From the OFFICIAL RULES OF HORSESHOE PITCHING
- 1. Dimensions - A horseshoe court shall be a level rectangular area 6 ft wide and a minimum of 46 ft long. A north-south setting is recommended for outdoor courts to minimize the effects of the sun.
- 2. Pitcher's Box - The pitcher's box is the square 6 ft by 6 ft area at each end of the court. It is composed of 2 parts - 1) the pit, and 2) the pitching platforms.
- a. PIT - The pit is a rectangular area filled with the substance onto which the shoes are pitched. Its maximum length (in the direction in which the shoes are pitched) is 72 inches and its minimum length is 43 inches. Its maximum width is 36 inches and its minimum width is 31 inches. The pit must be centered in the pitcher's box. If the pit is less than the maximum dimensions, the extra space shall be filled with the same material of which the platforms are made, or some other material different than the pit substance, and shall be level with the pit and platforms.
- b. Pitching Platforms - The pitching platforms flank the pit to its left and right sides and are parallel to each other. They shall be level with each other and to the top of the pit. They shall be 18 to 20-1/2 inches wide (depending upon the width of the pit) and shall be a minimum of 6 ft. long.
- 3. Stakes - The stake is the target at which the shoe is pitched. Each stake shall be centered between the platforms with a minimum of 21 inches from the stake to the front and back of the pit. On regulation courts the stakes are 40 ft. apart. This is measured from the front of each stake level with the pitching platform. Stakes shall be 1 inch in diameter and may be made of cold-rolled steel, mild iron, soft metal or synthetic material. Each stake shall be no shorter than 14 and no higher than 15 inches above pit level and they shall both have an approximate 3 inch lean toward each other.
- 4. Pit Substance - Clay, sand, dirt and synthetic compositions are all legal substances to put in the pit. The minimum depth of the substance shall be 4 inches. An 8 inch depth is recommended.
- 5. Extended Platforms - The pitching platforms on either side of the pit shall be extended forward (toward the opposite pit) an additional 10 feet to accommodate pitching at shorter distances. The front of the extended platforms shall be 27 feet from the opposite stake. The extended platforms shall be level with and be of the same width and material as the full-distance platforms. It is recommended that the 14 feet between the front ends of the platforms be filled in (using the same material as the platforms) to provide a continuous level walking surface between the two pitcher's boxes.
- 6. Multiple Courts
- a. Side-by-side - To eliminate distraction and safely separate activity, stakes of courts adjacent to each other shall be a minimum of 10 feet apart. A greater distance (at least 12 feet) is preferable.
- b. Back-to-back - A minimum of 16 feet and a protective barrier must separate the stakes of back-to-back courts.
- 7. Backboards & Protective Barrier
- a. Backboards - Every pit should have a backboard. It should be at least 4 feet behind the stake, be at least 1 foot high and extend the width of the pit. For spectator visibility, a mesh netting or chain link material is recommended. If of solid material, it should be a color that will provide a contrasting background so as to keep the stake visible for the contestants.
- b. Protective Barrier - All court complexes shall be surrounded by a protective barrier. The barrier should be at least 8 feet behind the stake. A chain link type fence at least 4 feet high is recommended.
- 8. Foul Lines - Foul lines shall be defined by lines extending across the front of the full-distance and extended platforms. This places them perpendicular to an imaginary line between stakes at 37 and 27 ft. respectively from the front of the opposite stakes. (Measured at the level of the pitching platform).
- 9. Imaginary Stakes - Imaginary stakes shall be marked midway between the left and right extended platforms at a distance of 30 feet from the opposite stakes. They shall also be marked on the full-distance platforms at a distance of 40 feet from the opposite stakes if the stakes are not 40 feet apart.
Information provided by NHPA and Duane Goodrich