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 Waukesha County Rabbit Hopping

Judging, Timer, Gate Keeper, Score Keeper , Rules and Guidelines

By Donna Towell

Waukesha County Rabbit Hopping Key Leader
The ideal run that a judge will want to see is when the handler and rabbit work as a

team. The rabbit will freely run the course without any encouragement from the
handler. A clean run is one without any corrections or faults in the fastest time. Each

 team will run the course 2 times and both scores of faults, corrections and time will

 be added together. The winner will be determined by which team has the least

amount of faults in the fastest time. There is a 2 minute time limit for each run. The

 handler should be keeping pace along side the rabbit off the course and not

walking over any of the jumps


1. There are 2 judges to each course.

2. Each judge will watch 4 jump and spaces in between.

3. Each judge will get one score card for each team ( A team is one rabbit and handler)

4. The judge will mark the name of the course, run number, handler number, run time, number of faults, number of corrections, also if disqualified on each score sheet.

5. Each judge will count how many rails and posts fall down. ( FAULTS)
a. One fault for every rail that is knocked down

b. One fault for each post and rail that is knocked down example: On   a 3 rail jump, all 3 rails fall and one post, that is counted as 4 faults. 
c. One faults when ever the rabbit is picked up off the ground or lifted over the rails.

d. One fault when the handler’s hand goes below the 24 inch mark on the lead ( measured 24 inches up the lead from the clip)
e. One fault if the rabbit misses the jump or Misaligned its jump and goes over or around the posts and not the rails.
f. One fault for every 15 second over the time limit up to 3 minutes. Time limit is 2 minutes. 
g. One fault if the rabbit is slid or pushed along the ground more than one foot. Measure starting point from tail. If slid or pushed more than a foot that is counted as 2 faults. (Rabbits feet still on the ground)
h. The first and last jumps are free jumps. No faults are counted if rails or posts fall. If any corrections are done in the space after the first jump and before the last jump they are counted.
I. The rabbit is allowed to be lifted over the first and last jumps without being counted as a fault or correction (first and last jumps only)


6. Judge will  watch for disqualifications and a warning will be given once before disqualifying.
a. Warn handler for improper handling the rabbit.
b. Lifting the rabbit by the lead
c. Kicking or using their feet to advance the rabbit
d. Handler is not available at the start
e. Handler does not place the rabbit where it naturally would have landed after lifting it out of a fallen jump or over the jump
f. Bad sportsmanship obvious heckling or name calling to other contestant
g. Obvious neglect and mistreatment of a rabbit

h. A handler has repeatedly had a loose rabbit on the course while others are hopping.
 i. Excessive tugging from the rabbit on the lead.

7. Judge will disqualify a team immediately from any run if
 a..The rabbit turns around and runs back over its last jump. Runs the wrong way. (first and last jumps don’t count)
b. Overrun the maximum time limit. 3 minutes
c. Repeated false starts in the same course.

d. Rabbit leaves the competition area( usually past the seated judges)

e. Handler looses the lead as the rabbit is hopping over the jump or on the course.

f. Negligent treatment of the rabbit.
g. Kick, hit the rabbit, drop throw or hit the rabbit with the lead. (In anger).
h. Handler walks over the jump.

8. Judge will count CORRECTIONS 
a. It takes 3 corrections to count as one fault

b. If the team only has 2 correction then those two corrections are dropped.If they have 5 corrections then one fault is scored and the other 2 corrections are dropped.

c. A correction is any time you need to correct or encourage your rabbit to advance or change direction.
           1. Bending forward towards your rabbit
           2. Tickling or tapping the rabbit
           3. Stepping behind the rabbit on the course
d. Example 1: If the rabbit is between jumps 3 & 4 and the handler bends forward then stands up and bends forward again that is counted as two corrections. If there is an added touch then it is counted as the third correction. The 3 corrections are then counted as one fault. 

e. Example 2: If the handler bends over and touches the rabbit right away that is one correction. As long as the handler is still bent over they can touch the rabbit up to 3 times and only have it counted as one correction. If they stand up and then go down again another correction is added on.
d. Excessive touching and tapping the rabbit will be a judges choice to add on a correction.

9. Acceptable Actions
a. Quiet vocal noises like clucking ( If too loud could be counted as a correction)
b. Snapping of fingers ( If too loud could be counted as a correction)
c. Clicking (If too loud could be counted as a correction)
d. Treat given only at the end of course
e. Handler can move back and forth from one side of course between the jumps but can not walk over jumps.

f. If a rabbit turns around and tries to go back over the jump but the handler stops them, it would be considered a correction unless the rabbits feet leave the ground or is slid one foot or more, then it is counted as a fault. 
g. If the judge has any rule questions they need to call for the director of the event.



1. There are two timers for each course.

2. One timer is the Official Timer and the other is the Back Up Timer.

3. Each Timer sits next to the judge.

4. One set of Judges and Timers are positioned on the side of jumps 1-4 and the second set of judges are positioned on the opposite side of the course on the side of jumps 5-8

5. Both timers start and end their watches together and record their times on the Judges sheet that they are sitting next to. The score keeper will only use the Official Timers numbers unless an error is made and then the Back Up time will be used.

6. Reason for errors
    a. timer not paying attention
    b. watch not working 
    c. missed start or stop

7. Timers need to pay attention to the Gate Keeper who is instructing the handler and rabbit to begin.

8. Timer will tell the Judge what the stop watch reads. The Judge will write on the score sheet all numbers on the stop watch.

9. Timers should be senior 4-H member or an adult

 Runners and Rail Setters


1. Runners are the people that take the judges score card to the score keeper’s table after each run.

2. Runners sit next to the judge.

3. Runners can be of any age. Cloverbud and up.

4. Runners need to walk around the course and never across it.

5. They deliver the score card and come right back to their seats ready for the next score card.

Rail Setters

1. The rail setter will help replace the torn down rails after the course in completed and only when the judge lets them know they have completed their score card.

2. The Rail Setter can be any age, Cloverbud and up.

3. Rail setters need to replace the rails in the same order and number as first set up.

4. Rail setters and Runners need to stay back with the judge and timer at all times during each run.


Gate Keeper


1. The Gate Keeper is the person that will call each team up before their run.

2. .The Gate Keeper will check the rabbit’s right ear for the team number (marked with
sharpie Marker) and that the handler has the same team number pinned to the front of
their shirt. The judges will only write down the team number on the score card.
No names.

3. The Gate Keeper keeps the pace of the event.

4. They make sure that all judges and timers are paying attention before they have the
team start their run.

5. While the run is going on the Gate Keeper is staging the next team by checking them
in and giving them any instructions.

6. The Gate Keeper will also ask each team which end of the run they want to start from.
If the team chooses the other side then the Gate Keeper and the team move to the other
side and the run is started from that side. Nothing changes for the judges and timers.

7. If the judge has a question on any ruling the Gate Keeper should call the director.

8. Gate Keeper checks to make sure that the team’s lead is marked 24 inches from the
clip and that the team is using the “H” style harness and 6 foot lead.

9. The gate keeper will announce to the judges and timers which run, and the number
given the team so that the judges can mark their score cards.

Score Keeper

1. The score keeper will calculate all the score cards when they are turned into the score

2. It is recommended to have a Score Keeper Assistant.

3. The assistant will receive the score card from the runner and place the name of the
person and rabbit in the card. She will then staple the two cards from each judge
together and hand it to the score keeper.

4. The Score Keeper will then count how many corrections and faults on each card and
total them together. They will also make the correct adjustments for 3 corrections
equaling l one fault. Example if there are 5 corrections and 2 faults for the combined
score cards, then the correct final score will read 3 faults. (The 2 corrections are

5. The Score Keeper will then write down each run’s faults and time on the Master Sheet.

6. The faults are totaled together for runs 1 and 2.

7. The times are totaled together for runs 1 and 2

8. Placements are determined by the least amount of faults then the fastest time.
Example: if you have two teams with no faults in both runs then you go with the fastest

9. For every run that the team scores “0” faults they will earn a point. When the team
earns 2 points they can advance the next year to the next level course. It must be the
same rabbit and person team when advancing. If there is a new rabbit the next year
that team will go back to the Easy course level

10. The director keeps all Master Sheets because “0” faults can accumulate from year to year
Example: If the team earns one point in 2009 and then another one in 2010 that team will advance to the next level in 2011 or if they earned a point in 2008. The team needs to be the same rabbit from year to year to earn points for advancement. They can also advance if they earn both points in one year.

11 .Placement ribbons are given out using the Danish system.


Courses, Classes and Rules as Printed In Fair Book

Rabbit Hopping Rules - Show Date & Time TBA

1. Rabbit does not need to be pedigreed and can be a mixed breed.
2. All rabbits must be at least 5 months of age to compete.
3. Sick rabbits will not be allowed to compete or practice at meetings.
4. All rabbit breeds are welcomed but larger breeds are not recommended for the safety of the rabbit.
5. Handlers may only enter 2 rabbits per class.
6. Handlers are responsible for the training of their rabbit.
7. Any mistreatment of a rabbit will not be tolerated.
8. All rabbits must use the “H” style harness with clips or buckles and hook in the back. You will also need a 6’ lead.
9. The rabbit and handler are considered a team. You may not hand your rabbit over to anyone else during competition to compete in other events.
10. The rabbit must never be left unattended in the competition area.
11. A handler and rabbit may not advance to the next required class division until all necessary points are earned from previous course.



Class T Straight Line Course(Grades 6 & below)
Entry No.
1. Easy Class
2. Medium Class
3. Difficult Class


Class U Straight Line Course(Grades 7 & above)
4. Easy Class
5. Medium Class
6. Difficult Class


Class V Crooked Course
7. Easy Class
8. Medium Class
9. Difficult Class


Class W Team Relay Races
*Must have 3 handlers and rabbits to be a team.
*Every handler must have their own rabbit.
10. Easy Class
11. Medium Class
12. Difficult Class