Tips for Pitching Horseshoes

There are different styles used for pitching horseshoes. Some styles allow the pitcher to control the shoe, while others allow no control over the throw. The pitching grip, the stance, footwork, the pendulum swing, follow-through, timing and rhythm also play a part in being able to score and win in a game of horseshoes.

Turning a Shoe
Horseshoes should be turned in flight so that they land open, with the open end facing the stake. If the closed end always winds up near the stake, you'll never get a ringer.

Turns are the number of revolutions the shoe makes in flight. To get a horseshoe to turn properly, it needs to be held by one of the shanks. Hold the horseshoe as you would hold a plate between your fingers and your thumb. The index finger and middle fingers are under the bottom of the horseshoe and curl up over the inner-edge of the horseshoe. The pinky (or the pinky and ring finger) are used to balance the shoe.

To get a 1 ¼ turn, the shoe is held near the middle of either shank. To get a 1 ¾ turn, the shoe is held on the shank, but closer to the toe caulk at the bottom. Try both positions to see which one feels best for you.

Pitching Mechanics
When you're getting ready to throw the shoe, your stance should be relaxed. Sometimes a slight crouch can help with pitching. Make sure the stake is in front of your pitching arm. A popular stance is to put all of your body weight on your right foot, with the left foot six to eight inches behind the right foot. The left foot is only used to balance. As you swing the shoe back, keep your weight on your right foot and move the left foot forward as your pitching hand moves forward. Transfer your weight to your left foot as you swing forward and release the horseshoe.

This delivery step makes it easier to pitch and helps you keep your balance. Use a normal step, as in a walking step. The forward leg should be planted just before your arm reaches the end of your backswing. The step forward should be completed as the horseshoe passes your planted leg.

Good follow through occurs when your arm continues the swing after you release the horseshoe. Continuing the swing gives more control over the flight path of the horseshoe, as opposed to suddenly stopping the swing and letting the horseshoe leave your grip.

The timing and rhythm of a throw should be dictated by your stance, step, release and follow through. If each motion is not completed at the proper time, the throw will be uncontrolled, and it will be difficult to score. 

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