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derek frenchDerek French with Sallie & SimonThe radio crackles.

"Hounds have split. Two or three couple are headed west. Get over to the fourth line and stop `em. We`ll never get `em back out of that huge swamp.” I fumble for the radio that my two Jack Russells have knocked to the ground.

"I`m on my way. Ten four," I reply.

I jump onto my trusty steed and roar off at a full gallop. All 180 horses bursting with power send the gravel flying. Too late, I see first the coyote and then two couple headed west over the fourth into the swamp. I jump off my mount and run yelling, "Get on back" and, "Leave it" while attempting to crack my whip. Try as I might I have never been able to produce a really authoritative crack. Fortunately there`s no one to hear my feeble attempt over here on the fourth Line.

The hounds give me a quick glance as if to say, "don`t bother me I`m busy" and continue on with their breakaway hunt. I press the transmit button. "Huntsman, at least two couple have crossed. `Fraid I didn`t get there in time.”

A long pause and then, "What`s that you said?”

“I`m afraid I was too late. They have crossed.”

At this point I dream that I might get a reply like, "Oh too bad but thanks for trying anyway.” Dream on!

In real life the radio crackles again. The air turns blue and in that Old Country accent comes a very clear message "#@£*... useless…#*&@# can't do it all…*#&^# ...here to midnight...bloody `ell..!”

I sit back in my seat and have a good laugh. I like to think every good huntsman has to be passionate about giving good sport and if his passion is occasionally expressed in the form of some rather blue language, so be it. Besides, road whipping is not only a good way to see more of the action but is a great way to broaden your vocabulary.
You see, there really is life after riding to hounds. In many ways it is more exciting than having just one horse under your seat. I just love it!

Derek French is a retired MFH, but still loves hunting. 

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