Close Only Counts in Horseshoes …

Close up of outdoor horseshoe game

It is estimated games with Horseshoes started as early as the 2nd century.  Modern Horseshoes is an outdoor game played between two people (or two teams of two people) using four horseshoes and two throwing targets (stakes).  Players take turns tossing horseshoes at stakes in the ground, which are traditionally placed 40-feet apart.  Modern games use a more stylized U-shaped bar, about twice the size of an actual horseshoe.

In horseshoes, there are two ways to score: by throwing “ringers” (three points) or by throwing the horseshoe nearest to the stake (one point).  A ringer is a thrown horseshoe such that the horseshoe completely encircles the stake.  Disputes are settled by using a straightedge to touch the two points at the ends of the horseshoe, called “heel calks” and if the straightedge does not touch the stake, then it is a ringer.

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