Professional rabbit jumpers have been practising their hops ahead of the Small Animal Show in Harrogate this weekend.
Champion rabbits from Sweden will be showcasing their speed and agility at the Great Yorkshire Showground on on January 24 and 25.
Richard Rockett, marketing manager at Burgess Pet Care, said: “We are delighted to be bringing the rabbit jumpers to the Small Animal Show this year. Popularity has grown since they first arrived on British soil in 2011, and this year’s Grand National of the rabbit world promises to be better than ever.”
Erika Patterson put her rabbit Fjadra through its paces, jumping over hurdles and hopping through the course.
She said: “They love it, rabbits love jumping.
“In Sweden its a normal thing, little girls always train their rabbits to hop and jump over obstacles.
“All they need is practice and the get better, they are quite smart and intelligent animals, but Fjadra is a special kind of rabbit.”
Burgess Pet Care’s veterinary spokesperson, Matthew Brash said: “This just shows how much exercise rabbits love to do and need to do.
“There are one and a half million rabbits in the UK, many of them stuck in hutches in the bottom of the garden.
“They are happier getting exercise and playing with things.”
More than 3,000 small animals are expected to attend the show, with the rabbit jumping tipped as a ‘must see event’.
The unusual sport started in Sweden in the early 1970s and has since spread to Germany, Norway, Finland, Australia and the USA.
Karin Molin, professional rabbit jumping trainer, said: “My rabbit Micro loves the events and has had several high placements from championships in Sweden and did very well in England this year.
“His record in high jumping currently stands at 85cm high, we hope to beat it in Harrogate this year!”
The show is sponsored by Burgess Pet Care and will host willow ball making classes for children, educational talks on how to best care for your small furry pets and demonstrations.
Tickets cost £8 for adults, £3 for children, £5 for concessions. See www.smallanimalshow.co.uk for more information.
Full video of the rabbits in action to follow.