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Amazing Bunny Hopping Races E-mail
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Last Updated ( Saturday, 07 May 2011 )
 
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Now THAT'S a bunny hop: Rabbit dressage set to take the world by storm

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.

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.

Amazing Bunny Hopping Races

Buggin' out: Snoopy the show jumping rabbit can jump around 60cm high

'Snoopy can jump 60 centimeters (about 2 feet) high,' proud Claudia Fehlen, the 23-year-old 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.

Amazing Bunny Hopping Races

On the hop: Snoopy is the star of the Jena Kaninhop club

Amazing Bunny Hopping Races

Oops! Bunnies are scored by the number of jump they can successfully clear, and there is often a time element to competition

As well as the dressage-style courses, there are also long-jump and high-jump challenges. The world height record is 99.5cm while the best distance is fully three metres, according to Swedish fan site kaninhoppning.se.

Miss Fehlen discovered the sport on the internet about five years ago. She practiced with her pet rabbits in her back garden before starting the Jena club in 2009.

Now there are 13 members who gather once a week in the eastern German city to train their animals.

Amazing Bunny Hopping Races

Mad as a March hare: James the rabbit jumps while he is held on a leash. Trainers say restraints are vital to prevent uncontrolled breeding

Amazing Bunny Hopping Races

Spring in his step: James easily clears another jump while training with his Jena- based Kaninhop club


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