Horseshoes is a popular lawn game that is played between two people or teams. A set of horseshoes consists of four horseshoes and two throwing targets. Each team gets two horseshoes to throw.

How to play horseshoes

Horseshoes is played by players or teams alternating tossing the horseshoes at the throwing targets, which are stakes in the ground. The stakes are usually placed 40 feet apart, though this can be reduced for younger players or if there is limited space. Though the game used to be played with actual horseshoes, modern game sets now use U-shaped bars that are actually much bigger than real horseshoes. Casual games of horseshoes are played like this:

  1. Each team throws a horseshoe to see which team gets to go first.
  2. The winning team of the horseshoe toss stands at one stake and throws its horseshoes at the opposite stake.
  3. The opposite team throws its horseshoes at the opposite stake.
  4. At this point, scoring is calculated and the rounds continue until one team earns 15 points.
See the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association for official tournament rules.


There are two ways to score in a game of horseshoes. In order to score, a horseshoe must be thrown within six inches (the width of a horseshoe) of the stake. Whichever team’s horseshoe is the closest within this six inches earns one point. If the team has two horseshoes that are both closer than the other team’s within six inches of the stake, then that team earns a point for each stake. Teams can also score by throwing a ringer. A ringer is when a player throws a horseshoe completely around the stake, and is worth three points. In order for a throw to be counted as a ringer, a straight edge is used. The straight edge is lined up with the ends of the horseshoe. If the straight edge does not touch the stake, then the throw is a ringer. We are now offering horseshoe sets as part of our new summer games. Horseshoes would be a great game for the whole family, and would be a fun thing to do at your next gathering.