Meet the showjumping rabbits

Showjumping rabbits
Snoopy, a black-and-white bunny from the German city of Jena, is the star of the local Kaninhop club – and he makes spends his days leaping over all manner of barricades, jumps and rails.
Showjumping rabbits
Snoopy can jump around 60cm high.

That rabbits like to hop is hardly a secret. But now European rabbit enthusiasts have harnessed their bunnies’ natural talents to create a new spectator sport… rabbit showjumping.

Invented in Sweden in the early Eighties, Kaninhop involves bunnies bouncing their way around courses consisting of several small jumps of varying height and length.

Showjumping rabbits
James the rabbit jumps while he is held on a leash. Trainers say restraints are vital to prevent uncontrolled breeding.

‘Snoopy can jump 60 centimeters (about 2 feet) high,’ proud Claudia Fehlen, the founder of the Jena bunny hopping club, told Der Spiegel.

‘And he has done well in tournaments. He came in second once, and third another time.’

Over the past few decades to sport has spread far from its Scandinavian homeland and clubs have now sprung up in several other European countries, the U.S., Canada and even Japan.

Rules vary from country to country, but generally the more jumps a rabbit clears the higher its score. There is also sometimes a time element to competitions.

The world height record is 99.5cm while the best distance is fully three metres, according to Swedish fan site kaninhoppning.se.

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