Antoine Corona's Horseshoes

Thoroughbred racehorses can be worth millions, and owners spend vast sums to keep them healthy.
12 December, 2016
In the equestrian world, horseshoes that protect the animal's hooves are critical pieces of equipment.
Expert farriers are sought after to serve some of the most valuable and beautiful animals in the world. One of the materials that farriers prefer for horseshoes is aluminium, and the advantages of a lightweight shoe have been known for decades.

One farrier in France made a name for himself by inventing a line of aluminium horseshoes that improve comfort and performance. Antoine Corona graduated in 1986 from a Belgian farrier school considered one of the best in the world, and then continued training at the Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan in France as part of the equestrian unit of the officer cadets.
His working years built an internationally regarded career, and by 2000, Corona was ready to design his own horseshoes and launch his business in Le Mans. What Corona wanted was an improvement on the aluminium shoes that already reduced fatigue for horses, limited vibration from traveling up their legs, and remained durable in terms of wear.

On the other hand, the softer aluminium can cause damage to horse's hooves if left on for long periods of time once the shoes have worn. That is unthinkable for a farrier working with race horses, show horses, equine veterinarians and some of the world's top riding schools – so Corona invented a new shoe. His ACR products rely on a different aluminium alloy that makes the horseshoe more sturdy.
Images: AC Concept
Corona tried about two dozen different alloy mixes until arriving at his solution, but he hasn't stopped there. He also designed a harder version for endurance horses, and while the cost of these shoes is more expensive, that's not typically prohibitive for people with high-value horses in international competition. They run about USD $50 to $80 per pair, making them accessible for other equestrian enthusiasts too.

One improvement farriers appreciate is the alignment for nail holes, which are slightly angled to make it easier to nail them to the hooves, and more closely match the rectangular shape of the nails. They can be applied both hot or cold, although heating is recommended. Corona's aluminium shoes can be heated to 450 degrees Celsius, while the farrier is careful to consider how the thickness of the shoe may slightly alter how long heating takes, and advise even heat by placing shoes at the center of the forge.
Corona, in a nod to the culture and community that surrounds horses, has said his aluminium shoes were made possible by all that he learned from owners, trainers, veterinarians and riding professionals. As a farrier, he came to understand the various challenges that horses face in different contexts – jumping, galloping, long-distance endurance riding – and the impacts on the health of the animals.
Image: AC Concept
That lifelong learning translated into aluminium alloy shoes that can be designed as all-purpose sport shoes for a mix of disciplines; specific shoes for racing; or products like the ACR Rolling Torsion Shoe for three-day shows that require endurance.

Corona also offers a full line of orthopedic shoes to prevent or help heal injuries. A simple three-degree wedge lift at the heel, for example, protects the deep flexor, while a different style limits damage to ligaments. There's even an aluminium shoe created solely for German horses and their more egg-shaped feet.

The shoes have been on the market in Europe for at least 10 years, but they also have limited availability at locations in the United States and Canada. In the high-stakes world of equestrianism, products that can demonstrate their effectiveness in keeping horses safe are worth every penny.
Banner image: Wikipedia