There are different types of horseshoe pits, and separate rules for each type. Pits can be made as permanent ground-level courts, covered indoor courts or temporary and raised courts.
Permanent Court Layout
A permanent ground level court is 46 feet long and 6 feet wide, with a 2-foot buffer zone on all sides to keep spectators and players from getting hurt. It should face north to south, so the sun does not interfere with the contestants. The court structure itself should be perfectly level.
The pitcher's box is six feet by six feet. There is a pitcher's box at each end of the court. The box consists of the pit itself and the pitching platform.
The pit is centered in the pitcher's box. It must be at least 43 inches long and no more than 72 inches long, with a width between 31 and 36 inches. If the pit is less than the maximum measurements (36 x 72 inches), any extra space must be filled with the same material as the platforms or with material different than that used in the pit. Pit material itself may be clay, sand, dirt or synthetic. The pit material should be at least four inches deep, but eight inches is recommended by the National Horseshoe Pitcher's Association of America.
Pitching platforms flank the pit to the left and right. These can be 18 to 21 1/2 inches wide, but they must be 6 feet long. A stake is centered between each pair of pitching platforms. Stakes are an inch in diameter and must be located 21 inches from the front and back of the pit.
Other Types of Courts
In covered and indoor courts, the regulations are the same, except that there is a minimum requirement of 12 feet of vertical clearance to the lowest possible obstruction. For temporary and raised courts, the top of the pit can be no more than seven inches above the level of the pitching platform. Though four inches of pit substance (sand, clay, etc.) is recommended, it is not mandatory for temporary or raised courts.