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Backyard Sports

Backyard Horseshoe Pits

Standard dimensions & popular materials for horseshoe pits

  • A horseshoe pit with a timber backboard.

How to Play Horseshoes

Learn how to play and score a game of horseshoes by reading The Rules of Horseshoe Pitching(PDF)

Horseshoe pit perspective drawing

Horseshoes can be played on lawn, gravel, decomposed granite or sand. The standard play consists of 2 stakes 40 feet apart, however you can play with just one stake and draw a line at whatever distance you wish to play. Just make sure that you allow ample throw room. You wouldn't want to accidently hit any spectators. Rebound boards can be set behind each stake and built of 2-3 courses of rail ties or pressure treated lumber.

Horseshoe Court Anatomy:

  • Pit - area surrounding the stake, typically filled with a loose material
  • Pitching platform - area where players stand to pitch shoes
  • Stake - an angled metal rod that sticks 15" out of the center of each pit
  • Backboard - a barrier behind each pit that keeps shoes and flying sand in their place

Popular Materials for Horseshoe Pits:

  • Loose soil
  • Sawdust
  • Sand
  • Blue clay
  • Tip: Anchoring the stake will hold it in place and absorb shock. This will reduce ringer losses and keep the stake from becoming loose. Anchoring options include concrete, metal braces attached to a wooden frame or a wooden beam, all of which will be buried under your chosen pit material.
  • Tip: Since horseshoe pits are filled with loose material, weeds can become a problem. Make sure a weed barrier is laid in the bottom of each pit before filling with soil, sawdust, sand or clay.

Contributing Author:

Scott Cohen, contributing writer for Landscaping Network and owner of The Green Scene

Related Links

Bocce Ball
Ladder Ball
Putting Greens

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