This Wikipedia article on the 1956 Summer Olympics says

Although Melbourne was awarded the 1956 Olympic Games, Australia had a strict six-month pre-shipment quarantine on horses. A meeting in 1953 by Australian federal authorities ruled that they would not change the quarantine laws for the Olympic horses. Therefore, the equestrian competition would not be able to be held in Australia.

The 1956 equestrian events were held in Stockholm. I have a bunch of encyclopedias, but none of them describes anything similar from Sydney. Logically, 2000 equestrian had to be shifted somewhere as well. Why was a similar problem not identified in that year?

  • 1
    Why do you believe the answer is anything more than the obvious "Australia changed the regulations sometime in the intervening 44 years"?
    – Philip Kendall
    Oct 14, 2023 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


It seems pretty obvious that they would have changed the law. And they actually did. According to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry:

Horses that meet Australia's strict import conditions can be imported into Australia from approved countries. A valid import permit is required, and all import conditions must be met before horses are eligible for import into Australia.

Pre-export quarantine takes place immediately prior to export and involves:

  1. 14 days isolation from other horses not of equivalent health status (or 21 days isolation for horses from the United Arab Emirates)
  2. monitoring for signs of illness
  3. testing for diseases of biosecurity concern (with acceptable results)
  4. oversight and certification from an official government veterinarian in the exporting country.

On a personal note, in no way Australia would have been eligible for the Olympics if they still had that old law. And pretty sure the olympic commitee had checked stuff like that even before the country would file their application.

As we can read from this NY Times article, logistic has been a nightmare:

Between Sunday and Thursday, 266 horses from 35 countries are to board planes in Frankfurt, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles and London's Stansted Airport.

The flights mark the culmination of a logistical nightmare of quarantine and paperwork caused by Australia's animal import rules, the toughest on the planet.

Every horse going to Sydney has been at a pre-quarantine stable for 14 days and has a lengthy certificate detailing its exact whereabouts for the 46 days before that. Because Australia will only allow horses coming from Europe, North America, Japan and New Zealand to enter the country, horses from other places have to have stayed in one of the approved countries for still another 46 days.

The last update of this law was 2008/2010 but I can't find the year of this one as quoted here, and still running.

  • So tl;dr: there were problems, just smaller problems.
    – Philip Kendall
    Oct 16, 2023 at 9:10
  • @PhilipKendall : 1956 : 180 days. 2000 : 46+14 = 60 days. I would say "smaller problems by 2 thirds" :D
    – OldPadawan
    Oct 16, 2023 at 11:39

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