Rabbit jumping is a growing sport that becomes increasingly popular all around Scandinavia. Rabbit jumping exist in other parts of the world as well but it is often not as big and organized as in Scandinavia. The goal is to jump cleanly over a set course within an allotted time. Rabbit jumping is perfect for you who want to spend time with your rabbit and do something fun together!
– About the Swedish Federation of Rabbit Jumping
History - About the Swedish Federation of Rabbit Jumping
Rabbit jumping as a sport started in Sweden in the late 1970’s when the first rabbit club started to have competitions in rabbit jumping. In the beginning the rules were based on the rules of horse jumping however, over time the rules have changed to better fit rabbits.
In 1986 the sport started spreading all over Sweden. Back then it was held separately in two different parts of Sweden with no contact between each other. In 1991 they met and merged the two groups as a subgroup to the Swedish rabbit breeders association. Rabbit jumping grew bigger still and could not develop as fast as needed. This lead to the formation of the organization we have today.
September 3rd 1994 the Swedish Federation of Rabbit Jumping was established. The Swedish Federation of Rabbit Jumping is nationwide. Today we have about 800 members in about 20 affiliated clubs, which are all arranging competitions in rabbit jumping. The main task of the federation is to develop the sport and make sure the competitions are fair. We also make sure there are two swedish championships held every year and an opportunity each year to educate judges for the sport. Another important thing we work with is to have a good connection and cooperation with other countries.
There are federations both in Norway (since 2002) and Finland (since 2004). Denmark, Germany, UK, and USA also arrange rabbit jumping although they don’t have any federations. Hopefully the sport will grow and get even bigger all over the world.
About rabbit jumping - Some basic rules
There are four different types of rabbit jumping; straight course, crooked course, high jump and long jump.
A crooked course is a lot like a show jumping course for horses with turns and loops while on a straight course the jumps are placed on a straight line.
The goal is, as said before, to jump cleanly through the course. For every jump knocked down you will receive one fault. There is always one judge counting the faults and one person taking the time of the race from start to finish. If the rabbit doesn’t jump straight over the jump but askew you receive one fault. The same happens if you lift the rabbit over a jump that isn’t already knocked down. If the rabbit jumps the course in the wrong order or exceeds the time limit it will be excluded and will not receive a placing. It is important that the rabbit jumps out of free will and isn’t forced. The rabbit has to be in front of the owner.
The winning rabbit is the one with fewest number of faults. If two or more rabbits have tied for the same placing the one with the shortest time will be the winner. When winning or earning a placing (the number of placings depend on the number of participants) the rabbit will gain one promotion point with which the rabbit climb in the levels. In Sweden we call it “promotion stick”. If the rabbit doesn’t receive any faults at all it will automatically receive a promotion stick.
In straight and crooked course there are four official levels; easy, medium, difficult and elite. Older rabbits can compete in the veteran level and beginners can choose to compete in the inofficial mini level. The levels differ in height and length of the jumps but also in number and technical difficulties of jumps. The height and length of the different levels are:
|Level||Maximum height||Maximum length||Number of jumps|
|mini||20 cm = 7,87||30 cm = 11,81 inches||6|
|easy||30 cm = 11,81 inches||45 cm = 17, 72 inches||8|
|medium||38 cm = 14, 96 inches||65 cm = 25,59 inches||10|
|difficult||45 cm = 17, 72 inches||80 cm = 31,15 inches||10|
|elite||50 cm = 19.96 inches||80 cm = 31,15 inches||12|
|veteran||30 cm = 11,81 inches||45 cm = 17, 72 inches||8|
Between the jumps there must be at least 250 cm = 98,43 inches.
High jump and long jump have different rules. Here the winner is the rabbit who jumps the highest or the longest. There is only one jump in high- and long jump but it is higher respectively longer than in straight- and crooked course. The rabbit can have three tries at one height/length. If two rabbits have tied for the same placing the one with the fewest amount of tries wins the competition. There are only two levels in high- and long jump; non-elite and elite. To gain a promotion stick the rabbit has to jump either 60 cm = 23,62 inches high respectively 160 cm = 62,99 inches long.
In the elite level the rabbits compete about certificates, when the rabbit has gained three certificates in a specific course it will be a champion.
One important rule in all courses is that the jumps must be constructed so that they can be knocked down in any direction without hurting the rabbit. You are not allowed to beat or kick the rabbit or to lift the rabbit only using the leach. The rabbit must be held in a harness with a leach, necklaces are not allowed as they can hurt the rabbit’s neck. And remember, only the rabbit is to jump, the human walks beside the jumps and not over them.
To be allowed to participate in a competition the person must have turned 7 years old and the rabbit must be at least 4 months old. In high- and long jump the rabbit must be 12 months old. All breeds and crossbreeds are allowed to participate, the only important thing is that the rabbit is healthy!
How to teach your rabbit to jump
Before you start teaching your rabbit to jump you must teach it how to walk in a harness. When the rabbit feels safe and brave walking in the harness you can start with low jumps (about 5 -10 cm = 2-4 inches). Put the rabbit in front of the first jump and give it some time to think. You might have to help it the first time by lifting the rabbit or by push loosely at its backside. Praise and let the rabbit walk to the next jump. When the rabbit has learned to jump – walk – jump you can add some more jumps and after a while you can increase the difficulty. Think about not to hurry and not practice too much. Otherwise the rabbit might loose interest.
You can build jumps out of things you have at home as long as the rabbit can’t get hurt when jumping it. Remember that the jumps must be constructed so that they can be knocked down in any direction without hurting the rabbit.
Most rabbits can be taught to jump but not all of them like it. You should never force a rabbit to jump.
The world record in high jump is held by a Swedish rabbit called Aysel. She has jumped 100 cm (39.37 inches). Her owner is Tarkan Sönmez.
The world record in long jump is held by a Danish rabbit, he is called Yaboo and the longest jump was measured to 3 m (9, 84 feet).
Rabbit jumping is a fun sport for both owner and rabbit. In Scandinavia it is growing and getting more popular. We wish that with this text we will inspire rabbit owners all over the world to try rabbit jumping!
You are very welcome to contact the committee for The Swedish Federation of Rabbit Jumping if you have any questions.