2 military horses that broke free and ran loose across London are in serious condition

Two horses on the loose bolt through the streets of London near Aldwych, on Wednesday April 24, 2024. (Jordan Pettitt/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Two military horses that bolted and ran miles through the streets of London after being spooked by construction noise and tossing their riders were in a serious condition and required operations, a British government official said Thursday.

The animals were among a group of four horses that broke free during routine exercises Wednesday near Buckingham Palace, tossing their riders and causing chaos as they galloped loose through central London streets during the morning rush hour. A fifth horse that tried to bolt had not been able to break free.

Two of the horses required operations and one was transferred to an equine hospital, the British Army said on X, the social media platform.

“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 of 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, Trojan, Quaker and Tennyson.

Cartlidge identified Vida as the white horse seen drenched in blood as it ran at speed down Aldwych, in between London’s historic financial center and the busy West End theater district more than 5 miles (8 kilometers) from where it bolted.

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

The horses were all captured shortly after and 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.