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There is a place just North of Eagle Wisconsin it is called the Ottawa Field Trial grounds. On a hill overlooking the grounds has been called "Morgan Hill", Charles Morgan and his last dog Rosie were at a sanction field trial on the grounds. The thing I remember most was Dr Kesky giving CPR to Mr. Morgan who had suffered a heart attack. He died on the hill and the hill forever was named Morgan Hill. Man am I older then dirt He was a great man , dog trainer and dog lover. Certainly ahead of his time.
On a annual basis there is a trophy at the Wisconsin Amateur Field Trial Club and it is called the Morgan Challenge Trophy. It is very large and was donated by Mr. Morgan to be awarded to the Derby Dog that has most points on a year to year basis in the Derby, both Licensed and Sanction trial points at any Wisconsin Trial or AARC Trial (Illinois). The only stipulation is the trophy cannot be awarded if there is a triple in the derby where the points are awarded. It is a large ugly trophy with a Lab on top with no tail long ago broken off.
A smaller trophy is awarded to keep for the dog/owner that it is awarded too. We have done some things in trials over the years but my proudest moments were recieving and have my name and dog engraved on that "old trophy" along with some very prominent dogs more then a few times. Mr. Morgan would be proud of the many great dogs that have appeared on the Morgan Challenge Trophy. I don't think however. he would like the way the derby has come as far as the tests. Just some trivia.
We have gone away from Natural marking to more confluted technical training marks where water cheating and long water entries have replaced the "there is the mark now go gettum" . The same thing on land where sometimes the guns are even retired or semi retired from the line and how far can we "run" 300 or 400 yard marks. Judging derby dogs is a art and should be judged by at least those who run a reasonable number of derbies. (The last is my opinion) I don't want to get into a thread on derby tests, lets save that for another thread it's about Mr. Morgan and his contributions to the sport.
From Charles Morgan on Retrievers, edited by Ann Fowler and D.L. Walters 1968.
There is no doubt that we have better handling dogs, better mechanical dogs today. There is absolutely no comparison. That is what everybody is working, what everybody is striving for. Today the dog isn’t given a chance to hunt. You take a beginner, the amateur, his dog goes out, and if he doesn’t hit the bird on the head, wel, he’ll run out and grab the dog and push his nose down on it. I can’t see how that is going to teach a young dog to mark. I don’t think they are attempting to teach a dog to mark; they are just trying to expedite matters. They don’t want to spend any more time. They just want to get to that phase of training when they can teach the dog to handle. They are itching to get to the self-entertainment act, the handling test.
We used to enjoy watching a stylish hunting dog. It was a pleasing sight. But today, in a trial, it’s not so pleasing any more, because you know the dog is not going to be called back.
I ran a trial at Dover, Delaware, and Walter Roesler was the judge. I thought I was right up there with one of my dogs. But Jim Cowie had Bengal of Arden- I believe it was one of the Arden dogs- and that dog hunted and hunted and hunted. Walter Roesler got up on a stump to watch him hunt, and he watched him intently. I thought the dog would be picked up, but I lost the trial to him. I asked Mr. Roesler about it afterwards, and he said, “Chuck, that was the most beautiful job of hunting I have ever seen. It was wonderful, terrific.” Well, I felt kind of shocked that I didn’t win, but the more I thought about the courage of that statement, and the intelligence of it, the more I admired Walter Roesler. There was a dog who had all the hunt, all the style, you could want, and when he didn’t hit the bird on the head, which is an element of luck, the dog put on a hunting exhibition that could not be ignored, and was given his just credit. We know there is an element of luck in pinpointing a bird. Some falls are more difficult to find than others, and I think judges often overlook this.
It is too bad. Hunting is one of the beautiful parts of dog work, and it is too bad that the dogs are not given a fair opportunity. Of course, the time element has hurt the field trials. It has made eliminating dogs a mania with some judges. When there is a big entry, all the judge can think of is to get the dog on that bird – time is a-wastinf, I have got to get through 60 dogs, it looks like rain, and it is getting dark. So his only thought is to cut down the field, and the first step a dog makes that the judge can even consider wrong, he is out.
We have gone through cycles, no doubt. The emphasis was on land for a time, then the water became more important; long retrieves were the vogue for a while, then the time element, and the increasingly large entries, caused the pendulum to swing the other way, to short snappy retrieves. Then the long lining dogs looked bad, and the judges would drool in their anticipation of what the short birds would do. We had channel blinds until they went out of vogue, and a thousand were then advanced why you should not send your dog down a channel. Who would in a day’s hunt?
Brother, a trial is not to see what your dog would do in a day’s hunt, but what he will do under extraordinary conditions, judged by unusual people, and watched by and unusual gallery. The hunting tests? Nonsense! It’s the freakish field trial test.
On field trials and training for them Charlie Morgan further said:
The burden of blame for harsh treatment of dogs in training can be put squarely on the shoulders of the judges, who lay out absurd tests – down the channel, off the point, between the islands, skirting the shore. They are the last people in the world who can complain about the severe training methods of the professional. Hell, they are demanding it; the professional has no choice. And then they have the guts to say in hushed whispers to the owner of a dog who was dropped, that he had two or three whistle refusals, maybe even five or six. “See here in my book. It is written down.” The owner wanted some explanation, since his dog had marked well, hunted well, and had had several perfect series.
"When he stood up to speak, battalions of words issued forth from his mouth and scoured the countryside in search of an idea, and when they found one, they swiftly and thoroughly beat it to death." ---- -Anonymous