1 . The courts
Stakes are placed 40 feet apart.
Stakes should extend 14 to 15 inches above the pit surface.
Stakes may be inclined toward each other, but not more than a 3 inch lean.
Stakes are solid or hollow steel 1 inch in diameter.
Stakes should be a minimum of 21 inches from the front and back of the pit.
Pits are constructed 31 to 36 inches wide and 43 to 72 inches deep. If the pit is less than the maximum dimensions, the extra space shall be filled with the same material of which the platforms are made and shall be level with the pit and platforms. the stake at the center.
Pits are best filled with clay, which must be watered periodically to maintain its texture. Sand, sawdust, and loose soil are more commonly used. The purpose of the filler is to keep the shoes from bouncing excessively, so any material that accomplishes this can be used. Minimum depth of the substance is 4 inches but 8 inches is recommended.
A foul line is marked 3 feet in front of each stake. Thus, the resulting throwing distance (foul line to opposite stake) is 37 feet. For Female, Junior, and Elderly contestants the foul line is 27 feet from the opposite stake.
2 . Backboards
Backboard should be at least four feet behind the stake.
Should be at least one foot high and extend the width of the pit.
3 . The horseshoe
It shall not weigh more than 2 pounds, 10 ounces.
It shall not exceed 7 1 4 inches in width.
It shall not exceed 7 5 8 inches in length.
n a parallel line 3 4 inch from a straightedge touching the points of the shoe, the opening of the shoe must not exceed 3 1 2 inches.
4 . The rules
Each player pitches both shoes followed by the opponents two shoes.
In pitching a shoe, the player may not cross the foul line.
When playing teams, half the team throws from one stake and half throws from the other.
Games can be played to 40 points in a point limit game or 40 shoes in a shoe limit game. In the shoe limit game the player with the highest points wins. If a tie exists then each player can take a half win or a two inning tie breaker can be thrown.
5 . Scoring
Any shoe must be within one horseshoe width (measured across the outside of the open end of the shoe) of the stake to be considered for points. (Official rules call for 6 inches max).
The closest shoe to the stake gets 1 point.
If you have two shoes closer than any of your opponents, you get 2 points.
Ringers are worth 3 points each and must completely encircle the stake so the ends can be touched with a straight edge without touching the stake.
If you have the closest shoe and a ringer, its 4 points.
If your opponent throws a ringer on top of yours, they cancel and no points are scored.
Leaners are worth 1 point and are considered closer than any adjacent shoe except ringers.
6 . The equipment
To play horseshoes, all you need are four shoes and two stakes. For true regulation play, you should create two sand pits about 40 feet apart with the stake positioned in the center of each pit. This is fairly simple to create on your own. My friends made their own playing field by digging out two rectangle pits, throwing in a bit of concrete to anchor the stakes, and filling the pits with sand from the hardware store.
7 . Playing the Game
Horseshoes can be played by two individuals or two teams. A good old fashioned coin toss determines who will pitch first.We play our own version of backyard horseshoes. Each game is divided up into innings. During each inning, each player gets to pitch two shoes. The goal is to ring the stake with the horseshoe. Ringing means that the horseshoe must be hooked on the stake and that both ends of the horseshoe must clear the stake.
8 . Dimensions
A horseshoe court shall be a level rectangular area 6 ft wide and a minimum of 46 ft long. A north south setting is recommended for outdoor courts to minimize the effects of the sun.
9 . Pitchers box
The pitchers box is the square 6 ft by 6 ft area at each end of the court. It is composed of 2 parts 1) the pit, and 2) the pitching platforms.
a. PIT The pit is a rectangular area filled with the substance onto which the shoes are pitched. Its maximum length (in the direction in which the shoes are pitched) is 72 inches and its minimum length is 43 inches. Its maximum width is 36 inches and its minimum width is 31 inches. The pit must be centered in the pitchers box. If the pit is less than the maximum dimensions, the extra space shall be filled with the same material of which the platforms are made, or some other material different than the pit substance, and shall be level with the pit and platforms.
b. Pitching Platforms The pitching platforms flank the pit to its left and right sides and are parallel to each other. They shall be level with each other and to the top of the pit. They shall be 18 to 20 1 2 inches wide (depending upon the width of the pit) and shall be a minimum of 6 ft. long.
10 . Stakes
The stake is the target at which the shoe is pitched. Each stake shall be centered between the platforms with a minimum of 21 inches from the stake to the front and back of the pit. On regulation courts the stakes are 40 ft. apart. This is measured from the front of each stake level with the pitching platform. Stakes shall be 1 inch in diameter and may be made of cold rolled steel, mild iron, soft metal or synthetic material. Each stake shall be no shorter than 14 and no higher than 15 inches above pit level and they shall both have an approximate 3 inch lean toward each other.