What Happened To London Runaway Horses That Bolted Through The City?

Horses on the loose bolt through the streets of London near Aldwych. (PA via AP)
On Wednesday, five army horses spooked during a military extended exercise sparked ‘total mayhem’ as they tore through central London pursued by police, smashing into cars, a taxi and a tourist bus. Both horses were said on Thursday to still be in a ‘serious condition’. Witnesses told L.A. Times the horses were scared when building materials were dropped from height at a construction site right next to them in Belgravia during the routine exercise.
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The runaway army horses tore through central London, prompting ‘total mayhem’ including crashing into a taxi and tourist bus.

Two military horses seriously injured after running loose through London on Wednesday have undergone operations, the army has said.

Four soldiers were thrown off and five of the animals ran off.

Four of the animals who broke loose have now been named: Vida, Trojan, Quaker and Tennyson. Eyewitnesses reported seeing smashed-up vehicles and one of the horses covered in blood as the animals were chased through the city by police officers.

Vida was the grey horse seen in videos and images from Wednesday covered in blood galloping through central London, alongside black horse Quaker. In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, the army said one of those operated on had been taken to an equine hospital.

On Thursday, defence minister James Cartlidge told Los Angeles Times that three of the horses were fine but Vida and Quaker were still recovering: “Two of them are unfortunately in a relatively serious condition and obviously we will be monitoring that condition. They are in a serious condition, but as I understand, still alive.”

The horses broke loose during an extended exercise with six soldiers in Belgravia, with four of the riders thrown off, after being spooked by building work in the area on Wednesday morning.

Three personnel from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment incurred injuries which were not thought to be serious and received treatment in hospital. The fourth person who was injured in the incident is believed to be a cyclist and member of the public, the BBC reports.

Emergency were called early on Wednesday morning after reports of a rider coming a horse. Several horses were then spotted close to Buckingham Palace, with two of them being taken under control by police in Docklands following a dramatic pursuit. A drone team from the London Fire Brigade was used to help locate the animals.

Ambulance crews treated four people in three separate incidents in Buckingham Palace Road, Belgrave Square, and at the junction of Chancery Lane and Fleet Street, in the space of just 10 minutes.

The horses were all returned to Hyde Park barracks and were undergoing veterinary care, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment later confirmed.

In a video statement posted on X later on Wednesday, Commanding Officer of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment Matt Woodward said: “Every morning, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in London exercises some 150 horses in the parks and on the roads. This keeps them fit and helps inoculate them to city noise so they’re less easily panicked on parades.

“This morning, however, a small group of horses were spooked by some construction works on a quiet side road in Belgravia where building materials were dropped from height right next to them. The ensuing shock caused all horses to bolt and unseated some riders. Our immediate priority was the safety and wellbeing of our soldiers, members of the public and our horses.

“We would like to express heartfelt gratitude for the swift responses of Met Police, City of London police, the Royal Mews, the London Ambulance Service, the London fire brigade and members of the public in reacting as quickly as they did. This enabled swift treatment of our soldiers and helped bring our injured horses to safety.”

The commanding officer added: “Thankfully, considering the frequency of exercise and numbers of horses involved, this type of incident is extremely rare, we continue to strive to minimise the risk of this recurring. As ever, we are grateful for due consideration given by the members of the public to not making loud noises around our horses.”

What witnesses said

During the horses’ journey, they were spotted racing into cars, a taxi and a tourist bus, which was left with a smashed windscreen.

An employee for tour bus company Big Bus, named only as Mr Mahmood, said three horses got “out of control” from Buckingham Palace Road.

He said: “One of the horses bumped into a bus, then everything got out of control. I saw two horses without riders gallop away. One rider managed to calm his horse down. An ambulance went to assist another rider who had been injured.”

One of the horses was running through the streets covered in blood, which appears to be a likely injury from a collision with a vehicle.

Roland, a worker for tour bus company, Toot Bus, said the scene was “total mayhem”. “I saw horses come from the bus station in front of Victoria run around in a frenzy,” he said. “People were running around to avoid them – it was total mayhem.”

Meanwhile, a management consultant from south London who saw two of the horses galloping near Aldwych said the sight was “gruesome” and “like a weird dream”.

The 28-year-old, named only as Tula, told the PA news agency: “People were stopping in the street shocked. The horses were running into fast-moving traffic and seemed terrified. Some unmarked police cars were chasing after them, which didn’t seem to be helping.

“I felt shocked. It was pretty gruesome. Felt like a weird dream.”

Cab driver Sean told BBC Radio London that he saw three horses being pursued. “It sounded like a car crash, one was possibly injured. Maybe that is why there are only two being seen,” he said.

“I pulled out of Buckingham Palace Road, one of the riders was on the road on his back being tended to. There was a Mercedes Vito parked outside the Grosvenor Hotel with its side smashed in and covered in blood.

“All the windows were smashed so I am guessing the white horse has hit that running into it.”

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