Rabbit show jumping
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Rabbit jumping started in Sweden early in the 1500s, when the first rabbit club started to arrange rabbit jumping competitions. At that time, the rules were based on the rules from horse jumping, but were later reformed to be better suited for rabbits. In 1987, the first national championship for "straight line easy course" was held in Stockholm, Sweden. The sport grew throughout Sweden and several rabbit jumping clubs were formed to support the growing interest. In the early 1990s, Norway joined in with rabbit jumping activities, developing new clubs and joining Sweden in rabbit jumping competitions. The Swedish Federation of Rabbit Jumping (SKHRF) was established September 3, 1994. Rabbit show jumping became popular in all parts of Sweden.
Germany joined the other countries in starting their own rabbit hopping club in 2000. Organizations were established in Norway (2002) and Finland (2004). Training and participation with translations for a new set of rabbit hopping rules came from the judges committee in Denmark.
2001 brought forth the Rabbit Hopping Organization of America. The rules and guidelines for rabbit hopping were established for all Americans with the help of the judges committee in Denmark and with personal assistance from hopping judge Aase Bjerner.
The American Hopping Association for Rabbits and Cavies (AHARC) was chartered with the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 2013. The rules and guidelines for this association were molded after R.H.O.A. and Denmark. The AHARC held the very first official national competition in the United States during the 2011 ARBA Convention in Indianapolis, IN. The performance competition for rabbits during 2013 ARBA convention in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was a Mid Atlantic Rabbit and Cavy event. AHARC will have the first national performance event for cavies during the 2014 ARBA TX convention.
2013 saw the beginnings of The Rabbit Hopping Society Of Australia also with the assistance of Aase and Rasmus Bjerner.
In 2015 Freya Pocock Johansson founded Rabbit Hopping New Zealand.
The Guinness Book of World Records makes note of the world record for the highest rabbit jump which is 99.5 cm (39.2 in), which was achieved by Mimrelunds Tösen (The Lassie of Quivering Grove) who was owned by Tine Hygom (Denmark) in Herning, Denmark on 28 June 1997.
However, June 13, 2013 this record was beaten by Snöflingans (Super Champion) Majesty of Night "Aysel", owned by Tarkan Sönmez (Sweden) at 100 cm (39.4 in). A video of this can be found on YouTube. 
The record for longest jump is 3m (118.1 in), held by Yaboo (owner: Maria B Jensen, Denmark)and was set on June 10, 1999. 
Official rabbit hopping competitions consist of a straight course, a crooked course, high jump and long jump. Straight and crooked courses are divided into 5 levels. Mini: 20 cm Easy: 28 cm Medium: 35 cm Difficult: 45 cm Elite: 50 cm
The mini course is just an introductory course. In order to progress from easy to medium, etc. a rabbit has to earn promotion points. Rabbits are placed according to the number of faults they have (such as knocking a rail down) time only comes into play if 2 placing rabbits have tied for the same placing.
A rabbit has 2 minutes to complete the course, if the time runs out before the course is completed, the rabbit is disqualified.
All breeds are allowed to compete; however, there may be problems with smaller and larger breeds. (Rabbit size is usually determined by weight: small rabbits are considered under 2 kilo/4.4 lbs and giant over 5 kilos / 11 lbs) Small rabbits, such as the Polish and Netherland dwarf sometimes have problems jumping over long obstacles due to their size. However, there are examples of small rabbits that still made it to the highest Scandinavian classes. Smaller rabbits can overcome weaknesses through style and will.
Larger rabbits such as the Flemish Giant and French Lop will put a lot of weight on their front legs in the landing while jumping high over higher obstacles, which may cause injury. Generally, long-haired Angora type breeds, if not clipped, are excluded from competing because of the difficulties their coats cause with agility and vision. Neither English Lop should be entered as they risk injury to their ears.
The ideal jumping rabbit has long legs and a long back, which will help it see over longer obstacles and correctly judge the height or length in order to get over. In the case of with slender bone, such as the Belgian Hare, the legs should be strong and muscular so high jumps will not hurt them. In Scandinavia, where rabbit show jumping has a strong base, most are crossbreeds, bred with good jumpers as parents, similar to the method of breeding show dogs.
- Page 132 in: Williams, Victoria (2015). Weird sports and wacky games around the world: from Buzkashi to Zorbing. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood. ISBN 9781610696395. LCCN 2014040274. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
- Ironside, Robyn (3 April 2015). "World's best bunny places: Rabbit-themed attractions around the world". The Daily Telegraph (Australia). Retrieved 1 April 2016.
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