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...
Invented in Sweden in the early Eighties, Kaninhop involves bunnies bouncing
their way around courses consisting of several small jumps of varying height and
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.
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
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.
On the hop: Snoopy is the star of the Jena Kaninhop club
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
Now there are 13 members who gather once a week in the eastern German city to
train their animals.
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
Spring in his step: James easily clears another jump while training with his
Jena- based Kaninhop club