How to Learn Horseshoes Game Terms

So you've decided to take up a game of horseshoes but you want to sound like a pro. Here are the most common terms you will need to know so that you can become familiar with the rules and impress your competition when playing horseshoes.

Score a ringer! If your toss lands around the stake and you hear that familiar "clank," congratulations, you have just landed a ringer which is normally good for three points in standard horseshoe scoring.

Understand a leaner! Oh so close, but not quite a ringer. A "leaner" is a horseshoe that lands upright or partially upright against the stake. It doesn't qualify as a ringer but a leaner is almost as good and is usually given a scoring value of two points.

Toss from the pitching box! The pitching box is the area that each player tosses his or her horseshoe. This area is usually six feet in diameter and contains a stake in the center and is typically filled with sand. There is a pitching box at each end of the playing area, approximately forty feet apart. The pitching box serves also as the target area.

Understand if it's in the pit! The pit is located within the pitching box. This is the area that will contain the stake.

Know when you've been singled out. A single point is awarded to the player whose horseshoe lands closest to the stake without scoring a ringer.


  • Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades! You've heard the saying and here is the proof: A game of horseshoes really does award points for being close. You don't have to be perfect to enjoy this game.

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