Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

The 'Jimmy Choos' of horseshoes

updated 6:37 AM EST, Fri November 22, 2013
Australia's CSIRO Titanium Technologies says it has come up with a titanium horseshoe that is lighter than the traditional cast aluminum version. Australia's CSIRO Titanium Technologies says it has come up with a titanium horseshoe that is lighter than the traditional cast aluminum version.
HIDE CAPTION
The future of horseshoes?
The future of horseshoes?
The traditional model
The 'Jimmy Choos' of horseshoes?
No racing with those heels
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An Australian company says it can manufacture a horseshoe made of titanium
  • Weighing less than traditional aluminum horseshoes, horses can potentially run faster
  • Advances in 3-D scanning helped to deliver the final product, the firm says
  • A set of four shoes costs about $560 and one version was made in purple

(CNN) -- They are being billed as the Jimmy Choos of horseshoes but it's more than just the design that will appeal to jockeys and trainers.

Australian company CSIRO Titanium Technologies claims to have built a lighter horseshoe by using titanium rather than the traditional cast aluminum.

It says the shoe can be up to 100 grams lighter, which could mean that horses run faster in races.

Now, 100 grams might not sound like much but as Clive Woodward -- given a knighthood after coaching England to glory at the 2003 rugby world cup -- says, such small margins can make the biggest of difference.

Read: 'Ultimate race horse' up for sale

And whereas a pair of shoes made by Jimmy Choo can fetch more than $3,200, a set of four titanium horseshoes costs a mere $560.

Conan brings humor to horse race
Horses4Heroes supports heroes & families
European horses winning in Australia

"We are aiming to build confidence with the horse and the racing team," John Barnes, a titanium expert with CSIRO Titanium Technologies, told CNN in an email. "We still believe we can take more weight out."

In producing the titanium model, scientists scanned a horse's hooves using a hand-held device before formulating the design with software, CSIRO said in a news release with a headline referring to the famous Malaysian-born designer.

"Four of the customized kicks were printed within only a few hours!" according to CSIRO.

"It was a team decision when we were trying get people to understand the potential of additive manufacturing and how you don't have to be an expert designer," said Barnes.

"Advances in 3-D scanning provide an easy, affordable way to get a customized object and still have ultimate design flexibility.

"There are so many ways we can use 3-D titanium printing."

Read: The horse that upstaged Kylie

Richard Perham, a senior jockey coach at the British Racing School in Newmarket, England, said the new technology has potential.

"My job as a jockey coach is to get the riders to understand more about making finer points count," Perham, a flat jockey for 16 years prior to retiring, told CNN. "So if you add all those little points up and all those little 100 grams up, then I think there would be an advantage.

"Every bit helps."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:23 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
The going is always soft and the only permanent building is a toilet block. It's the antithesis to the pomp of Royal Ascot ... welcome to Irish beach racing.
updated 7:07 AM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
Each August, over a thousand tents and hundreds of horses converge on Little Big Horn River in Montana for the Crow Fair and Rodeo.
updated 5:57 AM EDT, Fri August 1, 2014
Show me the money! Hollywood star Tom Cruise was a big hit when he visited the Glorious Goodwood festival.
updated 8:41 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Little-known outside the tribes of the Rocky Mountains in the American northwest, Indian Relay is a "magical" horse-racing relay.
updated 9:25 AM EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
Now in his 50s, one of the world's most successful jockeys explains why he gave up acting to return to the sport that nearly crippled him.
Winning Post's Francesca Cumani is impressed by the all-round multitasking skills of Ireland's champion trainer Aidan O'Brien.
updated 4:53 AM EDT, Sat June 7, 2014
 An infrared camera was used to create this image.) A horse and exercise rider head to the main track for morning training at Belmont Park on June 4, 2014 in Elmont, New York.
More people have walked on the moon than have won the fabled Triple Crown of U.S. horse racing. California Chrome is seeking to square that score.
updated 7:37 AM EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
A long history of controversy made him the "enfant terrible" of horse racing, but veteran jockey Kieren Fallon is looking for redemption.
updated 7:31 AM EDT, Tue May 27, 2014
Joel Rosario on Animal Kingdom competes to win the $10 million Dubai World Cup, the world's richest race, at Meydan race track in Dubai on March 30, 2013. The 2011 Kentucky Derby winner (11/2), trained by American Graham Motion and ridden by Rosario, beat home English raider Red Cadeaux by two lengths while another English-trained runner Planteur was third.
With owners ranging from presidents to sheikhs and queens, horse racing is known as the "Sport of Kings" for good reason.
updated 9:20 AM EDT, Mon May 12, 2014
Buy for the right price and you could make millions. Get it wrong and it could be one of the most expensive mistakes you ever make.
updated 8:07 AM EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
Mine That Bird, the 2009 winner of the Kentucky Derby, is having his incredible story told on the silver screen.
updated 6:35 AM EDT, Fri April 4, 2014
Amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen is perhaps best known for helping to resurrect Prince William's relationship with Kate Middleton.
ADVERTISEMENT