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Four injured as runaway military horses bolt through central London

  • By Liz Jackson and James W Kelly
  • BBC News

Video caption, Watch: Cavalry horses cause chaos in London

Four people were taken to hospital after five runaway horses from the Household Cavalry threw off their riders and raced through London.

The horses, one of which was covered in blood, caused chaos as they raced through the city center and collided with vehicles including a double-decker bus and a taxi.

They were first frightened by construction noise during a routine military exercise in Belgravia, the army said.

Officers said the horses were recovered and returned to camp.

Two of the animals were eventually found in Limehouse, east London, more than five miles from where the incident began. The military said they were receiving veterinary treatment.

An army spokesperson told the BBC that three soldiers were receiving treatment for non-life-threatening injuries. The fourth person injured in the incident is believed to be a cyclist and a member of the public.

The chaos began as members of the Household Cavalry – members of the army who carry out ceremonial duties around Buckingham Palace – were taking part in a rehearsal for a major general inspection – due to take place on Thursday in Hyde Park, a indicated the army. the BBC.

Each military unit participating in the King’s Birthday Parade, which takes place in June, must first pass a divisional general inspection. An army spokesman said the group included six soldiers and seven horses. Four soldiers were thrown from their saddles and five horses ran loose in London.

“Sincere gratitude”

Lieutenant Colonel Matt Woodward, commanding officer of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, said: “Building materials were dropped right next to them.

“The shock that followed caused all the horses to fall and some riders to be overturned.”

He expressed his “sincere gratitude” to the emergency services and the public who helped secure the horses.

Legend, Eyewitness Tony Bonsignore said a horse collided with a tour bus at the scene – no bus staff were injured.

A soldier was thrown from his horse on Buckingham Palace Road, before one of the loose animals collided with a taxi waiting outside the Clermont Hotel, smashing the windows.

London Ambulance Service said four people were treated by paramedics at Buckingham Palace Road, Belgrave Square and the junction of Chancery Lane and Fleet Street. All four were taken to hospital.

It said the three incidents happened within 10 minutes, between 08:25 and 08:35 BST.

Legend, A blue tarpaulin was used while a member of the public was treated by paramedics, Tony Bonsignore said.

An army spokesperson added: “A number of military workhorses broke away during a routine exercise this morning.

“All horses have now been recovered and returned to camp. A number of staff and horses have been injured and are receiving appropriate medical treatment.”

Broken window

Grace Whitaker, 23, told the BBC she had just got off a bus to go to work when she saw several emergency services vehicles near Victoria station.

“I saw about five fire trucks and six ambulances,” she said. “I saw one of the horses involved, I saw members of the military. It was quite a spectacular scene with lots of emergency services around putting up cordons.”

“One of the black horses was there. I thought maybe it was a police horse that had come to the scene, but obviously I now know it was one of the horses that had escaped.

“I saw what looked like a taxi van that had damage, a broken window. I think everyone immediately had the impression that someone had been hit by a car. We were quite surprised when we realized they were horses.”

Legend, Two of the horses, one covered in blood, ride through central London without riders.

Ms Whitaker added that she saw at least one person being treated for their injuries.

“There was a blue tent around what I assume was an injured person.”


Megan Morra told the BBC she was walking to work when she saw police officers “running down the street” and another walking a “very bloody” black horse down the path.

She said the horse appeared to be suffering from a serious head injury.

“There was a lot of blood,” she said. “To be honest, I was a little upset looking at that poor horse.”

Black taxi driver Robbie told BBC Radio London that he narrowly avoided being hit by the horses.

He said: “I was just outside Buckingham Palace on the Mall and I heard a lot of galloping and I looked behind and there were about three or four horses.

“Two of them were running towards Trafalgar Square and there was a white one covered in blood as well.

“I looked in the rearview mirror and saw them coming right behind me, and at that point I had two punters in the back so I was worried about them.”

“Risked their own safety”

Inspector Myles Hilbery, of the City of London Police, praised the two officers who helped catch the horses in Limehouse.

“Police officers Lucy Hawes and Daniel McKeown risked their own safety to provide first aid to the injured and anxious horses,” he said.

“They kept the horses calm while waiting for a horse box and veterinary team to arrive.”

Legend, One of the animals on the loose collided with a taxi waiting outside the Clermont hotel, breaking the windows.

London Fire Brigade said it used its drone team to help locate the animals.

The incident is unusual, as the horses of the Household Cavalry are specifically chosen by the military.

According to, horses are chosen for their height (at least 168 cm) and strength, as they must be able to carry a soldier and their equipment for an extended period of time.

The horses are trained for several months and ridden on the streets of London to become accustomed to heavy traffic and loud noises, including gun salutes and military bands.

Each horse is usually assigned to a specific soldier.

Additional reporting by Ian Aikman and PA Media.

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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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