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Runaway horses in ‘serious condition’ after bolting through central London

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Two of the military horses that broke loose during a morning exercise and bolted through central London on Wednesday are in “serious condition” and have been operated on, according to officials.

The runaway horses, including one white horse drenched in blood, ran through the rush-hour streets of the capital, colliding with vehicles and resulting in four people being taken to hospital.

“There were five horses. 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,” the defence minister James Cartlidge told Sky News.

Four of the seven horses, Vida, Trojan, Quaker and Tennyson, broke loose after being “spooked”, the British army said in a statement on X.

Two horses were operated on last night with one transferred to an equine hospital, it said, and the three soldiers involved were expected to recover fully and return to duty.

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

A group of seven horses and six soldiers from the Household Cavalry based at Hyde Park barracks were on an extended exercise in Belgravia on Wednesday at about 8.40am when chaos erupted.

Astonished witnesses described “total mayhem” as five of the horses broke loose. Four service personnel were thrown from their horses and it is understood three soldiers were assessed in hospital for their injuries, which were not thought to be serious.

Pictures and videos shared on social media showed two horses running through central London. One collided with a parked taxi outside the Clermont hotel in Buckingham Palace Road, smashing the windows of the Mercedes people carrier. Another horse crashed into a parked doubledecker tour bus, smashing the windscreen.

Cartlidge described the incident as an “exceptional situation”, adding that more than 150 animals were on exercise in the capital each day.

“Obviously, we didn’t want that situation to happen. What I would stress to you is that this is very exceptional,” he said.

“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.”

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