Spooked military horses bolt through London and injure at least 4 people

Five horses injured at least four people, collided with vehicles, and caused chaos during the morning rush hour.
Two horses on the loose bolt through the streets of London.
Posted at 3:18 PM, Apr 24, 2024

Five military horses spooked by noise from a building site bolted during routine exercises on Wednesday near Buckingham Palace, threw off four riders and caused chaos as they galloped loose through central London streets and collided with vehicles during the busy morning rush hour.

The commotion erupted when the horses from the Household Cavalry, which were conducting an extended exercise for an upcoming military parade, presumably became alarmed by the sound of concrete falling off a moving walkway at a construction site in Belgravia, a swanky neighborhood just to the west of the palace.

Five of the seven horses ran off, and four soldiers were thrown off. Three of them were hospitalized with injuries. None of the injuries were deemed to be life-threatening.

The horses — minus their riders — then ran through main roads in central London, hitting vehicles and stunning commuters as they headed to work. The horses were all captured shortly after and are back at the barracks in Hyde Park undergoing medical tests.

Witnesses saw one of the loose animals crashing into a taxi waiting outside the Clermont Hotel nearby, shattering windows. Another of the animals crashed into a tour bus, smashing the windshield.

Pictures and videos shared widely across social media show two of the horses — one white, one black — running at speed down Aldwych, in between London's historic financial center and the busy West End theater district.

The white horse's face and legs were soaked in blood. A British Army spokesperson was not able to confirm what caused the injury.

Megan Morra, who was on her way to work, told the BBC that she saw the striking image of the white horse with a head injury.

"There was a lot of blood," she said. "I was a bit distressed to be honest, looking at the poor horse."

The horses are from the Household Cavalry, the ceremonial guard of the monarch and a feature of state functions in London.

The extent of the injuries the horses suffered was not immediately known.

In a video statement on X, formerly Twitter, Matt Woodward, commanding officer of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, said around 150 horses are exercised every morning in parks and on the roads to keep them fit and get them used to the surroundings and the noise so they are less easily panicked during 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," he said.

"Thankfully, considering the frequency of exercise and numbers of horses involved, this type of incident is extremely rare," Woodward added. He thanked the emergency responders and members of the public for reacting quickly.

"This enabled swift treatment of our soldiers and helped bring our injured horses to safety," he added.

The London Ambulance Service said it treated four people across three separate incidents in the space of 10 minutes after the incident erupted around 8:30 a.m.