Before teaching The Open Shoe, you will need to identify whether the youth in your league naturally pitch a turn shoe or a flip shoe. Experienced youth will already have a preferred style. A Flip is a horseshoe that rotates vertically, end over end once, or in some cases, twice. A Turn is a horseshoe that rotates horizontally like a flying saucer completing a 3/4 up to a 1 3/4 rotation. A simple test is used to determine which style is more natural for the youth. Have the youth hold a horseshoe on the center of the toe and try to pitch a flip a few times (the “toe” is the location where the front of a horse’s hoof would attach to a horseshoe). If the horseshoes flips perfectly, end over end, they should continue with the flip. However, if the horseshoe has any rotation when they try to flip, they will naturally be more successfully pitching a turn style.
The turn shoe is held along the shank (sides) of the horseshoe. The hand position will determine the amount of rotation the shoe will need in order to land open to the stake. The most common turn is a 1-1/4 turn. The hand position is on the shank closest to the body when the horseshoe is held vertically in front of the body with the hooks pointed toward the ground. The 3/4 and 1-3/4 had position is on the shank closest to the body when the horseshoe is help vertically in front of the body with the hooks pointed upward toward the sky.
A proper turn is produced during the front-swing as the horseshoe comes forward and has just passed the leg. The shoe will gradually flatten or level out with a natural outward roll of the arm (be sure to keep the arm in line with the stake keeping the wrist stiff and in its natural position). The shoe should be well leveled out when released. If a turn shoe lands on its edge it will tend to roll away from the landing point which is not desirable if that is the stake. An edge landing is the result of not rotating the arm enough before the release. When done correctly, the horseshoe will fly flat and it will land flat and dead. The arm role and momentum of the swing cause the shoe to rotate, not the wrist. Use of the wrist snap to turn the shoe is not recommended for beginners as it will likely cause an out of controlled Frisbee type rotation with too many turns. Watch Multi-World Horseshoe Pitching Champion, Walter Ray Williams, demonstrate introducing The Turn shoe for beginners.
There is a real advantage to pitching a turn shoe. A turn shoe has a striking radius that allows an off center strike on the stake to result in a ringer. In comparison the flip shoe can only make a ringer if it strikes the stake directly at the shoe’s opening. An additional benefit to pitching a turn is that the horseshoe will tend to spin once it had made contact with the stake which can lock the shoe on the stake when it lands. A flip shoe will experience a higher amount of would-be ringers that bounce off after striking the stake in the center of the shoe.