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Whether you have played the game before or you are looking for something to do at the next picnic, horseshoes can provide hours of entertainment for everyone. One of the really appealing elements of horseshoes is that anyone can play.

The first thing should be discussed are the fundamentals of horseshoes. You can play a match with either two players competing against eachother, or two 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 just need to modify the way the turn functions to accommodate one person instead of two.

Horseshoe Equipment

The equipment required for horseshoes is minimal. You need two sets of horseshoes (four complete horseshoes since they’re paired), two metal stakes, and a scoreboard is discretionary. That’s it! If you are searching for a professional set, you can see them by typing”horseshoes set” into your favourite search engine online.

Basic Game Play

Take the horseshoe bets and place 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 finished, let’s get into the action!

So each side has a member from Team A and a member from Team B. Flip a coin to see how throws first. When throwing the horseshoe, the pitcher (the person throwing the horseshoe) should stand 37 feet from the opposite bet. An easy way to do this is to place a mark 3 feet in front of each stake, which will be considered the foul line. The pitcher throws both horseshoes in the opposite stake. The object is to get your horseshoes to land as close to the stake as possible. When the first pitcher is done, another pitcher then throws the horseshoes from his team. So both teams on one side throw their horseshoes at precisely the exact same stake.


Just one team may score per inning. Whichever team gets the closest horseshoe to the bet, scores. If both horseshoes from one team are closer than any other horseshoe in another group, 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 bet (telephone a ringer). That is what a ringer is in horseshoes, 1 horseshoe wraps round the stake. The”hooks” of the horseshoe (the points which point inwards on the bottom of the horseshoe) is the boundary line when deciding a ringer. The stake has to be within those hooks.

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


A team wins when they are the only team to hit 21 or above in the end of the inning. If an inning ends and both teams are tied (have the same score) then you continue to play until one groups ends an inning with a higher score.

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