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Horseshoes by Steven Boga

Review by Mario Pagnoni

Author, The Joy of Bocce

Noting that some of my New England bocce-playing friends also pitch horseshoes, I searched for a book on the game. If there were none, I reasoned, I'd write it myself. Steven Boga saved me a lot of time and effort. He has put together a clear, concise, information packed 100-page booklet that more than does the sport justice. It covers in detail the techniques of grip, stance, swing, release, and follow-through. It includes very detailed diagrams for court construction and even lists the complete rules of the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America (NHPA).

Boga's brief, entertaining history of horseshoes chronicles the evolution and standardization of the game. He notes that before equipment manufacturers got involved, "Shetland pony shoes sometimes had to compete against those of Clydesdales."

I particularly like the way the author relates horseshoe pitching concepts to more familiar sports. "Take a practice swing up and back..." he says, "like a baseball player taking shadow swings." And calling a shot that was short of the stake an "air shoe" made me laugh out loud.

Clear, helpful drawings eliminate any chance of misunderstanding Boga's well crafted text. Finally, quotes from interviews with top players and anecdotes attributed to past pioneers of the game intersperse the book. This is a gem for the aspiring horseshoe pitcher and will entertain and inform the seasoned veteran as well.

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