Are you looking for a fun game to play in the backyard on a summer afternoon? A horseshoe set is a great traditional game that has been around for centuries. It is portable, simple to learn, and fun to play! This classic game is a favorite for backyard picnics and family gatherings and is perfect for players of all ages.
The sport likely originated in Rome, where discus was a popular sport. When players couldn’t afford or find a discus to practice with, they turned to horseshoes. It is also widely hypothesized by historians to have evolved from a similar game called quoits that used round metal discs with a hole in the middle, and these were used interchangeably with horseshoes, depending on what was available. Whatever the origin, the game has steadily gained in popularity ever since.
Whether you are looking for a top-of-the-line professional pitching set or just a fun set to play with family members, we’ve got you covered! We have reviews of the best horseshoe sets available, so you can get the best set for your needs!
A Quick Glance at the Winners of 2023
|Best Overall||St. Pierre American Professional Series Horseshoes Complete Set||
|Best Value||Champion Sports Indoor/Outdoor Horseshoe Set||
|Premium Choice||Baden Champions Horseshoe Set, Tournament Quality||
|Champion Sports Horseshoe Set||
|Triumph Forged and Steel Horseshoe Set||
The 8 Best Horseshoe Sets
1. St. Pierre American Professional Series Horseshoes Complete Set — Best Overall
The St. Pierre American Professional Series Horseshoes Complete Set is the best overall horseshoe set, with everything that you need to get started in a convenient pack. The horseshoes have long tips to grab onto the stake, a ringer breaker to rotate the shoe, and a finger positioner to help you grip it like the pros. The set includes four forged steel, blue and grey horseshoes and two solid-steel 24-inch stakes made to last. The set also includes an official rulebook to iron out any discrepancies, a plastic tote bag for easy carrying, and a 60-day manufacturer warranty.
There is little to fault with this horseshoe set, except that the included carrying case reportedly breaks easily.
2. Champion Sports Indoor/Outdoor Horseshoe Set — Best Value
The best horseshoe set for the money is the Champion Sports Indoor/Outdoor Horseshoe Set. The horseshoes are made from lightweight rubber, making them safe for kids to use and easy to throw. The stakes are mounted onto lightweight rubber mats, so you safely use them indoors or outdoors, and they will stay in place on a slippery floor. They are also made using bright, vibrant colors for enhanced visibility in low light and are quick and easy to set up. The set comes with everything that you need to get started, including four horseshoes, two rubber mats, and two plastic dowels.
Unfortunately, both the rubber-mounted stakes and the outdoor stakes cannot hold up well to the impact of the horseshoes and fall over easily.
3. Baden Champions Horseshoe Set, Tournament Quality — Premium Choice
If you are looking for a premium horseshoe set that is tested and approved by the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association (NHPA), look no further than Baden Champions Horseshoe Set, Tournament Quality. The horseshoes are made from forged steel that will last a lifetime, the stakes are 24 inches long, and the set comes in a durable nylon bag for easy transport. The set also includes a detailed set of rules and instructions. If you are looking to take the game further than your backyard, this is a great option.
The horseshoes are of great quality and heavily weighted but are coated in thin paint and start chipping almost immediately after using them.
4. Champion Sports Horseshoe Set
The Champion Sports Horseshoe Set includes professional-quality, regulation-weighted horseshoes and stakes. Included are two chrome-plated horseshoes, two brass-plated horseshoes, two durable chrome-plated metal stakes, and a weather-resistant nylon bag to play on the go. The shoes are made to last, and with the tough coating, they will resist rust and corrosion even after years of playing outdoors. The set also includes a full set of instructions, so you have everything that you need to get started.
One important point is that the shoes are cast steel, not forged steel, which means they can break under heavy use. Several customers have reported this happening after only one use.
5. Triumph Forged and Steel Horseshoe Set
The Triumph Forged and Steel Horseshoe Set is an inexpensive and simple set for backyard gatherings with family. The set comes with two silver shoes and two powder-coated gold shoes that are durable and weather resistant, along with two 20-inch-long, 16-mm-diameter stakes with a silver finish. The shoes are made from cast steel and weigh 2.5 pounds each.
The paint coating on these shoes chips easily, and after only one game, customers reported that the paint was badly chipped off. Also, they are made from cast steel and can easily snap with heavy use, as many customers reported. There is no included rulebook or carrying case.
6. Franklin Sports Horseshoes Sets
The Franklin Sports Horseshoes Sets include shoes that are official sizes and weights, making them just like the pros! This product comes with two cast iron gold shoes and two cast iron silver shoes, each weighing 2.1 pounds, with 20-inch solid-steel stakes coated in a hammarite finish, with tapered ends for easy placement. There are four different versions of the set—Starter, Family, American, and Professional—and they all come with an included bag, except for the starter set.
The stakes are a bit too short to hammer in correctly without sacrificing length, and the cast-iron shoes can easily snap with even light use. A large number of customers reported the shoes simply snapping in half after just a few throws.
7. Tailgate 360 Professional Horseshoe Set
The Tailgate 360 Professional Horseshoe Set includes four horseshoes—two blue and two steel—and two steel stakes and a convenient carry bag. The stakes are 19 inches long and made from durable steel, and the horseshoes are coated in durable powder to resist weather and last for years. The set is also inexpensive and a great choice for beginners or kids.
The included horseshoes are not steel, but the manufacturer doesn’t state what they are made from. Whatever the case, they break easily, with some customers reporting that they broke just from hitting the sand! Also, the powder coating chips off easily and after little use.
8. Hathaway Heavy Duty Horseshoe Set
The Hathaway Heavy Duty Horseshoe Set is great for beginners and casual backyard use. The set includes four horseshoes—two blue and two silver—reportedly crafted from steel, with a powder-coated finish that is weather resistant yet grippy. The grips are on both ends and the center of the shoe. Each shoe weighs 2.6 pounds, which is the official weight, and the set includes two 2-foot steel stakes and a convenient nylon carrying case for easy transport and storage.
The horseshoes are not made from steel, as stated by the manufacturer, because they break easily, reportedly after just one use. The included bag is also of poor quality and rips fairly easily.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Horseshoe Set
Even if you are an absolute beginner, quality matters, and a good-quality horseshoe set should last for years. A well-made horseshoe set will also be more consistent, which will help you improve and play the game better.
When looking for a horseshoe set, you are faced with two options: a recreational set or a professional set. Both are basically the same, but a professional-grade one has high-quality parts and will last longer and make for a more accurate game. The shoes are also well made and properly weighted and balanced, and this will make a massive difference in the way that you play. If you simply want to have fun in the backyard with family and friends, though, a recreational set is perfect.
Factors to Look For When Buying a Set of Horseshoes
Traditionally, the game of horseshoes was played with the regular, traditional horseshoes that were actually used on horses! While you can still use these for a casual game, they are rather heavy, and their weight and size will not be consistent, making it difficult to improve at the game.
The horseshoes used in the modern game have been specially made and designed for improved and consistent performance, making them ideal for improving your skills. These modern shoes are bigger, almost twice the size of traditional shoes, and have hooked tips to improve your chances of hooking onto the stake. Also, modern shoes are made from a variety of different materials:
No matter the material that your horseshoes are made from, they should have weather-proof coating or finish to make them last longer, as the shoes are constantly in contact with sand, grass, and moisture. The finish should also be durable enough that it doesn’t crack and chip when thrown, though this will inevitably happen with time and use. A colored finish is also ideal for added visibility and to assign a shoe to each team. Typically, there are four horseshoes in a set, with two different colors.
If you want to play by the NHPA standards, your horseshoe should be around 2.5 pounds in weight, as this is what the professionals use. The shoe should also be properly balanced, with an even weight distribution across the shoe for a well-balanced pitch.
Technically, you could use whatever you wanted as a stake as long as it is strong enough, but a purpose-built stake is best. When purchasing a horseshoe set with a stake, there are a few things to look for:
While not essential, a carry case is a handy accessory. You can take your horseshoe set on trips and use the case to easily stow the set away, and it prevents pieces from accidentally getting lost or damaged. Most sets come with an included carry case, with varying levels of quality.
Horseshoe Set Maintenance
What dictates your horseshoes’ longevity are the materials and how well they are looked after. Even the highest-quality horseshoes need proper maintenance in order to get years of use from them, and you can drastically increase their lifespan by following these tips:
Our top pick overall is the American Professional Series Horseshoe set from St. Pierre. The set includes horseshoes that have long tips for improved grip and a ringer breaker to rotate the shoe, a finger positioner to help you grip them properly, two solid-steel 24-inch stakes, an official rulebook, and a plastic tote bag for easy carrying, all with a 60-day manufacturer warranty.
The best value horseshoe set is the Indoor/Outdoor Horseshoe set from Champion Sports. The horseshoes are made from lightweight rubber, making them ideal for kids; the stakes are mounted onto lightweight rubber mats, so you can safely use them indoors or outdoors; and they are made using bright, vibrant colors for enhanced visibility. This is the perfect set for families and recreational games.
Horseshoeing is a fun, relaxing, and exciting game to play with family and friends, and whether you just want to play on weekends or want to take it slightly more seriously, there is a set here for you. Hopefully, these in-depth reviews have helped you narrow down the options to find the perfect horseshoe set for your needs.