How to Play Horseshoes Properly (and win)–Equipment, Throws, etc.


The game of horseshoes is played outdoors between two people with four horseshoes and two stakes, which are your throwing targets. It’s usually done in a sandbox, but can be played anywhere outside with

sufficient open space. The players will alternate taking turns in throwing their horseshoes at the stakes in the ground, which are usually spaced 40 feet (12.19 m) apart. It’s an interesting fact that the actual game of horsehoes uses a U-shaped bar specifically designed for the game which is about twice the size of a real

horseshoe (that is, a shoe designed to go on a horse’s foot 😉 ). Today, the expert I’ve got on hand to teach you how to play horseshoes (and win), plus a few tricks you won’t get elsewhere as well, is Jim Harris. Jim has been active in organized horseshoe play for 31 years beginning in 1977. He has played in over 500 tournaments at an average of about 16 per year. He has played in 15 World Tournaments throughout the U.S and Canada, and he won the Alabama State Elders Championship in 2004 and 2006. Let’s get started.

Part 1: Introduction and what you’re going to learn

Part 2: Rules and 30ft vs 40ft

Part 3: Necessary equipment

A very similar kit to what you see there that I personally recommend to people getting started out that comes with everything you need (including a very durable carrying case, which is a huge plus) is this Champion Sports steel horseshoe set.

Part 4: Proper grips for throwing

Part 5: Game demonstration

Additional Resources and Further Reading

You should head on over to the NHPA (National Horseshoe Pitchers Association) Website and see what they’ve got. has got an excellent page (here) full of resources including where to find places to play, rules, diagrams, and other tutorials.