Life of a horseshoe

Questions and opinions on shoes and other horseshoe pitching accessories and equipment
Ylorg
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Life of a horseshoe

Post#1 » Wed May 18, 2016 10:18 am

Over the last 7-8 years I've broken quite a few horseshoes, so I'm curious what's a good life of a horseshoe?

I know the life of a horseshoe has a lot to do with who is pitching the shoe and where the shoe is consistently landing. Assuming that a pitcher at least hits the stake each pitch, what is a good number of pitches to determine the life of the horseshoe? Could it be 10,000 pitches, 20,000 or more?

I'm pretty particular when it comes to picking out a style of shoe. I want it to look and feel a certain way, but how can I tell if one shoe is more durable than the next? Is it the thicker, wider, and heavier shoes more durable, or can a thinner, narrower shoe be just as durable as the thicker, wider ones? Is drop forged better than cast? Or is cast better than drop forged?

The current shoe I'm pitching looks awesome, feels fantastic in my hand, and it turns effortlessly!!! But shortly after I started pitching them the left hook started to toe in where the hook would no longer hook the stake preventing possible ringers. And they also seemed much bouncier than past shoes I had tried causing many lost ringers. Eventually this shoe broke. I pitched this shoe from the time it was brand new and it lasted 7 tournaments, but there was many hours of practicing, resulting in probably thousands of shoes pitched. I didn't even practice as much as I wanted to, so it could have been worse.

So, here's another question!!

Is my pitching style just hell on horseshoes and there's nothing I can do or is there a shoe out there that is Ylorg proof?

Clank
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Re: Life of a horseshoe

Post#2 » Wed May 18, 2016 1:22 pm

I don't know if the kind of data you're asking for has ever been collected. But here are a few more considerations---are you a spinner or a flipper? It's hard for me to perceive that a flipper would break more shoes than a spinner---but, of course, I don't really know. Also---how the stake is set probably has a lot to do with it----anchored in oak or mounted on top of oak? anchored in cement without rubber hose or with hose around the stake? Temperature of pitching environment---While it hard for me to imagine that 50 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit would make much difference in steel that has been heated hundreds of degrees I seem to break all my shoes in the winter. I was spin pitching the now discontinued thick flip shoes (Waves) and consistently breaking them. I have found the narrower shanked Glories to be more durable. idk

Ylorg, After rereading your post I see you are a turn pitcher.
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing !!!

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HSLegend
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Re: Life of a horseshoe

Post#3 » Wed May 18, 2016 3:13 pm

Great questions Ylorg. I don't have the time right now to get into all the parts of your post, but a few for you to consider until I do. Drop Forged is the gold standard in Horseshoes. No matter the casting process, and there are several and some are way better than others, a well made forged shoe will hold up longer than a cast shoe. Next is the quality of steel and the heat treatments. Poor steel will be more prone to giving out whether it is by breaking or warping. Quality steel will hold shape longer and is more easily tempered. Not all, but most shoes are made of cheap alloys to cut costs for the manufacturer, quality costs. The tempering or heat treatment helps determine the hardness of the steel. The toe-in problem you have is a hook that is not, or is inadequately, heat treated.
In the end, most horseshoes will eventually wear out with use, especially for those pitching ringers all the time, or those hitting the cement all the time.
I pitch a 1963 Gordon (now called Legend). I've owned them for 5 years or so and pitch regularly. I don't know how much they were used prior to me, so I can't say they've been used for 50+ years, but they do great for my 1 3/4 that sometimes rings the stake, and sometimes hits off the top and clatters on the concrete behind.

Here is a post from last fall that might give more info on differing metals and processes:
HSLegend wrote:Iron vs Steel is largely about the Carbon content.

Iron metal alloys are high in carbon. (Alloy meaning additives to the ferrous metal)
In Cast Iron the alloy is hard and brittle.
In Ductile Iron (also "cast") the alloy contains nodular graphite which gives ductility (bend instead of break)

Steel alloys are low in carbon.
Cast Steel alloys are stronger than the Iron alloys.
Steel alloys that are forged gain properties (e.g., grain) that are stronger and more ductile than cast steel or the Iron alloys.

Horseshoes can be and are made with any of the above.
- Cast Iron are what you pay $19.99 for at the big box store and get 4 horseshoes and 2 stakes and can expect to break within one day of use. Materials and process are of low expense.
- Ductile Iron has improved flex and strength. Cost of materials and process is higher than cast iron but lower than steel and forging. Apparently, many of today’s pro style horseshoes are in this group.
- Cast Steel is more expensive yet to produce. M&M appears to be in this category. Casting methods allow for more design intricacy than forging, although not many horseshoes are intricate enough that they couldn't be forged.
- Forged Steel is the gold standard for the properties of which other materials and methods shoot for, but forging steel is the most expensive of materials and in its process. For the added cost, however, you obtain elimination of cast porosity, higher tinsel strength, and greater ductility, all in less volume, resulting in better fatigue resistance and performance, and an overall longer life of the item, all differences being statistically significant. In the past, all pitching horseshoes were forged. Today, however, not many horseshoes are forged any longer due to the higher costs and the development of ductile iron processing's improvements over cast iron. Forged shoes are Gordons, Legends, Clydesdales, Allens, Diamonds, and Americans.

Tempering processes are affected by the alloy and thereby may differ in temperature and duration among the processes. Tempering can improve or reduce strength and ductility in the groups above. For example, in Horseshoes, the hooks are often tempered to make them harder than the rest of the shoe.
I'm a Legend...if only in my own mind...

LarryMac
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Re: Life of a horseshoe

Post#4 » Wed May 18, 2016 4:13 pm

If I get 1 year out of the shoes I am now pitching I am doing good. I would say I pitch between 20 to 25 thousand shoes a year. So each shoe would have only about 10 to 12 thousand cycles on it. I used to pitch TA which is a forged shoe and had very little problems with breakage. I switch to a shoe with a ringer breaker and I still don't know if it means much. I have thought about going back to the TA but I am pitching the AF Signatures and I like the way they feel.

Larry Mac

Clank
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Re: Life of a horseshoe

Post#5 » Wed May 18, 2016 4:17 pm

HSLegend---thanks for the good overview. I have wondered why some of the cheaper drop forged mass produced shoes like some of those produced by St. Pierre don't have better hooks. I mean---if you are going to tool up to drop forge why not tool up to make a shoe with good hooks. St. Pierre's latest shoe (Eagle) appears to have great hooks, but why in the world didn't they put better hooks on the Americans and the Royals?
:?:
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing !!!

Clank
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Re: Life of a horseshoe

Post#6 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:25 pm

Ylorg wrote:Over the last 7-8 years I've broken quite a few horseshoes, so I'm curious what's a good life of a horseshoe?

I know the life of a horseshoe has a lot to do with who is pitching the shoe and where the shoe is consistently landing. Assuming that a pitcher at least hits the stake each pitch, what is a good number of pitches to determine the life of the horseshoe? Could it be 10,000 pitches, 20,000 or more?




These are my numbers. I seem to breaking ductile iron shoes about every three months. I pitch approx. 1500 pitches/week. I record my stake hits and I hit or clip the stake about 70% of the time (I ain't that good) and probably hit the stake hard enough to impact the shoe about 60% of the time. So .6 X 13 weeks X (1500/2 (shoes)) equals around 5,850 stake hits. So let's be conservative and round it up to 6000 pitches. That's not a lot. I am a turn pitcher.

I have a couple of pairs of drop forged shoes. If I can pitch them well enough I'll try them for a while and see how long they last!
:|
Over the last three months I used stakes mounted in rubber hoses in concrete but this apparently didn't dampen the impact enough to make any difference.
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing !!!

RandyLJ
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Re: Life of a horseshoe

Post#7 » Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:32 pm

HSLegend said "Most horseshoes will eventually wear out with use, especially for those pitching ringers all the time,..." Than mine will last forever /*b :O :O :O

Clank
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Re: Life of a horseshoe

Post#8 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:13 pm

Update. I have pitched my set of drop forged St. Pierre Eagles 6 months and they have not broken. I was breaking cast shoes, Waves and then Glories, about every three months.
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing !!!

LarryMac
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Re: Life of a horseshoe

Post#9 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:52 pm

Clank wrote:Update. I have pitched my set of drop forged St. Pierre Eagles 6 months and they have not broken. I was breaking cast shoes, Waves and then Glories, about every three months.


I just went back to pitching the forged Ted Allen that I had pitched for so many years and I don't remember ever breaking one. I was getting about a year out of the AF shoe. The only reason I ever went to the AF was to try the ringer breaker.
Larry Mac

Clank
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Re: Life of a horseshoe

Post#10 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:37 am

In the several years that I have had a set of Legends (drop forged). I am rather certain that I have pitched them more times than the cast shoes I broke. LarryMac, I don't understand how you were getting a year out of your cast shoes unless the quality of steel used in the AF shoes was better than the Glories. Funny thing---I bought four Glories over five years ago---and pitched the heck out of them until they had actually wore down a few ounces---and they didn't break. About 2 years back I replaced them with newer Glories and they began to break, almost on schedule. :roll:
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing !!!

LarryMac
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Re: Life of a horseshoe

Post#11 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:07 am

Clank wrote:In the several years that I have had a set of Legends (drop forged). I am rather certain that I have pitched them more times than the cast shoes I broke. LarryMac, I don't understand how you were getting a year out of your cast shoes unless the quality of steel used in the AF shoes was better than the Glories. Funny thing---I bought four Glories over five years ago---and pitched the heck out of them until they had actually wore down a few ounces---and they didn't break. About 2 years back I replaced them with newer Glories and they began to break, almost on schedule. :roll:


Clank you are probably right after thinking about it. I pitch at least 100 shoes most days, more in the summer. What I wasn't thinking about is I pitch 4 shoes in practice so I am only pitching the shoes half as much as I first estimated so maybe 6 months would be closer. Ever what it is I think it is too often and it doesn't take long for the ringer breaker to wear down so it isn't much different than the TA shoe.

Clank
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Re: Life of a horseshoe

Post#12 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:22 pm

LarryMac wrote:Clank you are probably right after thinking about it. I pitch at least 100 shoes most days, more in the summer. What I wasn't thinking about is I pitch 4 shoes in practice so I am only pitching the shoes half as much as I first estimated so maybe 6 months would be closer. Ever what it is I think it is too often and it doesn't take long for the ringer breaker to wear down so it isn't much different than the TA shoe.


Actually Larry---I pitch twice as many shoes (250---300) roughly 5 times a week. So we are on schedule with each other---breaking shoes at about the same rate.

You pitch 4 and I pitched 2 until recently. I started pitching 3. I ended up with three sets of the Eagles, after a belated order that I had cancelled came through. I match weighted them and ended up with 3 that weigh closer to 2lb. 9 oz and 3 that weigh around 2 lb. 8.25 oz.
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing !!!

garwha
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Re: Life of a horseshoe

Post#13 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:38 am

There is not much talk of pitching style and shoe breakage. My primary shoes are heavy M&M Specials. I live in Texas, practice 12 months out of the year, pitch league, and more than a dozen tournaments a year' I am entering year 4 on my most current matched set of 4 M&Ms, and my ringer breakers are heavily worn, and bent over some. I sometimes file the ridge off the inside created by thousands of ringers. I am an A class 30 foot pitcher pitching a 3/4 reverse with some loft in my pitch. Practice stakes are driven into a pre-drilled railroad ties. Before I moved out of Dallas after retirement I used to pitch with a friend pitching drop forged heavy Clydesdales, he tended to get about a year out of two shoes with a fast and low turn at 40 feet. His breakage rate was triple mine at a time when we were both pitching 40 feet. It seems adding a little loft in the pitch reduces breakage.

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HSLegend
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Re: Life of a horseshoe

Post#14 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:43 pm

Height is ringer is usually the difference of hitting the stake vs landing around the stake. Definitely going to see more wear hitting the stake low and hard.
I'm a Legend...if only in my own mind...

Clank
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Re: Life of a horseshoe

Post#15 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:43 pm

Low thrown shoes must be pitched with more force but do they actually hit harder than lofty shoes falling from higher up? My physics understanding stops low and short of giving me an opinion about this. I do not pitch low and hard. I broke a lot of shoes before changing to drop forged. I'm thinking---Those shoes which hit the top tip of the stake at a drop angle more in line with the stake angle catch the worst impacts.
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing !!!

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