1. Flip a coin. The winner goes first.
2. When tossing horseshoes, the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association states that the foul line should be 27-37 feet away from the stake.
3. Do not attempt to distract your opponent when it is his or her turn to toss.
4. During game play, a tournament consists of 40-50 points, while a regular game contains 21 points.
5. A typical game contains 20 innings.
6. Each person tosses two horseshoes per inning, followed by his opponent. Do not approach the stakes, or remove the tossed horseshoes from the playing surface until both players are finished tossing.
7. Once both players have tossed their shoes, scoring begins.
a.Any player who has a shoe (any part of the shoe) within 6 inches of the peg/stake gets one point. This also applies to a "leaner," which is a shoe that falls leaning upright against the stake.
b. If one player has both shoes closer to the stake/peg than his opponent, that player is awarded two points.
c. If a player gets a "ringer," or a shoe that completely circles the stake/peg, that player gets three points. To qualify a ringer, a straight edge must be able to touch both points of the horseshoe.
d. If one player gets a ringer and has his other shoe closer to the peg/stake than his opponent, that player would be awarded a total of four points.
e. Cancellation Method: The twist in the game of horseshoes is the ability to cancel out your opponent's points, allowing for strategy within the game. If one player scores a ringer, the points will be cancelled if the opposing player tops it with another ringer during the same turn. The same rule applies for all other equal plays during the course of one turn. For instance, if both players throw a ringer and a leaner, no points are awarded. If one player throws two ringers, and the other player throws one, the player with two ringers gets three points for that turn.
8. If there is a tie at the end of the game, an extra two innings are played to determine a winner.