (easy) -- 35 cm (medium) -- 45 cm (difficult) and 50 cm (elite).
All rabbit breeds are allowed to compete, but competing with small or large breeds can cause problems. Small rabbits have difficulties jumping because of their size, and large rabbits will have injuries after landing from jumping high obstacles because of their weight. A perfect rabbit for competition should have long legs and a long back to help over long obstacles, also it should be strong and muscular so their high jumps will not hurt them.
The world record jump height is 99.5 cm while the best jump distance is 3 meters.
Although rabbit show jumping competitions have already become a popular event, animal rights activists have disapproved of the use of leashes in Kaninhop competitions.
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