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What a relief: Britain “observes closely,” and discusses how horses bolted!

What a relief: Britain “observes closely,” and discusses how horses bolted!

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Virendra Pandit

New Delhi: What do the retired people—and nations–do? They preach, wait for the next exciting news, and go back to take a siesta.

That’s what the Britons are doing now: discussing threadbare seven horses’ escapades. They were being trained to take part in the King’s Birthday Parade–which they apparently protested against!

Burdened with global problems they can no longer solve—although they had seeded most of them a century ago in the first place!– lackluster royalty, and their fragmenting economy, the British got a brief respite from drudgery and heat this week after getting something new to chew upon: seven of their cavalry horses bolted, four broke loose, two ran amok through London, and two were hospitalized.

Two Household Cavalry horses are in serious condition and have been operated on after they threw off their riders and raced through London, the BBC reported on Thursday.

It said seven horses were spooked by a loud noise in Belgravia during a military exercise on Wednesday and four ran through the city, colliding with vehicles, including a double-decker bus and taxi.

Three soldiers and a cyclist were hospitalized. The soldiers are expected to fully recover, the Army said. There is no further update on the condition of the cyclist.

A spokesperson for the Army said: “Of the seven horses which were spooked, five tried to bolt and four – Vida, Trojan, Quaker and Tennyson – broke loose.

“Two of the injured horses were operated on last night, with one transferred to an equine hospital. All remaining horses are being closely observed.”

The horses that did not have surgery were expected to return to duty “in due course.”

Defense minister James Cartlidge said what happened on Wednesday was “exceptional,” explaining that more than 150 animals were on exercise in the capital each day.
“This is extremely unlikely, this scenario.”

“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 are aware, and of course we will be keeping an eye on the situation.”

The horses of the Household Cavalry are trained by the Army for several months and ridden on the streets of London to get them used to heavy traffic and loud noises, including gun salutes and military bands.

The chaos began on Wednesday morning when members of the Household Cavalry – military personnel who carry out ceremonial duties around Buckingham Palace – were taking part in a rehearsal for a Major General’s Inspection. The event will take place on Thursday in Hyde Park.

One serviceman was thrown from his horse on Buckingham Palace Road, before one of the loose animals hit a taxi waiting outside the Clermont Hotel, shattering the vehicle’s windows.

Two of the animals were finally recovered in Limehouse in east London, more than five miles from where they bolted.

In total, four soldiers were thrown from their saddles, the Army said.

Lt Col Matt Woodward, commanding officer of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, said the horses bolted after “building materials were dropped from height right next to them.”

In a video posted by the Army on X, formerly Twitter, he expressed “heartfelt gratitude” to the emergency services and members of the public who helped to secure the horses.

Four people were treated by paramedics in Buckingham Palace Road, Belgrave Square, and the junction between Chancery Lane and Fleet Street, London Ambulance Service said. All four were taken to hospital.

It said the injuries were sustained between 08:25 and 08:35 BST.


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