Horseshoes, which is also called horseshoe throwing, is a non-contact game which is usually played outdoors. It can be played individually, between two people, or two teams with two members each. This is a classic example of a old fashioned pastime that has turned itself into a organized and very competitive sport.
The game uses four horseshoes and two throwing targets set in a sandbox area. The game is for the players to toss the horseshoes alternately at stakes in the ground. It is usually placed 40 feet apart. Contemporary horseshoes game use a stylized u-shaped bar, it is usually larger than an actual horseshoe.
There are two ways to score in this game, by throwing ringers and by throwing the horseshoe to the nearest stake. A show, which is not a ringer, but is 6 inches closer to the stake, is worth a point. If both players’ horseshoes are closer than the opposing player, then they gain 2 points. A player gains three points for a ringer. Four points for the player in the case of one ringer and a closer horseshoe.
Horseshoe throwing technique can differ. Some players flip the horseshoe while others turn it in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion. Those who turn the shoe may do so with a 3/4 turn, 1 1/4 turn or 1 3/4 turn.
- Washer Pitching — a target throwing game similar to horseshoes, in which players take turns to toss washers into a box or hole.
- Quoits — a traditional target throwing game in which rings are thrown at a target spike, the aim is to get them as close as possible to the target.
- Cornhole — a bag toss game, in which you throw a small soft bag towards an angled board with a hole at the far end.
- Varpa — an old outdoor game dating back to the Viking Age. It is similar to boules but played with a flat and heavy thrower known as "varpa" instead of balls, once made of shaped stones but nowadays aluminum is more popular.
- Tejo — a Colombian sport in which metal discs are thrown 20m to a target that explodes when hit.
- Jukskei — a folk sport from South Africa where competitors throw wooden pins to try and knock down a target wooden peg, possibly a precursor to horseshoes.
- Pétanque — a type of boules in which the objective is to throw hollow metal balls towards a small wooden target ball.
- Digor — a sport from Bhutan in which a pair of spherical flat stones are hurled at two targets fixed in the ground 20m apart.
- Calva — a traditional Spanish sport in which you throw a piece of metal to knock down bull's horn-shaped piece of wood.