FREELANCE photographer Mel Taylor is dogged in her pursuit of gold.

Last year she reached the final of the fiercely-contested Guild of Photographers' Image of the Year Competition with her captivating canine compositions.

This year, she still has a horse in the race and has been nominated for her equine photography.

The 52-year-old, who lives in Letcombe Regis just outside Wantage, has taken advantage of having huge number of horses on her doorstep by focussing her work on the animals.

Letcombe, nestling below the Ridgeway, is just a few miles from race horse training epicentre Lambourn, and has several stables.

Mrs Taylor, a full-time photographer, has tried to capture their personalities in her loving examinations of long faces and long eyelashes.

Her successes have once again wowed the competition judges and given her a second chance at the guild gold.

The mother-of-two, who lives with her husband Richard and their three dogs, said she was delighted to be in the running again.

She said: "The guild is such a highly-respected UK association for photographers which has members from overseas as well.

"Each year it runs an online monthly photographic competition with awards only given to the very best entries."

This year's competition has attracted nearly 10,000 entries in four categories.

In December the judges whittled that down to just ten images in the various genres from the best of the monthly entries to go forward to the annual final.

Guild director Lesley Thirsk singled out Mrs Taylor's equine studies for praise.

She said: "One of the guild's aims is to drive standards and creativity amongst photographers.

"Our monthly competition certainly does that, for the standard of the entries we see each month is quite staggering.

"To have an image recognised by the guild in the monthly competition is difficult enough, so to have an image selected as being one of the best ten in a category for the end-of-year final is a quite remarkable achievement, and shows just how talented a photographer Mel Taylor is."

The judges will make their decisions in late January and the overall winner will be announced at a lavish awards night at a Jacobean mansion in Cheshire on February 4.