Picture a showjumper and an athletic equine specimen springs to mind — something with good scope and an honest temperament.
And then there’s a different type of showjumper — those whose legs are considerably shorter, whose ears are floppier and whose tails are fluffier. Meet the showjumping rabbits springing into action.
Watch showjumping rabbits in action
How did it all start?
The sport of Kaninhop originated in Sweden in the late 1970s — and in 1994 the Swedish Federation of Rabbit Jumping was established. But the sport is now practised in a number of countries around the world.
How does it work?
Rabbits are led over the jumps by their owner or trainer at the end of a long lead.
There are four different types of rabbit jumping; straight course, crooked course, high jump and long jump. On a straight course the jumps are on a straight line, while a crooked course is similar to equestrian showjumping with turns and loops.
And with high jump and long jump, the winner is the rabbit who jumps the highest or the longest.
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What are the benefits?
A spell out of the hatch showjumping is said to improve a rabbit’s mental and physical stimulation and also to be an effective way to improve fitness — although of course not all rabbits will be suited to it.
How do you train a rabbit to showjump?
A rabbit needs to be comfortable walking in a harness before it can start tackling jumps. And according to the Swedish Federation of Rabbit Jumping, you might have to help it over the fence the first time by lifting it or loosely pushing at its backside. Gradually you can increase the number of jumps and the difficulty.
What are the world records?
A Swedish rabbit called Aysel, owned by Tarkan Sönmez, holds the world record in high jump. She has jumped 100 cm.
The world record in long jump, measuring at 3m, is held by a Danish rabbit called Yaboo.