Horseshoes are made of iron and often used as a symbol of good luck. They are also a fun and challenging backyard game that can be played with friends and family. While you can find horseshoe courts at some parks and campgrounds, you can also build your own court in your own backyard with minimal effort. Before you can play horseshoes, however, it is necessary to understand what the size of a horseshoe is and how to construct a proper pit.
You will need a pair of horseshoes for each player. Each shoe should be painted a different color to help distinguish the shoes from one another. A spare shoe should be kept on hand for use in the event of a broken shoe during a game. Each team scores points for each ringer thrown. The team with the most ringers at the end of an end wins. A ringer is defined as a horseshoe that completely encircles the stake. The NHPA recommends that pit fill be at least 8 inches deep. Sand is a common pit fill, but you can use clay, dirt, or other materials that meet NHPA standards.
A regulation horseshoe pit requires two stakes in the ground set 40 feet apart, with foul marks at 37 feet from each stake. The pit should also be at least four feet wide and six feet long to provide plenty of room for players. It is a good idea to place backstops behind each stake to prevent errant steel shoes from crashing into people, pets, delicate plants, or breakable furnishings.
Once you have the pit frame in place, lay down landscape fabric to suppress weeds and grass. If desired, you can cover the fabric with a layer of concrete to help keep the soil from shifting while playing. If you choose to leave the fabric uncovered, be sure to make it tall enough to allow for a splash force when throwing horseshoes.
Next, fill each pit box with the pit fill material. The pit should be at least eight inches deep for a NHPA-compliant horseshoe pit. Sand is the most common pit fill, but you can use dirt, clay, or other materials that meet NHPA guidelines. You should also slant each stake at an angle towards the other so that when they are driven in, they remain 14 inches above the ground.
Before you start to pitch horseshoes, check with your local ordinances to see if you need a permit for the construction of a pit. If you do, apply for a permit and wait for it to be approved. When you are ready to begin, be sure to have a partner and take turns pitching. Have a great time and be safe! Don’t forget to wear a helmet and eye protection when playing. You can never be too careful! If you have questions about horseshoes or if you need additional information, please feel free to contact us.