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British army unsure if injured runaway horses will return to duties

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The army has said it is too early to know for sure if two military horses that suffered serious injuries after running loose through London will return to duties.

Seven horses and six soldiers from the Household Cavalry were on an extended exercise in Belgravia on Wednesday when the horses were spooked by builders moving rubble.

Four service personnel were thrown from their horses and four of the animals, named Vida, Trojan, Quaker and Tennyson, got loose, smashing into vehicles – including a doubledecker bus – and causing a number of injuries.

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

The British army said Vida and Quaker underwent surgery overnight on Wednesday, with the latter being moved to an equine hospital in the early hours of Thursday morning for further specialist treatment.

In an update posted to X on Friday, the army said: “All our horses receive the highest standards of care, and those that did not undergo surgery are expected to return to duty in due course.”

Quaker and Vida bolt through the streets of London near Aldwych. Photograph: Jordan Pettitt/PA

Three soldiers who were injured will “recover fully and return to duty”, the statement added.

An Army spokesperson said that while the force hopes both horses will recover, it’s “too early to know for sure” whether Vida and Quaker will do so sufficiently to return to official duties. The extent of the injuries is not completely clear but we don’t believe at this stage there are any broken bones.”

Military sources told the Telegraph there were no plans to euthanise either horse.

Vida was the grey horse, seen in videos and images covered in blood, alongside the black horse, Quaker.

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The army is considering dozens of offers to rehome the horses should they be unable to resume active service, including from the UK’s oldest equine charity, The Horse Trust.

Jessica Tallman, a director at the trust, said: “The Horse Trust are experts in research and the care of service horses, and we have many retired military horses residing at our sanctuary.”

A number of individuals have also come forward to offer the horses a home.

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