Army horses run amok in London after being spooked by falling rubble

Army horses run amok in London after being spooked by falling rubble

Military horses caused “total mayhem” in central London after they were spooked by builders moving rubble.

A group of seven horses and six soldiers from the Household Cavalry were on an extended exercise in Belgravia on Wednesday when chaos erupted.

Four service personnel were thrown from their horses and five of the animals got loose, smashing into vehicles and causing a number of injuries.

It is believed the animals were spooked when some concrete being moved by builders hit the ground.

Ambulance crews treated four people in three separate incidents in Buckingham Palace Road, Belgrave Square, and at the junction of Chancery Lane and Fleet Street, in the space of just 10 minutes.

It is understood that three soldiers were assessed in hospital for their injuries, which were not thought to be serious.

A management consultant from south London who saw two of the horses galloping near Aldwych said the sight was “gruesome” and “like a weird dream”.

The pair were captured on the Highway near Limehouse, more than five miles from where they first bolted.

The 28-year-old, named only as Tula, told the PA news agency: “I got off the 172 bus which ends at Aldwych and two horses went flying past. One black, one white.

“The white one was drenched in blood from the chest down and they were galloping through the traffic at speed.

“People were stopping in the street shocked. The horses were running into fast-moving traffic and seemed terrified. Some unmarked police cars were chasing after them, which didn’t seem to be helping.

“I felt shocked. It was pretty gruesome. Felt like a weird dream.”

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.

LBC spoke to the driver, Faraz, who said 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.

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

Two horses on the loose bolt through the streets of London near Aldwych
Two loose horses bolt through the streets near Aldwych in central London (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Jordan Pettitt, 26, who works for the PA news agency, said a white horse was “vividly” stained red with blood and he heard a black horse collide with a taxi.

He said: “The A4 at the Aldwych is usually pretty busy and it suddenly just fell silent.

“There was no traffic on the roads and all of a sudden we could hear some clattering of hooves just at the top of the road. Then coming down the top of the road were these two horses.

“They were coming down at quite a speed. They bolted southbound down the A4.

“Then as they came past me at some speed, they went straight down to the bottom of the road where it meets Fleet Street.

“The traffic lights were at red with a few buses and some taxis waiting there. These horses came hurtling down past the pedestrian crossing at that moment. Then the black horse collided with a black taxi.

“It was not to a great degree of power but it hit it strongly enough that we could hear it at the top of the road. You could hear the contact. Then it veered behind the taxi, went past the bus and headed eastbound on Fleet Street.

“The white horse that was with it looked like it doubled back on itself and then followed the black one as it went eastbound.”

The animals were later seen near the Limehouse Tunnel, before they were recaptured by City of London Police and taken away to be assessed by Army vets.

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.”

The animals are all receiving care from vets at Hyde Park barracks.