When a horseshoe lands it should be “dead.” The term dead is used to describe a horseshoe that lands solidly flat and does not move much, if at all, from its landing location. A dead landing ensures the highest probability of a ringer staying a ringer and points staying in the scoring area. A shoe that lands on its edge has a tendency to roll after landing or possibly bounce or spin off the stake.
The Dead Landing drill should be carried out away from the horseshoe courts until the youth member has mastered the dead landing. If they are preoccupied with hitting the stake, they tend to forget the fundamental skill they are really working on. A perfect drill is set up on a horseshoe court with the stake removed, but removing stakes is usually not a good idea and it may be a lot of digging and lifting to get a permanent stake out. Putting it back will take more effort and precise measuring. This is the only drill that uses horseshoes in the first week of the clinic.
Pitching into sand or another loose substance is recommended. The foul lines should be drawn at the proper distances (20 & 27 feet) from the target area. Youth are given several horseshoes to pitch at the target landing location. Their goal is to get their horseshoes to land flat. If you have already demonstrated the open shoe and the different turns and flip you can now watch each participant and identify if they are a natural flip or turn pitcher. This drill is one that is great for youth to practice at home, they don’t even need a stake, just open space and a soft landing substance.