Find out more about the SAVHDA Judges here! Every so often we will profile one Judge from each Region. This month, we introduce Razvan Vlad Berindan and Trudi Winter.
Vlad has been an avid hunter and wingshooter for 15 years, starting in 2003 when he began the Hunter’s program required in Romania. To become a hunter (not a PH, just a hunter!) in Romania one must complete a one year apprenticeship, which includes at least 5 compulsory practical outings and theoretical preparation for the required extensive written exam. The exam includes in-depth knowledge of hunting dogs and different breeds of hunting dogs.
Vlad successfully completed the requirements and became a qualified hunter in 2004, when he also began acquainting himself with all types of hunting and hunting dogs, accompanying experienced hunters and their dogs on hunts. He also began attending tests and learning about the German testing system. He continued hunting and learning as much as he could about gundog care, training, testing and performance, with a view to owning his own dog as soon as he found the right one.
In 2006, he purchased his first gundog, a Deutsch Draathaar imported from Hungary. She was partially trained, but Vlad continued her training up to the HZP requirements and by 2007 she was up to the standards. He also had a Deutsch Jagdterrier, which he trained, tested, and used for wild boar hunting and driven hunts.
Vlad moved to South Africa in 2008, and unfortunately could not bring his dogs with him. He continued hunting, but only acquired another dog in 2016, when he was given an unwanted GSP female, Dot. He started training her based on the German methods that he was familiar with and managed to get her back on track and performing according to what she was bred for. Due to Vlad’s efforts and knowledge, by early 2017 she had become a well-trained, efficient versatile hunting dog!
Vlad had also joined SAVHDA during that time, participating in training days and judging Workshops. We recognized that Vlad understood the philosophy and practical aspects of the German testing system, had experience in the tests, and so we began the process of qualifying him as a Judge. Vlad became a SAVHDA Judge shortly thereafter, and has since judged at 4 tests, helped at many training days, and also became a professional gundog trainer working with Matthew Berry at Boavida. He also became a PH, completing the qualifications in 2017.
Dot, the unwanted rescue dog, is now one of only 3 dogs in SA to have passed the SAVHDA Advanced Test, having qualified recently at the Suikerbosrand Test! Vlad has moved on to hunting professionally and we wish him best of luck in this new endeavor. He will continue to be involved with and an asset to SAVHDA.
Trudi has been involved with gundogs for over 25 years, starting first with Springer Spaniels, then moving on to German Shorthaired Pointers. She has trained dogs and judged in virtually all aspects of gundog performance and is the only Judge in South Africa that is an accredited Senior Judge Field Trial Judge for Retrievers, Spaniels, British Breeds and the Hunt Point and Retrieve Breeds. She has judged all gundog disciplines in SA extensively and has travelled widely with exposure to different tests and field trials in Germany (Solms, Derby, VGP, Kleeman) and the USA (Field Trials and NAVHDA tests). She qualified to judge the German Tests of Derby and Solms under the Deutsch Kurzhaar Verband in 2003.
Together with her husband, Bob, Trudi has been training, hunting, field trialling and breeding German Shorthaired Pointers for 25 years. An avid wingshooter, Trudi quickly saw the ability of the GSP and so began a lifetime commitment to seeing the breed flourish. During this time, she has had multiple field trial awards and wins with her own dogs, multiple awards in HPR Open Stakes and has qualified dogs for British Breed Championship Stakes and the HPR National Championship. Dogs bred by her under the Bhulisa affix have been the HPR Field Trial Dog of the Year 4 times, and 3 have become Field Trial Champions. To date, one of these dogs has become the first and only HPR Dual Champion (Field and Show) in South Africa, and the same dog was the first dog to pass the SAVHDA Advanced Test! A number of Bhulisa dogs – all bred from solid working stock - have become Show Champions and two won Best in Show awards, a massive accomplishment even by show standards. Much of this breeding success was achieved by the importation of top quality working dogs and frozen semen, the use of which she and Bob were the first to apply in the GSP breed in 1997.
Trudi has served on the Cape Field Trial Club committee for 25 years and is a founder member of the Western Cape Field Trial Club (WCFTC). Under the Cape Field Trial Club, she was instrumental in establishing Spaniel trials in the Western Cape, and later established HPR Trials in the Western Cape. She is currently a representative for the WCFTC on the National Field Trial Association’s Executive Committee and serves as Secretary for the Association.
Although field trialling is a passion of Trudi’s, it has always been a goal to establish a countrywide system of versatile testing for the HPR breeds in South Africa. That opportunity came along with SAVHDA, in which she is Founder Member and Trustee on the Executive Committee, Test Development Director, and Website Development Director. She is actively involved in SAVHDA training and testing, particularly in the Western Cape, but also often participates in upcountry tests and workshops. To date she has judged at the majority of SAVHDA Tests held, often in a Senior Judging capacity, and looks forward to the day when more SAVHDA Judges are qualified so she can test and devote more time to her own dogs and to wingshooting!
Matthew Berry is a Professional dog trainer with over 30 years of experience, 20 of which are in the field of Gundog training. He has spent 30 years training and breeding personal protection/security dogs, and 20 years training, hunting, and breeding Drahthaars/GWPs and GSPs under the Boavida affix.
In addition to his protection and gundog successes, Matthew has also successfully developed a unique strain of local livestock protection dogs that are internationally sought after and recognized. He has co-authored international papers with renowned canine behaviourists, most notably Ray Coppinger et al.
An avid hunter and wingshooter, Matthew is no stranger to gundogs and their performance. Matthew served on the KZN HPR Field Trial Club committee for many years, convening their field trials and also serving as Chairperson. He has acted as field steward and also completed several learner Judging appointments in HPR field Trials.
He was privileged to be a learner judge in the Drahthaar/VDD/JGHV hunting tests in Germany, where his passion for the German Testing system was ignited. He is a founder member of SAVHDA and is the current Chairperson. Matthew completed his Judging requirements at the Inaugural Field Meet and at several Workshops and Seminars over the past 2 years. He has served as Judge, Senior Judge and Test Director at numerous Tests during that time, and qualified his own dogs in the Junior Versatile Hunting Test, Preliminary Retrieving Test, and Novice Hunting Test. Additionally, he also has HPR field Trial placements with his dogs.
Matthew is also well-versed in blood tracking training, which is a part of his professional training services. This is an aspect of testing that SAVHDA will be introducing in late 2018.
In addition to training, Matthew regularly hosts GSP Rescue fund raising days at his training facility – a valuable service to aid this organization and to give back to the community. He also works with other breeds. You will always find a number of rescue dogs that are being kept at Matthew’s kennels until such time as they find suitable homes.
Mariann Wilson has trained multiple breeds of dogs for over 25 years and is a Qualified Animal Behaviourist (UK – 2006). Born in South Africa, she spent a few years in the UK, where she participated in agility and HPR working tests with her German Shorthaired Pointer, Brooke.
In 2007, she returned to South Africa from the UK, bringing with her a husband (Dale) and Brooke. She quickly became involved in the Western Cape and Cape Field Trial Clubs, participating in working tests and field trials for Retrievers and HPRs. During this time, she also became involved in K9 Search and Rescue, and Brooke became an accredited Search and Rescue dog. Mariann herself became a Certified Handler and Assessor for Search and Rescue.
Mariann regularly participates in agility trials and field trials, and has multiple agility and jumping credits, as well as multiple field trial awards in Retriever trials and British Breed trials with her home bred male dog, Zed. She is a regular participant in HPR field trials and working tests, and has completed the requirements to be a learner judge in both Retriever and HPR/BB trials. She participates regularly in surveys and wingshoots, and recently purchased her own shotgun in order to pursue her love of training and hunting over versatile hunting dogs.
She is a Founder member of SAVHDA, and assistant Regional Representative for the Cape Region. She has been instrumental in getting SAVHDA’s working tests up and running, learner judging at the Inaugural Tests and the first Western Cape tests, and thereafter judging regularly and acting as Test Director in other SAVHDA Tests. During this time, she also attended SAVHDA judging workshops and participated in other SAVHDA training and handling seminars, assisting in the organization and running of these. In addition to her field trial awards, she has qualified Zed in both the Junior Versatile Hunting Test and the Preliminary Retrieving Test, as well as having passed the KUSA Natural Ability Test with both of her dogs.