Horse soccer? It's real. Submitted: 10/03/2013
MERRILL - A local stable finds a unique way to train their horses. In fact, it's so unique the Today Show featured the group in it's segment, "Fact or Fiction." "It's a blast. You've got a big horse kicking a big ole' ball around and it looks silly. It's a lot of fun. Anybody can get into it," says Equine Soccer player Marty Bever. He plays at the Keystone Stables in Merrill.

That's where America's Equine Soccer League got its start. "Equine soccer is a training tool that we slowly started playing real soccer games with. There are other people in the country that do this. We use it as a way to get on your horses in the winter instead of parking them outside in the winter, waiting for the snow to thaw," explains league creator Terry Fenwick. It also gives people the chance to improve their skills and relationships with their horses. Other riders around the country play the sport thanks to Terry Fenwick and his wife, Jolene. They started the league in 1997. Now people from all riding backgrounds and ages play. "Right now we play 3 on 3. We're in a 60 by 120 arena...So we have 2 forwards, we have a goalie. It's a lot like your regular soccer game," says Fenwick. But equine soccer is more than just a game. It helped Marty Bever transition back to civilian life after serving in Iraq. He's been back for three years. "It was just able to calm me down a little bit. And that was kind of a nice transition back into the civilian life," Bever explains. The Today Show featured the league on its Wednesday show. Members of America's Equine Soccer League hope the national attention will inspire others to join. "The fact that they found us and wanted to do something about us is really humbling. We hope that it takes off and helps us go. We hope that we can use this to better the game and better the league, and get more people interested in this," explains Fenwick. "I've met some really great friends and I can't wait for every season to start," adds Bever. They hope you'll feel the same way.

Story By: Lauren Stephenson

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