A 23-year-old Missouri Mule named Radar set a new arena record at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo during the annual “coon jumpin” contest last month.
Here’s the video:
I know, your brain is exploding right now.
So, what exactly IS “coon jumping”? The best explanation the Internet has to offer comes from Cedar Creek Farm, “Home of Champion Miniature Donkeys”:
Coon jumping is a class named after the practice of jumping mules over fences during a hunt for raccoons with the dogs. During the hunt, there were often fences in the way of the chase. The rider would dismount and place a blanket over the fence (which was often barbed wire) and then have the mule jump the fence from a standstill. In the National Miniature Donkey Association coon jumping class, the donkey has to come to a complete stop after stepping inside of a box drawn 10 feet in front of the jump. The handler can put a towel or blanket over the jump if he/she chooses to do so. After coming to a stop, the donkey can move around inside of the box before jumping but if it steps outside the box, or knocks down the jump, it is eliminated. It has 45 seconds or 3 attempts to make the jump. After all the donkeys in the class jump (or have attempted to jump) the bar is raised in 2-3 inch increments. The donkey clearing the highest jump wins the class.
The athleticism and jumping ability of mules is well-documented–a quick Google search turns up reports of mules jumping 72 inches (that’s six feet) and even higher. They’ve been used in dressage, show-jumping, foxhunting and eventing and mule fans swear by their heart and sturdiness. I’ll add my own endorsement to the list: I once had someone send me a mule for jump training and, in a few months time, it was doing 3’6″ in a grid with ease!
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