Army Horses Defence Animal Centre

Cover picture from Forces News archives.

A number of British Army horses have been injured after being let out of a field in Leicestershire, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.

Twenty-one of them escaped near Melton at around 11.15pm on Friday night.

It took more than three hours for them all to be rounded up and returned to their stables.

Some were involved in what police are calling minor collisions, but none are believed to have been seriously injured.

British Army horses are usually given a break from their duties with stints at grass at the Defence Animal Centre at Melton Mowbray.

Lorraine Howitt, a woman who was allegedly involved in the incident, thought she and her mother would die as the horses charged towards their car.

In a post on the Melton Police Facebook page, she commented:

“Very lucky to be here to tell the tale as I honestly thought me and my mum would be killed.

“After avoiding a head on with another vehicle to emergency stopping on the verge, to then have 21 horses charging at you, smashing the car as it passed with glass landing all over me, while screaming at my mum to stay down, trying to cover her while whipping her seat back.

“Such a horrific incident. I hope when the mindless people are caught they get the book thrown at them as this could have resulted in numerous fatalities.

“Luckily for us were just shook up and aching from the collision although I have to add this has really upset my mum who is a very strong woman.”

Leicestershire Police are currently investigating the circumstances around what happened. 

In a statement on Melton Police's Facebook page, they wrote:

"The horses are currently being assessed to establish if any have sustained injuries, but at this stage none are believed to be seriously injured.

"We understand the shock and anger the incident may have caused but we ask that people don’t speculate on social media. (...)

Melton Police injured horses statement

"We’d also like to thank everyone who assisted officers in locating and securing the horses."

An Army spokesman said:

"We are aware of an incident involving Army horses on Friday night in the Melton Mowbray area. This is under investigation by Leicestershire Police and it would be inappropriate to comment further."

The Defence Animal Centre is the home of the Equine Training Squadron.

The squadron is responsible for delivering trained horses to the Household Cavalry and King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and for training riding instructors and farriers for the mounted units.

Last month, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment took a break from their regular ceremonial duties and was sent to Bodney Camp for a holiday.