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Blood-soaked UK military horse that stampeded through London needed emergency surgery and may never return to service

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Two of the five military horses that bolted through central London after being startled during an exercise were seriously injured and may never return to service, the British Army has confirmed.

Defense Procurement Minister James Cartlidge said two of the Household Cavalry horses, Vida and Quaker, that went on the six-mile rampage through the heart of the UK capital were in “serious condition” on Thursday, with army bosses stating it is “too early to know” if they will ever return to active duty.

Asked if they were likely to survive, Cartlidge said: “I wouldn’t want to speculate on that. Unfortunately they are in a serious condition.”

There were no serious injuries to members of the military or public during Wednesday’s ordeal, he said.

“Of the seven horses which were spooked, five tried to bolt and four — Vida, Trojan, Quaker and Tennyson — broke loose,” an army spokesperson said in a statement on X.

“Two of the injured horses were operated on last night, with one transferred to an equine hospital. All remaining horses are being closely observed.

“Our horses receive the highest standards of care, and those that did not undergo surgery are expected to return to duty in due course.

“We want to thank everyone who has shown such kindness and concern towards our soldiers and horses. We will provide more updates soon.”

A number of horses, including one soaked in blood, ran amok through London Wednesday. Paul Grover/Shutterstock
Two of the horses were spotted tearing through London’s busy streets after tossing their riders and breaking free. AP

According to the Army spokesman, “Vida was the most visibly injured” of the horses.

“The pictures of the horse running through London soaked in blood were horrifying. Vida was operated on overnight and is currently in stables at the Hyde Park Barracks under observation,” the spokesman said.

“The blood seen on Vida (the grey horse) was consistent with lacerations.”

Quaker, a black stallion, was also operated on overnight before being moved to an equine hospital in the early hours for further treatment.

“The extent of the injuries is not completely clear but we don’t believe at this stage there are any broken bones,” the spokesman added.

Cartlidge also told LBC: “Five horses have been recovered to the Army. Three of those are fine, but unfortunately two of them are in quite a serious condition, and we’ll be continuing to monitor that.”

A leading equine charity, the Horse Trust, has offered to rescue the animals if they are unable to return to military duty.

The runaways, which were wearing saddles and bridles, reportedly got spooked by nearby construction noise during an exercise in Belgravia and threw their riders before charging through the busy streets around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Wild footage posted on social media showed one of the horses galloping past Buckingham Palace.

At least two others, including a white horse covered in blood, could be seen tearing through other busy areas of the city, including Tower Bridge and the Strand.

The rogue Household Cavalry horses, which were wearing saddles and bridles, were spotted charging through the heart of the UK capital, injuring at least five people. AP
News Licensing / MEGA

The horse injured itself crashing into the windshield of a silver Mercedes-Benz minivan, the vehicle’s owner told LBC News. Another one ran into a double-decker tour bus, which was seen with a smashed windshield.

“We are aware of a number of horses that are currently loose in central London and are working with colleagues, including the Army, to locate them,” London’s Metropolitan Police initially said on X.

The three cavalry officers who were injured in the incident are all expected to “recovery fully and return to duty,” a Ministry of Defense spokesman said Thursday. A fourth person — believed to be a cyclist — also sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

There were no serious injuries to members of the military and public during Wednesday’s ordeal, officials said. Paul Grover/Shutterstock
The runaways got spooked by nearby construction work during a morning exercise. PA Images via Getty Images
The horses had been rehearsing with members of the Household Cavalry when the incident occurred. Amer Ghazzal/Shutterstock

The horses were rehearsing with members of the Household Cavalry — the unit that performs ceremonial duties around Buckingham — for a Major General’s Inspection set for Thursday in Hyde Park, the army told the BBC.

City of London Police, the force in charge of the capital’s financial district, said officers had managed to contain two horses before putting them in a horse carrier provided by the British Army and taking them to a veterinarian.

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