Whether you have played the game in the past or you’re searching for something to do at the next picnic, horseshoes can provide hours of entertainment for everyone. One of the really appealing aspects of horseshoes is that anyone can play. Men, women, kids, even the elderly can play the game without risking injury or building up too much of a sweat!

The first thing should be discussed are the fundamentals of horseshoes. You can play a game with both players competing against eachother, or 2 teams of 2 players each. I will assume that you have two teams of 2 players each for this article. If you play with just two players competing against eachother then you simply need to modify how the turn functions to accommodate 1 person rather than two.

Horseshoe Equipment

The equipment needed for horseshoes is minimal. You need two sets of horseshoes (four total horseshoes because they are paired), two metal stakes, and a scoreboard is optional. If you’re searching for a professional set, you can see them by typing”horseshoes set” into your favorite search engine online.

Basic Game Play

Take the horseshoe stakes and set them in the ground 40 feet apart from eachother. These become the “pits” and are the spots each team will be aiming for when throwing the horseshoes. Now that the setup is complete, let’s get into the action!

1 member from each team stands on opposite sides. When throwing the horseshoe, the pitcher (the person throwing the horseshoe) should stand 37 feet from the opposite bet. A simple way to do it is to place a marker 3 feet in front of each stake and this will be regarded as the foul line. The pitcher throws both horseshoes in the opposite stake. The thing is to get your horseshoes to land as near to the stake as possible. When the first pitcher is completed, another pitcher then throws the horseshoes from his team. So both teams on one side throw their horseshoes in precisely the exact same stake. When both pitchers have thrown the score is tallied and the inning is considered to be over.


Just one team may score per inning. Whichever team gets the closest horseshoe into the bet, scores. If both horseshoes from 1 team are closer than any other horseshoe from the other team, then both horseshoes are scored. A team is awarded one point if a horseshoe is within 6 inches from the stake and 3 points if the horseshoes is about the stake (call a ringer). A simple way to visualize this is to take your left arm with elbow bent, and point your hand upwards. Make your right hand into a “C” shape and grab your left arm. That is what a ringer is in horseshoes, one horseshoe wraps around the stake. The”hooks” of the horseshoe (the points that point inwards on the base of the horseshoe) is the border line when determining a ringer. The stake must be within those hooks.

Some amateur games play with”leaners”. This implies that if a horseshoe is leaning on the stake, or touching the stake (although not a ringer) then it’s worth two points. There are a couple variations of what counts as a thinner that differs from game to game depending on where you play and that you play with.


A team wins when they are the only team to hit 21 or above at the end of the inning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *