The first Australian competitors in equestrian were in the three-day event of the 1956 Olympics, which were held in Stockholm instead of Melbourne due to the strict Australian quarantine requirements for horses. The first Australian medals were won in the three-day event in Rome in 1960 with Laurie Morgan and Neale Lavis winning the gold and silver medals respectively in the individual contest and then being joined by an injured Bill Roycroft to win the team event.
Bronze medals in the three-day team event followed in Mexico City in 1968 and Montreal in 1976. Barcelona 1992 saw Matt Ryan win the individual gold medal in the three-day event and combine with Andrew Hoy and Gillian Rolton to win the team competition. Australia's three-day eventing team won again in Atlanta in 1996 (Hoy, Rolton, Wendy Schaeffer, Andrew Hoy, Phillip Dutton) and in Sydney in 2000 (Ryan, Hoy, Dutton, Stuart Tinney). Hoy also won the silver medal in the individual event in Sydney. In Beijing 2008, the eventing team (Clayton Fredericks, Lucinda Fredericks, Sonja Johnson, Megan Jones, Shane Rose) took home silver. After an eight year hiatus from Olympic competition, Hoy sparked a magic return to form to qualify for the London Olympics where the team finished sixth. Hoy carried the flag in the Opening Ceremony in Atlanta and was also selected in the equestrian squad for Moscow 1980 but the sport was withdrawn from the Australian team that eventually competed in the Olympics.
The Roycroft family has also been prominent in Olympic equestrian. Bill Roycroft competed in five Olympics and three of his sons, Wayne, Barry and Clarke, and Wayne’s wife Vicki, are all Olympians. Bill carried the Australian Flag in the Opening Ceremony in Mexico City and Wayne did likewise in Los Angeles in 1984.
Australia has not won a medal in Olympic jumping nor dressage events with the best performance being a fourth by Thomas Fahey in the grand prix jumping in Tokyo in 1964. Demonstrating how tough the London 2012 jumping competition was, Edwina Tops-Alexander, the highest ranked female jumper in the world, finished 20th after a small error in the first round of the final.