Last Updated: May 25, 2021
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 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 a round metal disc 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’ve narrowed down the options to the eight best horseshoe sets we could find, to help you choose the best set for your needs. Let’s get started!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 8 Best Horseshoe Set — Reviews 2021
1. St. Pierre American Professional Series Horseshoe Set — Best Overall
The American Professional Horseshoe set from St. Pierre is our top pick overall, with everything that you need to get started included in a convenient pack. The horseshoes have longer tips to grab onto the stake and a ringer breaker to rotate the shoe, as well as 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 honestly little to fault with this horseshoe set, except that the included carrying case reportedly breaks easily, which is disappointing.
2. Champion Sports IHS1 Rubber Horseshoe Set — Best Value
The best horseshoe set for the money is the IHS1 rubber horseshoe set from Champion Sports. The horseshoes are made from lightweight rubber, making them safer for kids to use and easier 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 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. This keeps the set from the top position on this list.
3. Baden Champions Horseshoe Set — 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 this Champion horseshoe set from Baden. 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. This small issue keeps this set from the top two positions on this list.
4. Champion Sports CG205 Horseshoe Set
The Champion Sports Horseshoe set includes professional-quality, regulation-weighted horseshoes and stakes. Included are two chrome-plated horseshoes and two brass-plated horseshoes with two durable chrome-plated metal stakes, as well as 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 35-7085-2 Steel Horseshoe Set
The Triumph 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, as well as two 20-inch long, 16mm 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 also no included rulebook or carrying case.
6. Franklin Sports 50020 Horseshoes Set
This horseshoe set from Franklin Sports includes shoes that are official sizes and weight, making them just like the pros! The set 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 stake is 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, as well as a convenient carry bag. The stakes are 19 inches long and made from durable steel, and the horseshoes are coated in durable powder-coated 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 BG3133 Heavy Duty Horseshoe Set
This heavy-duty horseshoe set from Hathaway 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, the official weight, and the set includes two 2-foot steel stakes, as well as 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.
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 sets 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 well made, weighted, and balanced, and this will make a massive difference in the way you play. If you simply want to have fun in the backyard with family and friends, though, a recreational set is perfect.
When buying a set of horseshoes, here are a few factors to look for.
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 of horseshoe 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 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, although this will inevitably happen with time and use. A colored finish is also ideal for added visibility, as well as 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, here 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
It is not only the materials that your horseshoes are made from that dictate their longevity but also 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 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 horseshoe set for the money is the IHS1 rubber 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, our in-depth reviews have helped you narrow down the options to find the perfect horseshoe set for your needs.
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. Originally from Canada, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. Nicole has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers worldwide.