The day before the error happened at the Life Guards’ stables in Stockholm, the two horses, Krabat and Rappel, had been exercising in the yard.
When they were returned to stables, they were accidentally placed in each others’ stalls. Ten-year-old Krabat was due to be killed the next day, Svenska Dagbladet reports.
“Krabat had been lame and sick for one and a half years, and we hadn’t been able to find out what was wrong with him,” said Olof Karlander, administrator for the Mounted Guard.
When workers at the stables went to fetch Krabat to put him down, they failed to notice that the horse in Krabat’s stall was actually Rappel, who was five years younger.
“They are both sorrels and can look quite similar,” said Karlander. Rappel was killed before anyone realized they had the wrong horse.
The Life Guards say the incident is to be investigated.
The Life Guards claim to be the oldest regiment in the world, with origins in the 16th century, when one of their predecessor regiments was started as body guards for King Gustav Vasa. The regiment retains responsibility for guarding royal palaces, while also maintaining an active role in national defence and international peace promotion missions.