The Equestrian Vagabond, Merri Melde, shares another year in the life of an equine photographer in the gallery, “A Fun Look Back at 2022.”
The gallery includes favorite images from Melde’s photo shoots at endurance rides in Idaho, Utah, California, and Washington; jumping and cross-country events in Idaho; and between-the-ears shots while competing in endurance with her off-the-track Standardbred, Hillbillie Willie.
Melde says, “I love the challenge of combining the right place of spectacular backdrop, the right timing of best positions or strides, and the aesthetic angle of lighting that best showcases the horse and rider and event. I can’t always get all three, but I work with what I’ve got to create those lasting memories that depict the event and represent the bond between rider and horse.”
The best shot of the year was one Melde did not get – one of a mountain lion walking across the road in front of her while heading to the Spanish Peaks Pioneer endurance ride in Colorado.
Melde tells the story: “As I drove toward Ridecamp in the evening, I said ‘Maybe I’ll see a cougar today.’ It is cougar country – I heard one while out shooting on a trail there the previous year – but I say that for good luck all the time. I literally rounded the next bend in the road to see a magnificent cougar ambling across the road in front of me. I rolled to a stop, completely stunned – and unprepared. I had five cameras in my car, and do you think I had a single one handy to get a picture?
“I couldn’t tear my eyes away from him. This is the eighth cougar I’ve seen but every time it’s breathtaking. My hand managed to find and grab a point-and-shoot camera bag, but my shaking fingers could not unzip it. The cougar stopped and posed for me, waiting for his photo shoot, but by the time I fumbled the camera out and turned it on, I just got a cougar butt walking away in the brush. Now I always keep at least a point-and-shoot camera ready beside me just in case. You never stop learning lessons in photography!”
Throughout the year, Melde’s published photos and articles appeared in Horse Illustrated, Mules and More, The Horse, Endurance News, Endurance.net, Friends of Sound Horses, and Cavalo Árabe.
For more information on The Equestrian Vagabond and to see more samples of Melde’s work, see: www.TheEquestrianVagabond.com