Lesson One

The Rabbit

The most important part of learning rabbit hopping is well, the rabbit of course! In this lesson, we will go over the basic requirements for a rabbit to be able to compete, as well as some basics on what to look for in a hopping rabbit.

 

Rabbit Overview

Requirements

Here are a few basic rules and requirements that every rabbit has to meet in order to compete.

  • Any breed of Domestic rabbits can be used for the sport of rabbit hopping and agility.

  • Any mix breed is accepted 

  • Rabbits do not need a pedigree to compete

  • Rabbits do need a legible tattoo in the left ear

  • Rabbits must be 4 months of age or older

  • Rabbits can be spayed/neutered

  • Rabbits cannot be pregnant (does that have had a litter should have at least six months off before competing again) 

  • Rabbits must be able to see, and move properly (blindness, missing limbs, twisted or mangled limbs, etc are not accepted in competition) *rabbits that are missing a tail or missing portions of their ears or whole ears are allowed as long as either does not cause pain or discomfort while hopping* 

  • Rabbits need to be healthy and free of disease and parasites

  • Rabbits should have bright eyes, healthy coat, and be of a healthy weight (underweight or severely overweight rabbits are not allowed to compete)

  • Rabbits must pass the ARBA health inspection (which includes many of the points above)

Here are a few things that I always look for in my potential hopping rabbits. 

 

  • Athletic Build- All rabbits are natural athletes, but when I'm looking for a new hopper I want something that will perform. If a rabbit is a compact breed (Holland Lop, Netherland Dwarf, Mini Rex, etc) then I will look for a longer legged, long bodied rabbit. If I'm looking at a Full Arch Breed (Britannia Petite, English Spot) then I'm looking for a nice round arch, nice long leg, good bone (thickness and shape of the limbs). These physical traits are good indicators of an athletic rabbit.

  • Good personality- Personality is very important when looking for a new hopper. I personally love a rabbit that shines with personality, especially ones that are mischievous and quirky. But most of all, I'm looking for a rabbit that really enjoys hopping.

  • Trainability- Many people looking for a new hopper don't often think "is this rabbit trainable". It's a concept that most people overlook, but one that I find very important. I'm looking for a rabbit that not only is athletic, and has a good personality, but also one that is trainable and likes to work. Some rabbits just absolutely love to work, they love to run on the harness and you can tell they generally enjoy hopping and its aspects. These are the rabbits that will perform the best! 

What I Look For

Things to Keep in Mind

Here is a list of some things to keep in mind when selecting a rabbit, training, and hopping rabbits in general.

  • Rabbits are individuals - just because a rabbit is of a popular hopping breed, does not mean it will be a good hopper. 

 

  • A "hyper" rabbit does not mean "active"- rabbits that tend to run around a lot, especially bolting behavior, does not mean that the rabbit is active. Rabbits that bolt or run away while on the harness may not be a good hopper. Often this behavior is caused by fear or even aggression. I will be talking more about this particular topic later on and in our Zoom sessions.

  • Rabbits learn at different paces- just because some rabbits learn very quickly, and others do not, does not automatically mean the slower rabbit is not a good hopper. Some of my best hoppers were slow learners and needed to train at a different pace than other rabbits. Don't rush them!

  • Rabbits do burnout- rabbits burn out, just like us! We don't really get excited about running a race if we have been running races every day for a month right? Rabbits are the same. Some rabbits need longer or shorter breaks between training sessions to rest and recover. They are very athletic animals by nature, but they have a limit. If you push a rabbit and train too often, sometimes the rabbit decides that is doesn't want to hop anymore. This has even happened with some of my own rabbits, and I have seen it happen too often. 

  • Not all rabbits enjoy competition- some rabbits, like people, hate competition. Traveling and competing can be very stressful for rabbits, and sometimes hoppers just don't enjoy the competitive life. And that is okay! Fortunately, some rabbits thrive on competition and do well in that environment. 

Notes & Zoom Session

Now that you know some basics, we will be going over this and more during this week's Zoom session.

If you have any specific questions or things you would like to see discussed during the Zoom session please email them to trh.hopping@gmail.com 

The Zoom Link: 

Extra Reading & Content:

I also invite you to read this Happy Hopper's Blog Post about Selecting a Hopper (Q&A)   https://www.trhhopping.com/post/how-to-select-a-hopper-q-a 

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