Thrift Treasure: Horseshoe Puzzle

Thrift Treasure: Horseshoe Puzzle

Taking a break from games this week to show you another 3D puzzle we picked up at our local thrift shop. Odds are pretty good that you have one of these or have at least attempted to solve one at one time or another. The Horseshoe Puzzle comes in many forms and sizes, sometimes with many chain links, or like ours with only one. Sometimes called “Old Shackles”, it is usually the version that introduces us to the wide world of metal 3D puzzles.

We love this type of toy for the challenge it provides in such a small and inexpensive package. But let’s be honest, most of them go unsolved. Today you’re in luck, we’re going to show you how to solve one for yourself!

This week's Thrift Treasure is one of the most common 3D puzzles you'll find, but also one that seems to stump everyone. We'll show you how to solve it! -

If you have great spatial awareness you probably can figure out the solution on your own. I actually find it harder to get the ring back on the puzzle once I have it removed (odd, right?). Whether you have a version with multiple chain links or a single link like ours (more difficult to maneuver), the solution can be summed up like this:  Put the ring at an angle and twist the horseshoes until they make a “W”. That’s it? Doesn’t make sense, check out this quick instructional video we threw together and it will all make sense.

Our study version only set us back a couple bucks at Goodwill, but you can find a wide variety of new copies for under $10 on Amazon. Once you have it mastered, you’ll be ready to try the next few in the puzzle line like “Satan’s Stirrup” or “Patience“!

What is the most difficult puzzle you ever attempted (or completed)?

Scott Brady

About Scott Brady

A former manufacturing executive, Scott now balances his family life with ownership and backend administration of websites such as, and a number of other online properties. He also is an award-winning board game designer with notable titles such as Hues and Cues and boop.

17 comments on «Thrift Treasure: Horseshoe Puzzle»

  1. That looks like fun, it’s amazing what you can find in charity shops isn’t it?

  2. That looks like a ton of fun! I bet my daughter would love something like this.

  3. Carlee C says:

    My husband has a couple puzzles like this. We need to get them out so my oldest can check them out, I think he would enjoy the challenge.

  4. Blacksmith puzzles are the best. They’re so much fun, and you really have to think.

  5. Jen Temcio says:

    This is such cool timing that I am reading this!!! My son was just asking me if I could find him a set of the magic trick rings that link together and then come apart. This (and the other’s you mentioned) would be a super fun challenge for him!

  6. Fun. I haven’t seen a horseshoe puzzle before but it looks like a great learning game for older children.

  7. Shonda says:

    This is right up my alley of fun things to do. Fun and challenging for adults and kids alike.

  8. I am absolutely the worst at figuring these things out. My daughter does them really well though.

  9. Leslie says:

    I’ve tried this puzzle before. Hah, it’s really complicated but it’s fun trying to figure it out.

  10. I find these difficult to do. My nephews never had any trouble solving them. The pictures are pretty cool. It is fun to find new toys in unexpected places (the thrift shop).

  11. Nuno Santos says:

    Looks fun!

  12. LizZ H. says:

    Son of a gun….I would have NEVER thought of doing that! Then again I’m not very good with these games!

  13. Maggie Boone says:

    I love puzzles and this looks like it would be enjoyable to manipulate.

  14. Tammy says:

    I love these puzzles. They sure do work the brain.

  15. sacha says:

    You did it again, great game. This one I like more because it will keep my son busy for hours trying to figure out this puzzle lolzzz

  16. This is just the kind of puzzle my son really enjoys – what a lucky find!

  17. Dave Racette says:

    I love these puzzle games – just not very good at them…

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