How To Play Horseshoes Game [Rules & Instructions]



horseshoes game

How To Play Horseshoes Game

To play the horseshoes game, set up the horseshoe set. One horseshoe stake is hammered into the ground and the other stake is hammered in the ground about 40 feet away from the first stake (or less depending upon your gameplay area). The stakes themselves will stick out about 14 inches above the ground.

The player that chooses the red horseshoes is the first player to start. You can also start the other way around. It’s your backyard.

The first player tosses their two horseshoes down the gameplay area to try and ring it around the horseshoe stake at the opposite end of the gameplay area. After the first player goes, the second player tosses their two horseshoes down the gameplay area to try and ring it around the very same stake as the first player.

Then both players will walk toward the stake that they threw their 4 horseshoes at to start. They will add up their scores for that round and pick up their horseshoes. Next, they will continue to play by alternating sides to ring the opposite end stake.

Players add up their total score to see who scores 21 and wins the game. To score the game, if the horseshoe is thrown around the stake it’s called a ringer and is worth 3 points. Each horseshoe at least 5 inches away from the stake is worth 1 point each. If you’re playing leaners then that leaner is worth 2 points. Add up scores to determine the winner. The winner is the first one to reach 21 points total for all rounds.

Let’s Get Started Playing

You want to play a horseshoes game so let’s get you all set up including knowing what equipment to use and how to set the equipment up. Now, these instructions aren’t the official horseshoes game official rules but they may be even better. Then let’s learn how to play, score, and maybe learn a little strategy…which the strategy is to practice a lot. Here we go…

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Horseshoes Game Wikipedia

Game Equipment

To play horseshoes you will need a fairly nice horseshoes game set. The horseshoe game set includes:

  • Two red horseshoes – horseshoes can be a variety of colors, shapes, and textures
  • Two blue horseshoes
  • Two horseshoes stakes

Game Setup

Hammer one stake into the ground and hammer the other stake into the ground 40 feet from the first stake.

Each player grabs two of the same colored horseshoes representing their team; the red team and the blue team

The red team is the first to play and both players start throwing from the same side.

How To Play Horseshoes

The first player throws his two red horseshoes at the stake at the opposite end of the gameplay area. The second player throws his two blue horseshoes at the stake at the opposite end of the gameplay area. The object of the game is to wrap your horseshoe around the stake each time you throw.

After both teams throw both of their horseshoes, they move to the other end of the gameplay area to both pick up their horseshoes and begin the next round of throwing toward the stake at the opposite end of the gameplay area.

You continue to throw and then alternate sides while playing a game.

Scoring System

First, agree if “Leaners” count (where a horseshoe is leaning on the stake after coming to rest), and if they do count they’re worth 2 points

A “Ringer” (where the horseshoe is wrapping around the stake after coming to rest) gets you 3 points

A “Close” horseshoe coming to rest 5 inches or less from the stake receive 1 point each. (Instead of 5 inches you can use the full length of a horseshoe to measure closeness)

Any other throws that aren’t a ringer, leaner or close don’t count for points but only count for laughs. If you miss completely, you should add that the person has to take a drink of beer or a shot to make it more interesting.

The first team to reach 21 is the winner.

Game Strategy

Practice makes perfect with horseshoes. You will need to practice your stance, your throw, your footwork, your release point, and most importantly how to make the horseshoe go the full distance to reach the stake after the horseshoe comes to rest.