Horseshoes: A Texas Tradition

Sep 23, 2021

Whether you’re looking for a casual outdoor game or want to get competitive, the game of horseshoes can be a lot of fun for everyone. It’s definitely a Texas tradition, and we are pleased to offer a horseshoe pit in the Gregg Ranch community.
The equipment needed to play is minimal, and horseshoe rules are fairly simple to understand. Once you get the basics, you’ll be able to join in on the fun with your neighbors and be well on your way to becoming a skilled horseshoe player.
Two players take turns throwing two horseshoes each, at stakes placed 40 feet apart. Throws must be an underhand toss. The goal is to get your horseshoe as close as possible to the stake or to wrap around the stake. Each complete set of throws makes up one “inning.” An official game has 25 innings, but you can play as many innings as you like.

  • The closest horseshoe scores a point
  • “Ringers” score three points

A coin is tossed to decide who starts and thereafter the player to pitch first alternates. The first player throws both horseshoes at the opposite stake, one after the other. The second player then does the same thing. The score is calculated, and the players reverse direction and throw at the other stake.
A player who scores a “ringer,” any horseshoe that completely surrounds the stake, scores three points unless cancelled out by an opponent’s ringer.
Not sure if it’s a ringer? A straight edge should be placed against the open end of the horseshoe. If straight edge doesn’t touch the stake, a ringer is scored.
Scoring Specifics

  • If no ringers are thrown, the nearest horseshoe to the stake counts one point
  • If both players throw a single ringer each, the ringers are cancelled out and the nearest of the other two horseshoes scores one point
  • Should both players score two ringers each, they cancel each other out and no points are scored
  • If one player manages one ringer but the other player pitches two ringers, only three points are scored
  • If a single ringer has been scored that player wins three points plus an extra point if that player’s other horseshoe is the closest of the remaining three
  • Finally, if a player achieves two ringers and the other player manages none, six points are scored
  • The first player to reach 21 points wins the game

Pitching Tips

  • For the swing, begin by bringing your arm back with your shoulders still square
  • Try not to use your wrist too much, as it can affect the direction of your shoe
  • Aim to release your horseshoe from your grip at eye level so that it arches in the air and lands at a 30- to 45-degree angle
  • Play with different approaches until you find what suits you. Experienced players may have different grips, including the Flip, the Reverse Flip, the ¾ Turn and the 1 ¼ Turn.

Similar games have been around since ancient times, but the 20th century brought standard rules to players worldwide. Formed in 1921, The National Horseshoe Pitchers Association began managing and sanctioning horseshoe competitions.
Horseshoe Bay Resort, about 10 miles from Gregg Ranch, was named by developers Norman and Wayne Hurd. In 1971, the cousins began the development of the resort. One name they considered was Horseshoe Bay, for the Horseshoe Creek that ran through the property and the natural circular shape the bay had, like a horseshoe.
“One day Norman and I were standing in the middle of the dry lake bottom. I stumbled across a rusty horseshoe and picked it up. We decided that was a sign and settled the question of the name,” said Wayne.
Located in charming Marble Falls, Texas this 240-acre master-planned community is northwest of Austin and is anticipated to be home to approximately 700 single-family and 250 multi-family residences. A central community area with an outdoor pool, ramada, barbecue area, shaded play area and bocce ball and horseshoe pits are planned. Gregg Ranch outdoor amenities will also include 5.5 miles of jogging and biking trails throughout the community, plus a dog park. The community is conveniently located at the intersection of State Highways 281 and 71, and is a short drive to Lake Marble Falls, Lake LBJ and the famed Texas Lake and Hill Country. Visit to learn more.
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