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It’s wild, wild west: Horses run loose through London in surreal spectacle

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Five runaway military horses galloped through the streets of London on Wednesday, alarming pedestrians, sideswiping cars and buses, and turning an ordinary rush hour into a frightening, almost surreal spectacle. Four people were treated for injuries, including a soldier who was thrown from one of the horses, according to the London ambulance service.The horses, which belong to the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, a unit that parades in royal pageants, are normally well-trained symbols of London’s regal past.
On Wednesday, however, they broke into a panicked stampede that had more in common with the Wild West. Galloping past some of London’s most famous sites – from Buckingham Palace to Tower Bridge – they left a trail of damaged vehicles and shocked pedestrians, some of whom had to dart out of their way.
By 10.30am, the Metropolitan Police said all the horses had been recovered and were back in their barracks in Hyde Park. But some had suffered injuries, including a white horse that had blood splashed on its neck, chest and forelimbs. The drama began shortly after 8am when the horses, apparently spooked by the noise from a nearby construction site, threw off the military riders who were taking them out for routine exercises. Photos showed one of the soldiers being treated while lying on the ground on Buckingham Palace Road.
Video footage captured a pair of riderless horses galloping in Aldwych, a stately area in central London. Their hooves clattered in the shadow of grand stone buildings as passers-by scattered, buses jerked to a stop and cars honked. The white horse, wearing a saddle and stirrups with its reins flying behind it, was caught on video later galloping in the vicinity of Tower Bridge. Other pictures showed the result of unexpected encounters between animals and a busy urban landscape: a double-decker tour bus with a smashed windshield and a gray Mercedes van with a dented door and smashed rear windows.
As the incident unfolded, the media began carrying live coverage, briefly riveting much of the city. Shortly before 10am, the London police reported that its officers had corralled two of the horses near Limehouse, a neighbourhood adjacent to the city’s docklands. That indicated they had made their way across Central London, from Westminster through Covent Garden and past the financial district.
Megan Morra, who was on her way to work, told BBC that she saw one of the horses had a head injury. “There was a lot of blood. I was a bit distressed looking at the poor horse.” The horses are trained to be comfortable in busy streets and around people, which made the episode extraordinarily unusual.

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