The best horseshoe set
What popular game that's still played today was also enjoyed in some form by Revolutionary War soldiers and even the ancient Romans? Hint: It's not duck, duck, goose. It's horseshoes, a traditional lawn game that gets players of all ages involved in the fun. Getting a good horseshoe set is a great way to bond with your friends and family while enjoying some healthy outdoor competition.
Read this easy buying guide for the best advice on purchasing a great horseshoe set. You might want to check out our top choice, the St. Pierre American Professional Horseshoe Set, which works well for beginners as well as more advanced players.
Considerations when choosing horseshoe sets
Recreational vs. sport horseshoes
Recreational and sport horseshoes are different from one another in a few key ways:
Recreational horseshoes are usually made of iron alloy, drop-forged steel, rubber, or plastic.
Sport horseshoes, on the other hand, are twice the size of recreational ones, are always made of some kind of steel, and have rounded edges to make throwing more comfortable.
Ages of players
Take into account the ages and skill levels of players for your horseshoes games. If you will be playing with small children, then plastic or rubber horseshoes will probably be the best option.
Think about the size and terrain of the spot where you want to play horseshoes. This may have an impact on the type of set you choose or on the size of the horseshoes you want to buy.
One of the most convenient features of a modern horseshoe set is a nice carrying case. Some are made of nylon while the best quality ones are made of wood. You'll look like a real pro showing up at the park or a friend's home with this type of gear.
Some horseshoe sets have a premium finish such as powder coating or brass for both improved looks and durability. If you are purchasing a horseshoe set as a gift, consider getting one with a premium finish.
Horseshoes are available in a variety of different colors. Some people like the convenience of different-colored shoes for different players. Others, though, prefer the traditional look of bare metal horseshoes.
There are a few recreational horseshoe sets available that come with built-in LED lights. These sets are a fun way to play horseshoes as the sun goes down, and kids love to watch them fly through the air.
How to play
Horseshoes may seem like a simple game at first glance, but it's more complicated than it appears. The basic rules, though, are as follows:
Stakes are placed 40 feet apart.
Each player throws their two horseshoes in succession.
After all players have finished throwing, the inning is over and players switch sides.
Scoring is based on how close the shoe lands to the stake, and the game is scored by either "cancellation scoring" or "count-all scoring."
Once a player makes it to 15 points by the end of an inning, they win.
The ultimate goal is called a "ringer." This is when a player throws the horseshoe and it lands right on the stake, making a ringing sound. In every type of horseshoes game, this is the highest-scoring play.
Horseshoe set prices
Most horseshoe sets will cost between $20 and $120. Backyard horseshoe sets will be on the lower end of the range, while specialty sets will cost a little extra.
Q. Is it OK to start out with a lightweight set of horseshoes if I have trouble throwing them 40 feet?
A. Of course. Horseshoes are supposed to be about fun. You should play with any set that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
Q. Is there only one way to throw a horseshoe?
A. Absolutely not. There are two popular forms that most people use. One is the turn method and the other is called the flip method. Nevertheless, you don't have to use either of these if you have another method that works well for you.
Horseshoe sets we recommend
Best of the best: St. Pierre American Professional Horseshoe Set
Our take: This is a dependable set for any skill level.
What we like: The forged-steel shoes have substantial weight, but remain easy to throw.
What we dislike: Plastic storage case is not very durable.
Best bang for your buck: Franklin Sports Intermediate Horseshoe Set
Our take: The perfect starter kit for anyone new to the game.
What we like: The price is right, and the powder-coated carbon-steel shoes are durable to last for a long time.
What we dislike: Not as heavy as higher-priced shoes.
Our take: Quality steel shoes in a well-crafted wood case.
What we like: The weight and balance of these horseshoes is impressive.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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