Biosecurity helps Olympic champ Virgil completes his quarantine at PEQ

11 September 2021

Video and photos of Virgil in quarantine:

  • Virgil was part of the silver-medal winning Team Eventing squad at the Tokyo Olympics.
  • Similar to our returning Olympic athletes, Virgil had to undergo 14 days in quarantine at the Post Entry Quarantine Facility in Melbourne.

Virgil, the 16-year-old warmblood gelding and member of Australia’s medal-winning equestrian eventing team at the Tokyo Olympics, has completed his mandatory14-day quarantine at the Post Entry Quarantine Facility in Melbourne. 

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud congratulated Virgil and rider Shane Rose, who completed Tokyo’s Sea Forest Cross Country Course clear and under time, assisting Australia’s Olympic squad of Andrew Hoy and Kevin McNab to claim silver in the Team Eventing. 

“Most of Australia’s Olympic horses will not be returning to Australia, as they’re based in Europe or USA fulltime so they can participate in other oversea competitions,” Minister Littleproud said. 

“Following his Olympic performance, Virgil spent a mandatory 14 days in pre-export quarantine in Germany. 

“He then underwent quarantine and testing for diseases that are of biosecurity concern to Australia in the Australian Government’s post-entry quarantine facility at Mickleham. 

“Virgil was tested for horse diseases that do not exist in Australia, including equine influenza, equine piroplasmosis and contagious equine metritis before he clears quarantine. 

“Now that he has the all clear he’ll be able to head to Shane’s base at Bimbadeen Park in NSW for a well-earned rest, before gearing up for next year’s World Championships in Italy.

“What a dynamic duo this pair are! It was Shane’s third Olympics but Virgil’s first. He’s been Shane’s long-time mount including at the World Equestrian Games.

“Everyone in the team rode well, but a special shout out must also go to Andrew Hoy, who also took bronze in Individual Eventing. Tokyo was Andrew’s eighth Olympics. He is one of only 13 people over 125 years of Olympic history to achieve this feat.”

Virgil’s Owner, Shane Rose said he had Virgil since he was a youngster, so to have been with him from the start, right through to an Olympic silver medal was very rewarding. 

“I always believed he was a world-class horse, so it was very pleasing to put it all together in Tokyo,” Mr Rose said. 

“Virgil had a fantastic preparation. Everything went to plan. We’ve had travelling issues with Virgil in the past. 

“For this trip we had a very specific diet and exercise plan and it worked well.  Virgil arrived in Tokyo feeling fit and strong which allowed him to perform at his best.” 

Shane also backed the Minister’s comments on the importance of quarantine. 

“We are so lucky in Australia to be free of diseases that can be found around the world, such as equine influenza and equine herpes,” Mr Rose said.

“The quarantine process in place is vital to keep Australia and our animals safe. The quarantine staff are experts in their field and we trusted them fully to care for Virgil while he undertook quarantine requirements.” 

All horses entering Australia are required to undergo strict quarantine measures to protect Australia’s equine and agricultural industries from pests and disease. You can find out more about Australia’s horse import conditions here 

Fast Facts:

  • Rose started in the sport at five at the Forest Hills Pony Club in NSW. At 21, he made his international debut when he competed with horse Mr Joe Cool at the Young Riders Trans-Tasman competition in 1994.
  • Rose was a member of the Australian Olympic Team that competed at Rio in 2016. He rode CP Qualified and alongside Stuart Tinney, Sam Griffiths and Chris Burton, took home bronze in the Team Event.
  • Rose was selected to represent Australia in Eventing at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta at 23. However, his horse went lame upon arrival in the USA and he was unable to compete with the team that went on to win gold.