How to hang horse shoes

I’ve seen horse shoes hung in or on houses for good luck. But which way should the “U” of the shoe hang? I’ve seen them up and down. Some say up for good luck and others say down. What’s the straight dope have to say?

I remember an old Leave it to Beaver episode where Wally tells the Beaver to hang it up(like the letter U) so the luck doesn’t fall out.

I’ve always followed that method.


if it’s


the luck runs out. (As Mahaloth has just stated.

That’s the same thing I heard. Like a U so the luck doesn’t fall out.

We all agree.

This “points up” or “u” orientation seems to be of fairly recent date, at least as far as Britain/Canada is concerned:

I have seen many, many greeting cards, brass and silver stickpins, etc. from the 1880s-1920s period that have the “points down,” or what we may refer to as the “omega” orientation. (I have also noticed that black cats seemed to be a portent of good luck in this same general timeframe.

Canada WWI 32nd Battalion cap badge

circa 1900 novelty good luck clock

souvenir beaded horseshoe, c. 1900

1920s native chief gold pin

1910s postcard

1915 postcard

Victorian gold and silver lady’s brooch

Col. Potter had a nearly identical line in an episode of MAS*H.

Wow! Those are some nice pictures.
Do you collect horse shoe images?

No, just an ephemera/old-timey stuff geek.

The only thing I own out of that lot is the 32nd Battalion cap badge.

From our friends at Wikipedia:

I was told that if you hang it points-down then the luck runs out… but if you hang it points-up then the devil can sit in it. You pays yer money and you takes yer choice…

Personally I’d mount it sideways, on the landward end of a horse.

Ah, but black cats ARE a good luck thing (in Britain anyway). :slight_smile: (Yes, I did find it confusing if I looked at American-type comics as a child. :slight_smile:

And the horseshoe should always be pointing up, in my own little universe anyway.

In an ancient issue of Playboy, a father visited his son’s fraternity house, and he saw a woman’s stiletto-heeled shoe above the doorway. He told his son, “When I was here, we had a horseshoe hanging there for good luck!”

The son replied, “That is a whore’s shoe, Dad!”

I knew someone that did a lot with horses in competitions. She said the horse shoe pointed up for luck, but there was some case where circumstances dictated the horse shoe to be hung downward. I have no idea what it was anymore, and I’ll never likely see her again to ask.

WAG It could have been something like a found shoe had to point up for luck, but if a horse threw it, you had to hang it up side down to avoid bad luck. This is very likely NOT what she siad, but gives the correct type of context in which it was stated.

This is authoritative enough for me.

So, clearly the horseshoe should be pointed down.

:: G&D R ::

My grandmother, an old English countrywoman born in 1886, had one when I was little. It was points down. She said if you put it the other way up, it made a swing for a witch to sit in!

Interesting - I heard the devil-swing thing from my grandmother too. Must be an old English superstition…

Come on, guys. Horseshoes have nothing to do with “luck”.

It’s all about having some cold steel over your doorway in case the elves come to steal your children

I have to wonder if it might be useful in keeping the Pooka out from the horse pen, when hung over the gate.