Also referred to as “horse pitching” (don’t worry, you aren’t required to chuck any horses).
Number of Players
2 horseshoe (or “U”) shaped irons per player. Horseshoes should not exceed 40 ounces in weight.
A 50’ long by 10’ wide court with a long stake driven into the ground at either end. The distance between the stakes should be 40’.
Determine an order of play using any desired method. Players take turns throwing (or “pitching”) their horseshoes from one end of the court to the stake at the opposite end. While pitching, a player’s feet may not be further than 3’ away from the stake at their end. A player throws both of their horseshoes consecutively on their turn. When 4 players are involved, players usually compete in 2 person teams, with one member of each team on each side of the court. Once all horseshoes have been pitched and the score tallied, players collect their horseshoes and pitch again.
There are two ways to earn points in horseshoes: by landing a horseshoe closest to the stake, or by throwing a “ringer.” A ringer is when a horseshoe completely encircles a stake. Ringers are worth 3 points. Whoever lands a horseshoe closest to the stake (after all horseshoes have been pitched) earns 1 point, however…a horseshoe must be within 6” of the stake in order to count. If no one lands a horseshoe within 6” of the stake, then no points are awarded for that round. On the other hand, if a single player manages to land both horseshoes closer to the stake than any other player (and they are both within 6”), that player scores 2 points instead of the usual 1 point. Point priority is always given to any horseshoe actually touching (or leaning on) the stake. If opposing players each land horseshoes at an equal distance from the stake, no points are awarded for that round. This includes ringers as well (in other words, if both players have a ringer, neither player earns points for it. If, however, a player has 2 ringers and their opponent only 1, then the player with 2 ringers will score 3 points).
To be the first player to reach a predetermined number of points. In official play, a game lasts for a total of 20 rounds (or innings), with the resulting highest score deciding the winner. Other competitions determine the winner to be the first player to reach 50 points, although for casual games the number is typically 21 or less.