The National Horseshoe Pitchers Association has developed a set of 12 guidelines that serve as the official rules for pitching horseshoes. These rules are recommended by the association whether or not the game is being played just for fun or as a sanctioned tournament.
The first rule delineates pitching divisions by gender and age and includes the elderly and physically disabled. The second rule explains proper game preparations, such as how the posts and courts are to be setup and maintained. Rule number three describes the point system, time limits and accepted pitching methods. The fourth rule is made up of six subheadings that outline the flow of the game in detail. Rule five defines violations such as "foul shoes" and expands on judging such plays.
The sixth rule explains the two official scoring systems, cancellation scoring and count-all scoring, that are recognized by the association. Rule seven outlines procedural pitching rotations. The eighth rule clarifies what to do in case of tie games and the three acceptable lengths of games. The ninth rule explains what to do in the case of broken or cracked horseshoes, while rule number 10 expands upon instances of broken stakes while playing. The 11th rule sets out the parameters of playing in a league or sanctioned tournament, and rule 12 specifies the accepted code of conduct and sportsmanship expected of players.