Olympic champ finishes 28-day quarantine

Olympic rider Shane Rose says his horse Virgil can rest at home in NSW, after weeks in quarantine.
Olympic rider Shane Rose says his horse Virgil can rest at home in NSW, after weeks in quarantine.

One of Australia's four-legged Olympic medallists is due for a well-deserved spell after completing nearly a month of strict quarantine.

Virgil, a 16-year-old warmblood gelding, was part of the green and gold's silver-medal winning team eventing squad at the Tokyo Olympics.

But due to biosecurity precautions Virgil had to spend 14 days in quarantine in Germany and then Melbourne after its Olympics performance.

Virgil's owner Shane Rose said the strict quarantine measures were key to protecting Australia from pests and diseases like equine influenza and equine herpes.

"The quarantine process in place is vital to keep Australia and our animals safe," Mr Rose said.

"The quarantine staff are experts in their field and we trusted them fully to care for Virgil while he undertook quarantine requirements."

Mr Rose, then 23, was unable to compete for Australia's gold medal-winning team eventing squad at the Atlanta Olympics back in 1996 after his horse pulled up lame on arrival to the United States.

But he took home bronze in the same event at the Rio Olympics in 2016 before helping Andrew Hoy and Kevin McNab claim silver at Tokyo.

And Mr Rose said the achievement was made sweeter by the fact he had been with Virgil since the horse was a youngster.

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

"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."

Virgil will now head to Mr Rose's base at Bimbabeen Park in NSW for a rest before gearing up for the World Championships in Italy next year.

"What a dynamic duo this pair are," Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said of Mr Rose and his 16-year-old horse.

Australian Associated Press