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Horses bolt through London injuring four and leaving trail of destruction

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A horse which appears to be covered in blood is among seven Household Cavalry mounts which escaped and ran loose through central London today.

Four people have been injured and taken to hospital after a spooked horse threw its rider and the seven animals escaped and started to run through London.

Emergency services are on the scene in Victoria, with a blue tarpaulin put up while people, including a serviceman, received treatment.

One horse appeared to be covered in blood as it hit a number of vehicles as it ran, including a tour bus which was left with a shattered windscreen and a Mercedes people carrier.

An employee for the tour bus company, Big Bus, Mr Mahmood, said three horses got ‘out of control’ from Buckingham Palace Road, adding: ‘One of the horses bumped into a bus, then everything got out of control.

The horse ran towards frightened cyclists (Picture: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)
The white horse appears to be covered in blood (Picture: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire
This map shows the horse sightings before they were eventually recaptured (Picture: Metro Graphic)

‘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.’

Buckingham Palace Road in Victoria was closed each way due to the incident, with Victoria bus station also closed.

The animals were seen running through Aldwych, as well is near Tower Bridge, Limehouse and Victoria – up to six miles away from where they escaped.

The horses and soldiers were taking part on an extended Watering Order – an exercise to keep up the animals’ fitness as they aren’t currently involved in public-facing King’s Life Guard duties.

It’s believed they were spooked by the sound of builders moving concrete.

Police confirmed that all seven horses have been accounted for and recaptured.

City of London Police said: ‘At around 8.40am, we were called about horses that had become loose and were travelling through the city.

‘Our officers have contained two horses on the highway near Limehouse.

‘We’re waiting for an Army horse box to collect the horses and transport them to veterinary care.’

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The people carrier was left spattered with blood after the horse ran into it (Picture: Belinda Jiao)

Faraz, the owner of the Mercedes people carrier, said his car windows were smashed as he waited to pick up a client at the Clermont Hotel.

He told LBC: ‘I was sitting in the car to pick up my passenger when the horse hit my car.

‘I didn’t see the horse before it hit my car, it was a shock.

‘People walked up to ask if I was OK, I was OK but [my car] was damaged.

‘It stopped all the traffic and the one military guy fell down on the [traffic] island.’

Meanwhile a construction worker who witnessed the stampede told ITV: ‘I saw not many, about five horses on the street, and one of them crashed into the bus.



What drivers should do if they see wild horses on the road

Government data shows animals (excluding horses ridden by humans) are a factor in hundreds of road accidents every year – 339 in 2022, including 3 fatal accidents.

Nextbase head of road safety Bryn Brooker shared tips on how to drive around animals: ‘Animals are a factor in hundreds of road accidents every year, and all drivers must be fully aware of how to drive around them – even in central London.

‘It’s essential that drivers treat all horses as potential hazards – even ones being ridden.

‘Never rev your engine or toot your horn near a horse as this could cause them to bolt.

‘If you are passing a horse, slow down to 10mph at the absolute maximum and give them at least two metres of space.

‘If the road is blocked, stop your car and turn off your engine. If you see a horse that appears to be in distress, call the police and provide as much detail as you can about its location.’

How drivers can avoid crashing into animals

  • Keep alert for signs warning of animals. These include actual road signs, heavily wooded areas, and other animals standing just off the road. Slow down and stay as alert as possible to the road ahead of you. Check how far the next car is behind you, in case you have to stop in a hurry.
  • Call the police if you hit an animal. If you hit a deer, dog, goat, sheep, pig, any cattle, or many other animals, you by law have to call the police. This will also help a lot with the insurance claim you are likely to need. The RSPCA will also help with an injured animal.
  • If something goes wrong, use your dash cam to show what happened. A good dash cam can prove that you did the right thing in any potential accident, and save you a lot of money on your insurance.’

‘They were very scared, they ran like crazy.

‘I don’t have any idea what scared the horses.’

Roland, a worker for tour bus company, Toot Bus, said the scene was ‘total mayhem’, explaining: ‘I saw horses come from the bus station in front of Victoria run around in a frenzy.

‘People were running around to avoid them – it was total mayhem.’

The Household Cavalry is a corps of the Household Division, made up of the two most senior regiments of the British Army, The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals.

The regiments have protected the royal family since the 1600s.

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An Army spokesperson said: ‘A number of military working horses became loose during routine exercise this morning.

‘All of the horses have now been recovered and returned to camp. A number of personnel and horses have been injured and are receiving the appropriate medical attention.’

In a video statement posted on X, 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.

The bus is now being towed away (Picture: Ben Cawthra/LNP)

‘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.

‘Three of our soldiers have incurred injuries which are not deemed to be life-threatening and they’re receiving treatment in hospital, while our horses have all returned to Hyde Park barracks and are undergoing veterinary care.

‘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.

‘We appreciate your concern, understanding and patience as we work through this matter.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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