Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Coon Jumping

I like wacky competitions - the World Beard and Moustache Competition was my favorite. Here's a sport for donkeys and mules, sort of a reverse limbo.

I don't think I'd want my donkey Jethro to see this. It would make escape from my humble fences at home much more likely.

Coon Jumping

"Coon jumping is an event unique to Long Ears. The event originated from night time coon hunters needing to move their pack strings over fenced fields. Many fences were of wire and could not be taken down as stone or wood can. Often the hunter would remove his coat and lay it down over the wire in order to "flag it" for his animals to see, then jump his mules over the fence one by one.

Let it be pointed out here that only donkeys and mules "Coon jump." Horses do not as it is physically impossible for them.

Unlike a horse show jumper ... coon jumpers must take the obstacle from a standing start.

... all Long Ears tend to crouch down on their hind legs, raise up their forelegs, then "rocket" over the jump. Some mules even like to "rev-up" with their forefeet, dancing until their springs are wound up tight, before catapulting themselves over the jump like a cat.

Often, Long Ear heads will go up as their bodies come down on the opposite side of the bar, reaching down with their forefeet while tucking up the hind ones.

First jump is of median chest height, continually raised after every round of jumps... Animal must pause inside box BEFORE jumping (there are no running starts allowed)... Loose animals/loss of control is automatic disqualification. Refusal to jump is also grounds for disqualification."

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