The goal is to be the first player or team to reach a predetermined score, typically 21 points, by throwing horseshoes closest to or around a stake.


  1. Stakes: Place two stakes 40 feet apart from each other.
  2. Players: The game can be played one-on-one or in teams of two.
  3. Horseshoes: Each player or team gets two horseshoes.


  1. Turns: Players take turns throwing both horseshoes at the opposite stake. In team play, partners stand at opposite stakes.
  2. Tossing: Players must throw the horseshoes from behind the foul line, which is typically 3 feet in front of each stake.


  1. Ringer: A horseshoe that completely encircles the stake is worth 3 points.
  2. Leaners: A horseshoe that leans against the stake is worth 2 points.
  3. Closest Shoe: A horseshoe closer to the stake than any of the opponent’s is worth 1 point.
  4. Cancellation Scoring: Only one player or team can score in each round. Opponent’s horseshoes that are closer cancel out each other’s points. For example, if both players have one horseshoe each close to the stake, the points cancel out and no points are awarded for those shoes.
  5. Exact Score to Win: Some variations require a team to score exactly 21 points to win. If they exceed 21 points, their score may revert to 15 points (this is a house rule and can vary).


  • The game can be played to any predetermined number of points, typically 21.


  • Foul Line: If a player steps over the foul line while throwing, that throw does not count.
  • Measurement: If there is a dispute over which horseshoe is closest, a measurement can be taken from the stake to the closest point of the horseshoe.