Continuing a popular tradition, Merri Melde, The Equestrian Vagabond, reflects on outstanding photographic moments of the previous year in her online gallery, “A Fun Look Back at 2021”.
Rotator cuff surgery precluded riding for the first half of 2021, so Melde had to ‘settle’ for shooting Endurance and Trail competitions and high-speed desert motorbike racing.
“I guess there is one other good thing about shoulder surgery and the six months away from riding,” Melde said, “and that is the opportunity for photographing more events. I did learn to be creative in how I carried and held my cameras while shooting.
“I love the challenge of finding the Endurance ride shots that capture the unique scenery and accurately depict the terrain and elements that test horses and riders. One of my favorite rides to shoot is Antelope Island in Utah, which takes place in a State Park in the Great Salt Lake. Every spot is a scenic opportunity, and with the light and weather changing just about every five minutes, perspectives also change. An added bonus there is staying alert for and avoiding the buffalo, and having a safe place to shelter if you see one ambling your way!”
When not shooting Endurance events, Melde competed in the sport aboard her off-the-track Standardbred Hillbillie Willie. Melde achieved a career-high 9000 AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) miles while Willie reached the 1000-mile mark.
Melde’s published credits in 2021 included photos and articles in Horse Illustrated, Mules and More, Friends of Sound Horses, and Endurance.net. Four more magazine covers made a total of 59. She self-published her fifth book, The Alphabet According to Stormy: A Delightful Horse Coloring Book, with her cartoon illustrations featuring her beloved OTTB Stormy, who crossed the rainbow bridge at 30 in 2021.
2022 looks to be a stellar year, with two good shoulders, numerous events lined up, and horse books and travel adventure books in the works.
For more information on The Equestrian Vagabond and to see more samples of Melde’s work, see: www.TheEquestrianVagabond.com