What is "Coon Jumping"?

Did you know that mules (a cross between a female horse and a male donkey) have a unique style of jumping. The donkey part of their breeding gives them muscular characteristics that enable them to do a jump from a standstill. 

Given that humans are competitive by nature, people began seeing whose mules were able to jump the highest and thus ''Coon Jumping'' was born! 

Coon jumping, interestingly  began on the hunting field. Coon (raccoon) hunters brought along mules as they were nimble and able to carry loads for long periods of time. During the hunt there were often jumps or fences in the way, the hunter would then throw a blanket over the fence (which was often barbed wire!) and then have the mule jump the fence from a standstill. The hunter would then climb over the fence and would then retrieve the blanket  This saves the hunter from having to find gates or more suitable crossing points thus saving a huge amount of time! :) 

Just like all jumping contests, there are rules! The mule has to come to a complete stop for at least one second after stepping inside a box drawn either 10 or 12 feet in front of the jump (it depends on the size of the mule). If the mule steps out of the box or knocks the jump, it is eliminated. It has 45 seconds or 3 attempts to make the jump. 

After all the mules in the class have jumped (or have attempted to jump) the jump is raised 2 inches. The mule clearing the highest jumps wins the class. 

The record mule jump was set in 1989 by Don Sam and Sonny in Arkansas. Sonny jumped 72 inches (about 1.80 metres!!)

Coon Jumping is quite popular throughout the Southern United States and California. There are usually no less than 10 events every weekend, all year round! It's kind of a pity Coon Jumping hasn't taken off here, but then again there isn't a huge quantity of mules in Ireland. But wouldn't it be great and pretty entertaining if something like this was held here?

1 comment:

  1. increible excelente trabajo de adiestramiento muchas felicitaciones aqui en venezuela somos amantes de los mulares