by Kay Keskinen
My horseshoe pitching background:
Hearing the clank of horseshoes as a child and watching my father pitch with his friends, I started pitching horseshoes myself at around the age of ten (at 40 feet). By the time I was 12, my father (Erv Keskinen) and I were playing doubles against any takers with the usual prize for a win being a beer for him and a root beer for me. My parents owned Oak Point Resort at Rush Lake in Otter Tail County, near New York Mills, Minnesota. The resort had two horseshoe courts and offered me a way to pass the time when I wasn't renting boats, mowing grass, or waiting on customers.

Since we lived in Minnesota, I thought the only horseshoes made were those by Diamond Horseshoe Co. of Duluth which made horseshoes from 1924 - 1985. We had sets of the "Super Ringer" and "Double Ringer" horseshoes, both hard steel shoes, mostly used for backyard or picnic pitching. In the early 1980s Diamond made a "dead soft" Tournament shoe which became more popular. I have two pair of the "Super Ringers," two pair of the "Double Ringers," and a pair of the "Tournament" shoes. They stopped making the Diamond shoes for a while, but now the APEX Corporation is making in the USA the Diamond "Tournament" and "Super Ringer" shoes and sold through any NHPA Game Related Sales team of distributors. If you're a beginner looking for a pair of horseshoes, the "Tournament" and "Super Ringer" both are decent, durable shoes for any "turn" (IMO).

For more than a dozen years I have been pitching the 'Snyder E-Z Flip II' shoes, of which I have two pair. To help with my underhand swing, I also use two pair of the 'Grabit Lite' shoes made by Hilfling. The curvature of the Grabits force me to have an even swing; plus, the "Lite" (2 lb, 4 oz each) shoes help a bit since I am getting older and want less stress on my hands and shoulders.

The choice of a grip and a turn is an important step in beginning to pitch horseshoes. Most pitchers throw a "turn" shoe, about a fourth of us throw a "flip" shoe. The most common grip is a 1-1/4 which can be used for either the reverse 3/4 or the reverse 1-1/4 turn. The second most popular grip is the 1-3/4 which can be used for the 3/4 or the reverse 1-3/4. The third most common turn is a flip of one revolution, though multiple revolutions can be done. The "flip" turn usually has a centered grip.

Since I'm a single "flipper," I like shoes that have a rear thumb cleat, heavy tips, and reversed grabbing cleat (on the side opposite of the thumb cleat). I'm currently using the Sue Snyder E-Z Flip II shoes (without the ringer breaker) that weigh in at 2 lbs 8.6 ounces each and are made by Thoroughbred. I also have a pair of Gordon horseshoes that I use when pitching with my doubles partner who uses those shoes.

The menu at the left has links to information about the various "grips" and "turns" of horseshoe pitching.

Other horseshoe information:
I am a member of the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America (NHPA) which logs my NATSTATS info (choose ID) from recent NHPA tournaments played. I am currently (May of 2017) ranked #52 among the Top 100 female horseshoe pitchers in the country with a ringer average of 56.46%. The NHPA site has oodles of information about horseshoes, including the NHPA Official Rules and how to construct horseshoe courts.

For an excellent overview of horseshoe pitching, the NHPA has a Horseshoe Pitching Clinic slide show available on SlideShare.

If you are serious about learning the math and physics behind horseshoe pitching, I highly recommend the web sites of Bob Rasmussen and Kenny Wolf. Bob's horseshoe blog is called Horseshoes My Way, The Search for My Perfect Swing. Here's the blog's Table of Contents. Kenny has a Shoe Math web site called "The Theory of the Physics and Mathematics of Horseshoe Pitching, The physics of the turning shoe and the mathematics of the alignment."

Link to You Tube horseshoe pitching videos

For some historical background on horseshoes, check out the "Sports Knowhow" horseshoe web site.

Here's a link to "The Gentle Art and Sport of Horseshoes" from Mother Earth News in the July/August 1988 issue.

In 2008 a Horseshoe Pitching Professional Tour was started.

Here's the Idaho State Horseshoe Pitchers Association (has newsletters, tournament schedule, membership form, etc). Here are the current and past issues of the ISHPA "Four Dead" newsletter.


Moscow Summer Horseshoe Pitching Leagues/Events:

Horseshoe Pitching Clinic, Tuesday, May 16, 2017
On Tuesday, May 16 there will be a FREE horseshoe pitching clinic for adults (16+) starting at 6:00 PM at the Ghormley Courts in Moscow. Please register through Moscow Parks & Recreation for the clinic so that the organizers (Wayne Peterson and Kay Keskinen) can plan for the participants. The clinic will teach beginners and those who need a refresher the basics of horseshoe pitching: the rules, the court layout, types of legal horseshoes, methods of pitching a horseshoe, and more. (Rain/snow moves clinic to the Multi-Purpose Room at the HIRC.)

In 2017, Moscow (Idaho) has a summer (May 23 to late July) doubles horseshoe pitching league that plays Tuesday evenings at the Ghormley Park horseshoe courts, while a singles league pitches on Wednesday evenings beginning on May 24 also in Ghormley Park. Register for the leagues through Moscow Parks and Recreation (208-883-7084).

Here are links to the 2014 singles league info, 2013 singles league info, 2012 singles league info, 2011 doubles league info, and the 2010 doubles league info.

There are photos of the two city parks in Moscow, Idaho, that have horseshoe pits.


Tournaments (ID & WA Schedules and Results):
Here are links to the 2017 skeds of NHPA tournaments in Idaho and Washington.

Past ISHPA tourney skeds and results: ISHPA 2007, ISHPA 2008, ISHPA 2009, ISHPA 2010, ISHPA 2011, ISHPA 2012, ISHPA 2013, ISHPA 2014, ISHPA 2015, ISHPA 2016.

The NHPA holds an annual The World Horseshoe Tournament, the next one will be held in St. George, Utah from July 17 - July 29, 2017.

Here's some information about my horseshoe league and tournament play


My e-mail is [ringergal at yahoo dot com]