Build Your Own Horseshoe Pit
Horseshoes has been played for thousands of years, and is an easy game to set up in the back or side yard. A permanent horseshoe pit is a fun, easy project to build.
Horseshoes and a similar game called quoits—which is played with rings instead of horseshoes—both evolved out of games played by soldiers in ancient Greece and Rome. In the US, horseshoes was popular in both the Revolutionary and Civil War. Returning soldiers brought it back with them to their towns and farms, where it quickly took root, largely because most households already had all the equipment needed to play it—a few unattached horseshoes and two metal stakes.
According to the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association, regulation court size is 48 feet from end to end, with 40 feet in between goal stakes. Stakes are made of one-inch diameter steel 36 inches in length, and angle toward one another at 12 degrees.
14 to 15 inches of post should protrude above ground. Horseshoes must not weigh more than three pounds. The ideal surface for the “pit” that cushions the horseshoes when they land and stops them from kicking up clods of dirt is moist blue clay, but sand or even loose dirt are acceptable.
Our project step-by-steps and accompanying photos provide a few options on how to create your court and backstop. As along as you have the correct dimensions, you can be creative in how you design your court.
Lay out the Court
According to the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association, regulation court size is 48 feet from end to end, with 40 feet in between goal stakes. The most important dimension to know for horseshoes is that you need 40 ft. between the stakes. Other lines can be added with lime or other sport field marker as you become more serious about the game.
Create the Pit
A regulation horseshoe pit is a 3-ft. square with 4" of loose sand on top. There are many options for how to frame your pit. The pit shown here uses 6 3 ft. pieces of pressure-treated lumber. You could use 2 x 4 or 4 x 4 pieces. Using a drill, screw the lumber together in the form a square.
Add a Backstop
Backstops are optional but a very good idea. If you decide to frame your pit, you can just add pieces of lumber to the back and secure 2 x 4 stakes driven into the ground for extra support.
Rules for Horseshoes