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Horses were on the loose in London

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Black cabs, double-decker red buses and an unexpected cavalry charge. That's what London's rush hour was like today, as NPR's Lauren Frayer reports.

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: Rush hour in London normally sounds like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAR HORNS HONKING)

FRAYER: Or this.

AUTOMATED VOICE: Please mind the gap.

FRAYER: But this morning, it sounded like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF HORSE GALLOPING)

FRAYER: Those are horses from the royal Household Cavalry, riderless and galloping through central London. They startled bewildered commuters at Victoria Station and kept going for several miles. A cabby named Sean told the BBC he saw a beautiful, regal white horse covered in blood.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SEAN: There was a Mercedes parked outside the Grosvenor Hotel with its side smashed in, covered in blood, all the windows smashed. So I'm guessing the white horse, it hit that, run into it, drove around.

FRAYER: Another horse collided with a double-decker red bus, leaving its windshield shattered. These were actually some of the most famous horses in the world.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FRAYER: The Household Cavalry are the ones you see outside Buckingham Palace and at royal weddings and coronations. The horses live in stables in Hyde Park. Today they were out training for a military parade when...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MATTHEW WOODWARD: A small group of horses were spooked by some construction works on a quiet side road in Belgravia.

FRAYER: That's Lieutenant Colonel Matt Woodward, the cavalry's commanding officer. He says the horses threw soldiers from their saddles and then bolted. A number of people were injured. Passersby sought to calm the horses by petting them.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

WOODWARD: As ever, we are grateful for due consideration given by the members of the public to not making loud noises around our horses.

FRAYER: He says the horses are now home safe in their stables getting veterinary care. Lauren Frayer, NPR News, London.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Lauren Frayer covers India for NPR News. In June 2018, she opened a new NPR bureau in India's biggest city, its financial center, and the heart of Bollywood—Mumbai.
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