Happy Memorial Day! Hope you’re enjoying the long weekend and planning something fun. I’ve been working on a few things around the house, and one of those is re-working the horseshoe pits in the backyard. While these horseshoe pits were built in my pre-blogging days 😉 I can still show you how to build some of your own. Plus you get to see how well they have held up after two years!
How to Make A Horseshoe Pit
Building your own horseshoe pit is easier than you may think. I used landscaping timbers and landscape timber stakes to build the frame.
Step 1: Location
First, you need to decide on a location and have plenty of space. We built two pits and put the stakes 40′ apart, according to regulation. You can certainly put them closer together, especially if you’re building these for children or whatever distance you feel comfortable with. That’s the good things about it being in YOUR backyard… YOUR rules. 🙂 Just be sure you have plenty of clearance around the pits in case you get a few stray horseshoes thrown.
Step 2: The frame
For the backer board, I used 4 landscaping timbers, each cut at 3′ long. For the sides, I used 4 landscaping timbers (2 on each side), cut at 48″ each. The front of the pit will remain open.
I attached the timbers using landscape timber stakes. Since my stakes didn’t go all the way through all four timbers in the back, I had to attach timbers two at at time, which means more stakes. All in all, I used 2 on each side, and 14 for the back for a total of 18 stakes. And that backer board does not move. 🙂
Step 3: Do some ground work.
I laid my frame on the ground where I wanted the pit to be. Mark it off on the ground with some spray paint, and start digging. You want to dig down some so that the pit is a bit below the ground level. This will help stabilize the frame and keep the sand in better. You can see in my pictures below that the bottom landscape timber is actually underground on all three sides. Be sure to dig all the grass out so no weeds creep in on your pit later. You may even consider using a landscape fabric, but in my case I just dug it out reeeeeally well.
Once it’s all dug out, place your frame in the ground. Make sure it’s level by adding or taking away dirt as needed. Back fill around the frame until it’s firmly placed and stable in the ground. If you’re ground is really soft, you might consider mixing up a little concrete mix to help stabilize.
Step 4: What’s at stake
You can pick up a set of horseshoes and the stake at any sporting goods store. The stake should be placed 36″ from the front of each frame. Using a hammer, plant the stake in the ground leaving 18″ of the stake above ground. The stake should lean forward to the front of the pit about 2 – 3 inches.
Step 5: Filling in.
It’s time to fill your horseshoe pit with sand. I use the play sand from The Home Depot and for the initial set up, you want to build a base of sand that is 4″ deep. That will leave your stake sticking up 14″ above ground which is regulation standard. I use a rake and a broom to smooth out the sand surface.
I had a little help too. 🙂
Step 6: Learn to play.
Once you have all your sand added and smoothed out, you’re ready to play! Since we have two pits, I created a mirror version of what you see here at the opposite side of the yard.
Now, I’m not going to walk you through every bit of how to play the game, but I will give you the basics. You need at least two people to play. Each team gets a set of two horseshoes. Pitch the horseshoes from behind the foul line… for me, that means I stand beside the pit and toss. 😉
There’s lots of ways to get points. Ringers should be called first. A ringer is a horseshoe that completely encircles the stake. If there are no ringers, then the horseshoes that land closest to the stake can earn points.
Points can be scored like this:
- No ringers, closest shoe ( within six inches of the stake): 1 point
- No ringers, two closest shoes: 2 points
- Ringer: 3 points
- Leaner (a shoe that is propped up against the stake): 1 point
Games are played to 21 points, and your team must win by 2 points.
Step 7: Unlimited backyard fun for all!
There you have it! Some simple how-tos for making your own horseshoe pit.
Like I said before, these horseshoe pits have been in place for two years already and they have held up great. I’ve had to do a little maintenance every year… replacing a bag or two of sand, re-setting the stake, and cleaning out a few weeds and grass. But overall, they are quite easy to upkeep! Do you or have you ever played horseshoes? I’m certainly not very good at it, but it’s still a fun activity for everyone of all ages! Hope you have a great holiday and thanks for stopping by!