Cast Horse is Hanayama's version of a puzzle any puzzler is sure to recognize. It is a very popular design for a good reason! Puzzle Master was kind enough to send me a copy of this puzzle to review. Thanks!
Since this is a classic design that is in the public domain, a ton of companies produce different versions of this puzzle. This version from Hanayama is quite nice if you are looking for something that you can slip into your pocket. It has a great weight to it and is just the right size. I also really liked the shiny finish that they selected.
If you want something a bit larger, check out Old Shackles from Tucker Jones House Tavern Puzzles. I've played around with it a bit, and it is nice, but I think I prefer something a bit smaller and more compact, given that puzzles are currently over-running my small apartment!
As a puzzle, this is a true classic. When you first hand it to somebody who hasn't seen it before, the obvious reaction is that it looks impossible. Clearly the loop can't fit over either horseshoe, so how could it come off? This is a great quality in a puzzle.
Another great aspect is that you can, with a bit of practice, quickly take the ring off in front of somebody who is stumped, and it won't really help them very much. A bit like magic!
I remember when I first tried the Tucker Jones version this puzzle at Eureka Puzzles in Brookline, I had a heck of a time with it at first. Then when I finally got the ring off, I found that it was just as tricky to get the ring back on because I didn't quite understand how I got it off. I tried to undo what I did to get the ring off, but it just ended up slipping back off again!
Overall, Cast Horse is a fun little puzzle that is definitely worth checking out, in whatever version appeals to you. I don't think there are really any downsides to it, other than the fact that most puzzlers will already have a copy (or several!).
I've seen a 3-horseshoe version (Three Levels of Dread a.k.a. Triple Crown) that sounds interesting based on this thread on Puzzle World Forums. I'll have to check it out sometime! My next post will be about another variation on this puzzle by Hanayama called Cast W-U.
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