August 19, 2013 • 08:31:11 a.m.

Horses in spotlight at St. Charles festival

By ERIC SCHELKOPF - eschelkopf

Team USA from the Armed Combat League performs during Sunday's Festival of The Horse & Drum at the Kane County Fairgrounds. (Jeff Krage – For Shaw Media)

ST. CHARLES – Local artist Peggy Sue Seehafer fell in love with horses at a young age. And she still has that love for horses today.

"When there's a little girl in you that loves horses, it doesn't go away," Seehafer said Sunday, while putting the final brush strokes on her painting of carousel horses.

Seehafer was part of a gallery show presented by the St. Charles Arts Council at the Festival of the Horse and Drum at the Kane County Fairgrounds. The festival featured everything from an equine art show to an American Indian pow wow.

Seehafer and her husband, Richard, restore carousel animals out of their home near St. Charles. She also owns horses.

Batavia photographer Elsie McConnell shares Seehafer's love for horses. Her work was also on display at the gallery show.

"Horses are my favorite subject to photograph," McConnell said. "The eyes are the window to the soul, so I try to capture that. I try to capture the aura of a horse."

The 62-year-old McConnell has been riding horses since she was 7 years old and has won her share of ribbons.

"It's a bond when you can train an animal," McConnell said.

And as those attending Elizabeth Graves' workshop found out, there's a certain way to train horses.

"A horse learns one experience at a time and you want those experiences to be as good as possible," said Graves, who owns Shades Of Oak Ranch LLC in Spring Valley, Minn. "Great training is like watching paint dry. It's not exciting."

Jackie Oh, 12, of St. Charles, watched the Friesian horse demonstration with fascination.

"The horses were so pretty," she said. "I love horses. I have been riding for four years."

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