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Major update on condition of two horses that rampaged through London



Four service personnel were thrown from their horses and five of the animals got loose (Picture: PA)

Two of the military horses who caused ‘total mayhem’ when they bolted after being spooked by noisy construction work have undergone surgery, the Army has said.

Five horses from a group of seven ran loose during an extended training exercise in Belgravia, smashing into vehicles and leaving four unseated Household Cavalry soldiers injured.

A black horse and a white one drenched in blood were later seen galloping through central London.

Giving an update this morning, Defence minister James Cartlidge told Sky News: ‘They have all been recovered.

‘Three of them are fine, two of them are unfortunately in a relatively serious condition and obviously we will be monitoring that condition.’

He also confirmed the names of the two animals, Vida and Quaker.

Asked about their condition again on LBC, Mr Cartlidge said he ‘wouldn’t want to say more’ than that they were in a serious condition.

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A white horse on the loose covered in blood bolts through the streets of London near Aldwych (Picture: PA)
A black horse collides with a London Taxi after bolting down the A4 near Aldwych (Picture: PA)

He added: ‘Obviously, we didn’t want that situation to happen. What I would stress to you is that this is very exceptional.

‘You are probably aware that the army has horses out on exercise in central London every day of the week. It is about 150 horses on average exercising every day.

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‘So this is extremely unlikely this scenario. Unfortunately we have seen what has happened, but all I can say is the crucial thing, as you said yourself, no serious injuries to the public as far as we aware, and of course we will be keeping an eye on the situation.’

In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, the Army said both horses seriously injured in the chaos have undergone surgery, with one taken to equine hospital.

The Army said three soldiers who were injured would ‘recover fully and return to duty’.

The statement said: ‘Of the seven horses which were spooked, five tried to bolt and four, Vida, Trojan, Quaker and Tennyson, broke loose. 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.’

The drama began near Buckingham Palace Road where witnesses saw a serviceman thrown from his horse, and one of the loose animals crashed into a taxi waiting outside the Clermont Hotel, shattering the windows.

The driver, Faraz, told LBC a white horse had collided with his Mercedes people carrier, leaving blood spattered down the side.

Another of the animals crashed into a tour bus, smashing the windscreen.

Emergency services at the scene outside the Clermont Hotel, near Victoria Station, central London, after military horses bolted through through the capital (Picture: PA)

Two horses were then seen running in the road near Aldwych, one of which appeared to be covered in blood.

Roland, a worker for tour bus company Tootbus, described the chaotic scenes near Victoria.

‘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.’

A second tour bus worker, named only as Mr Mahmood, 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.’

In a video statement posted on X, Commanding Officer of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment Lieutenant Colonel Matt Woodward said the unit exercises around 150 horses on the roads and in parks every morning, partly to help desensitise them to city noise.

‘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,’ he said.

After thanking the emergency services and the public for their help, he 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.’

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