Two Military Horses That Escaped and Ran Through London Are in Serious Condition

LONDON — Two military horses that suddenly ran away and traveled for miles through the streets of London after getting frightened by construction noise and throwing their riders were in serious condition after undergoing operations, a U.K. government official said Thursday.

The animals were among a group of four horses that broke free during routine exercises Wednesday near Buckingham Palace and caused chaos as they galloped loose through central London during morning rush hour. A fifth horse that tried to bolt hadn’t been able to break free.

Two of the horses underwent operations and one was transferred to an equine hospital, the British Army posted on X.

“Three of them are fine, two of them are unfortunately in a relatively serious condition and obviously we will be monitoring that condition,” defense minister James Cartlidge told Sky News. “They are in a serious condition, but as I understand, still alive.”

Three soldiers thrown from their steeds were hospitalized with injuries, but were expected to fully recover and return to duty.

The loose horses from the Household Cavalry, the ceremonial guard of the monarch and a feature of state functions in London, were named as Vida, Quaker, Trojan and Tennyson.

Cartlidge identified Vida as the white horse seen drenched in blood as it galloped down Aldwych, in between London’s historic financial center and the busy West End theater district.

Vida ran alongside a black horse named Quaker that could be seen sideswiping a taxi as it turned into oncoming traffic after running through a red light at an intersection.

During the wild spectacle captured by stunned commuters and shared on social media, the horses had near misses with cyclists and a rider on a motorbike at a traffic light.

Witnesses saw one of the animals crash into a taxi outside the Clermont Hotel, shattering windows. Another slammed into a tour bus, smashing the windshield.

Two of the horses were corralled at Limehouse about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from where they bolted. All the captured horses were taken back to barracks in Hyde Park.

Cartlidge said the army trains with about 150 horses every day, so the incident was exceptionally rare.

“Unfortunately we have seen what has happened, but all I can say is the crucial thing … no serious injuries to the public as far as we aware, and of course we will be keeping an eye on the situation,” he told LBC.

The horses had been training for an upcoming military parade and were spooked by the crashing sound of construction materials at a work site in Belgravia, a swanky neighborhood just to the west of the palace, said Matt Woodward, commanding officer of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

A day after the incident, more than 150 horses and close to 200 participants took part in the regiment’s annual inspection at Hyde Park to demonstrate readiness for summer pageantry including Trooping the Color and state visits.

A small crowd gathered as mounted riders, dressed in black, red and gold uniforms with golden helmets, trotted to the beat.