Police are investigating after 21 horses belonging to The Household Cavalry were let out of their field, causing “absolute carnage” on a nearby road.
The horses, which were resting from their duties with the Queen’s Life Guard, bolted when they were released from the RAVC Defence Animal Training Regiment in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK.
They were reportedly seen being chased by three people on motorbikes, beeping their horns and revving engines.
Several were hit by vehicles as they cantered up to six miles away from the base, before all were eventually rounded up by members of the public, police and vets using cars and horse boxes.
A woman told how she thought she and her mother would be killed as the horses charged towards their car.
In a post on the Melton Police Facebook page, she said: “ 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.”
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said all were safety returned, while the police appealed for information.
Residents said it was a “miracle” none of the horses were killed, with a scene of “absolute carnage” narrowly avoided when some of the horses were stopped just short of a dual carriageway.
One woman claimed a collision with one animal had written a car off, with smashed glass feared to have injured horses.
The incident took place at around 11.15pm on Friday, with horses finally returned to the stables by 2.30am.
In a statement, the MoD said: “We can confirm that a number of military horses were released from the Defence Animal Training Regiment fields late on August 4.
“All horses were subsequently returned to the stables and are making a good recovery.
“The Ministry of Defence is particularly grateful to members of the local community, the police and veterinary staff from Nottingham University, who helped to get the situation under control and the horses home so quickly.”
A spokesman for Leicestershire Police said: “Some of the horses were involved in minor collisions but no one from the vehicles have reported being injured.
“We understand the shock and anger the incident may have caused but we ask that people don’t speculate on social media.”
He added: “We would like to speak to anyone who may have been driving in the area and witnessed the incident or were involved in a collision with any of the horses and haven’t yet reported the incident to police to contact us.
“We’d also like to thank everyone who assisted officers in locating and securing the horses.”