Comparison of HIT-GRID equine footing and flooring products, with horse mats and other horse products . . .
Originally subtitled:
What's in a name?  A lot, maybe more than you want to read through ...
Update 26 May 2009: The following article was not intended to be descriptive of a locally-owned brand name.
Resellers' proprietary brand names come and go (often the brand name stays, but the product sold under that brand name gets replaced by a low-quality replica, without warning the customers).
Rather, this article was written about a specific product - not about a brand name.
At the time of its original publication, the specific product and the brand name in America were the same.
Unfortunately, the reseller to American consumers changed the product it was selling, but kept the old brand name.
That is where the confusion comes from: the temporary reseller in America years ago.
This article was written about the German-made ecoraster® (also known internationally in non-US English speaking nations by the registered brand name "ecogrid®" ~ more on this topic below).
The brand ecoraster® has always been around: and even the product which was originally marketed to Americans with the brand name "HIT-Grid" carried the makers' mark ecoraster® stamped right into the grids themselves.
If you think you may have purchased some HIT-grid at one time, you will need to see whether "ecoraster" or "ecogrid" is stamped into the grids, in order to determine whether you received the genuine original, or received the "replacement team."

I am Mark Rector. I originally wrote the following article in April of 2002, updated it several times over the next year, and published it to this, my personal web site » www.HorseSense.ws

Apparently Google, Yahoo!, MSN, ASK and AOL believe this article is a definitive, authoritative source of archival and dependable information about numerous searches related to equine footing and flooring systems.

The History ... I was asked in 2001 by the German equine product distribution company HIT to interpret some of their German language product information into "American Horse English."  ... more?

The issue requiring emendments & updates ...
Although the PRODUCT that this article was written about remains the same,
the BRAND NAMES cited in the original article are no longer associated with the PRODUCT that this article was written about. ... more?

Therefore ... For the sake of consistency and accuracy, it is necessary to emend the  BRAND NAMES cited in the original article about the original equine geogrid system in the USA.
Original and current URL of this article, since April, 2002:
I have emended each occurrence below:
Original text: HIT-Grid
Corrected text: Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30}
The source of this confusion?
The brand name cited in the article below, "HIT-Grid," is no longer the same product as it was in 2002.
» The distribution company HIT changed the product,
» but HIT kept the same brand name HIT-GRID!

 Below is a series of correspondences between Ann (a contact interested in the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} system) and ourselves at HorseSense.
I sent the following message to Hank Andresen, of Andresen International (Vancouver, B.C., Canada and Seattle, WA, USA). Hank is also the director of HIT / North America, which is why I referred Ann to him. I included a copy of my reply to Ann, in order to demonstrate to him my good will towards HIT: I did not wish for another company's executive's derogatory remarks about "grid-system" types of EF&F ("Equine Footing and Flooring") in general to remain uncorrected. [NOTE: You may also Download the SureFoot4 Brochure in Adobe Acrobat format(PDF), to view the info yourself. Also, my comments below are based upon my understanding of the SureFoot4 product and its history. I am not an expert or an engineer, although I have consulted with Brian Fahey of Equestrian Design, LLC. Brian said that - although the technical details provided below are essentially accurate - they are not in a 'scientific sense' exact. I have tried to keep the jargon down to a layman's (my) level, if you wish to get the full story 'straight from the horse's mouth,' please contact Steve Zamzow at the W-W Central Office.
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 Dear Hank:
I was contacted by Ann, who had wanted info about the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} system. Her original e-mail had been automatically forwarded to Steve Zamzow at the W-W office, who then proceeded to give her inaccurate/incomplete information about the viability of grid-system products in general. I felt compelled to set the record straight for her. She may be contacting you, please extend to her my gratefulness in receiving this lengthy e-mail from me.
With best regards,
Mark Rector
My reply to Ann follows . . .
 
From: Mark Rector at Lazy R Ranch
To: Ann
Sent: Friday, November 07, 2003 6:04 PM
Subject: From Mark Rector at HorseSense, about WW and HIT-GRID
ANN: this email will address these topics, in this order:
(1)  BRIEFLY:
You stated that you could see no reason ". . . .why this grid system could not work...if horses paw up the material, as I was told they do, it seems that it could be "wired" together upon installation . . ."
Well, Ann, you are absolutely correct. The fault with W-W's SureFoot4 design I can explain to you, as well as show you how the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} system has avoided its flaws through superior design, superior raw materials and manufacturing standards, a better-conceived installation methodology, and more vigorously and determinedly committed research and development. While it is true that W-W discontinued its SureFoot4 product due to poor design and manufacturing standards, there are other equine footing and flooring systems that do not share those flaws. Essentially, the concept behind the SureFoot4 product was not thoroughly reasoned, it was a little 'half-baked." W-W did withdraw the SureFoot4 from the market. On the other hand, Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} is 'going great guns,' experiencing rave reviews and tremendous popularity in Europe, and is currently in the initial phase of its market introduction to the American equine industry: "Build A Better Mousetrap . . ."
Dear Ann,
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my query. I am going to refer you to another company, HIT, to which you should have been referred earlier. But first I want to respond to Steve's statements, and to provide a little background on W-W's "SureFoot4" equine footing and flooring system, HIT's "Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30}" equine footing and flooring system, to their respective virtues and shortcomings, their Features and Benefits if you will.

I do not wish to leave you in the dark concerning these two completely unrelated products, their opposite histories, their applications and appropriateness for the use which you intended them when first you contacted the Little Flint Ranch in Indiana (whose web site you visited and used to initiate this contact). I feel at least partly responsible for your interest in Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30}, and would very much appreciate your permission to belatedly fulfill that responsibility: I apologize, please forgive my oversight.

I am sorry that you were less than fully informed by Steve Zamzow, President and CEO of W-W Capital Corporation (parent company of W-W Livestock Systems). You mentioned that it may have been someone other than Steve who telephoned you, which would tend to explain this oversight. If it was actually Steve who called, then I do not understand his unwillingness to explain to you, in Paul Harvey's words, " . . . the rest of the story" concerning the non-related W-W/SureFoot4 product and the HIT/Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} system.

I am sorry for the confusion. I am pleased to hear that Steve (or someone from W-W) did telephone you. Unfortunately, there is much more to the story about SureFoot4 (the ineffective, badly constructed from inferior materials and poorly designed Equine footing and flooring product formerly marketed by W-W) than was related to you. While it is true that SureFoot4 "did not work....[it was] a completely ineffective product" (in Steve's words), the fault was with that specific product's poor design and manufacturing standards, and with its less than fully developed concept and installation. Not all paddock/barn grid-systems share SureFoot4's shortcomings . . .
Fortunately, for your consideration there does exist the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} Equine footing and flooring systems, of which Steve IS fully aware. I do not understand why he did not mention this to you, unless it was actually somebody else who called you, someone who was not aware of the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} system. Steve knows how to refer you to the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} American representatives, or he could have referred you back to myself (he receives hundreds of email business-referrals from me every year - averaging about one per day - which is how he heard from you in the first place). I still have in the trunk of my car the two Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} samples that we demonstrated to Steve, Mike Dick, and their associates in April of 2002 in W-W's Fort Collins onference room. He kept the samples for many months in his personal possession, it is impossible for me to imagine that he ompletely forgot about them.

By his own admission to me, Steve is not really a horseman. He is a very competent accountant (a CPA) who - in my opinion - may be better qualified to act as a CFO/Comptroller than as a CEO/President of an agricultural manufacturing company. Neither is Colorado (where Steve and the W-W home office reside) an area that is familiar with the necessity for paddock/stall/barn/dry lot/turn-out/pasture mud control solutions, at least not like your and my states.
Colorado is semi-arid, bordering on desert (I lived there almost twenty years). Consequently the local horsemen with whom Steve is acquainted (upon whom he relies for equine advice) do not experience the type of weather and ground conditions which necessitate such a system. Especially this recent summer, those of us in the Midwest, South, East Coast, Gulf Coast, and Pacific Northwest are much more familiar with the necessity of effective and durable soil-stabilization and saturation-control solutions for equine operations.
Please do not think that I am denigrating or badmouthing W-W, or that I have any less than considerable respect for the W-W line of livestock equipment: they are the best in the world "bar none." A mere 'web rookie,' I have built the world's most popular web site for W-W's products, with no compensation whatsoever from either the Company or from the local W-W distributor for whom I designed it: I did this because I fully and passionately believe in the virtue and value of the W-W line of products.
With that qualifier stated, please allow me to explain the flaws with W-W's design and production, and to more fully demonstrate to you the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} Permanent Paddock Solutions system, which "DOES work . . . . and IS completely effective." The thousands of horse owners and breeders from all over the world who have used tens of millions of square feet of the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} system have very loudly voiced their opinions, with their pocketbooks. Perhaps their willingness to avail themselves of the HIT products and services speaks more directly to the point than does the well-intentioned - yet mistaken - opinion of an underinformed poorly-advised non-horseman CPA in semi-arid Colorado.
Please do not mistake me, I truly like Steve. He is pleasant and hospitable, engaging and intelligent, a thoroughly accommodating thoughtful host. However, I do not believe that he is fully informed in this particular discipline. If he had made a wiser business management decision eighteen months ago, W-W would not be facing the difficult and potentially devastating economic conditions it now finds looming overhead. It may not be possible for W-W to survive as "a going concern . . ." for another 12 months, according to the express opinion of the independent auditors W-W hired earlier this year.

(2)  WHAT W-W/SUREFOOT4 WAS, AND WHY IT DID NOT WORK . . .
[You are correct, there is no reason such a system could not work, if properly done . . .]
Three general flaws found in the SureFoot4 product:
1)inadequate structural design;
2) a low-quality raw material and manufacturing process;
3) constant and unabated exposure to degrading pressure and naturally appearing solvents and microbial deterioration.
In other words,
"SureFoot4 was a badly-installed product poorly made of inferior raw material,
exposed to an unrelentingly destructive environment."
It didn't have 'a snowball's chance' to survive in an equine environment.
A company other than W-W developed and manufactured SureFoot4. W-W was only acting as a reseller of the product, attempting to adapt an already existing product to Equine applications. I believe it was originally developed for lawn/landscaping/terra firma applications, however I may be wrong about this. It consists of vertical cylindrical tubes at least partially made of recycled polyethylene (literally, a random blend of "many plastics"). The cylinders were not structurally attached to each other. They were embedded into the soil and anchored, then almost completely filled with soil and seeded with grass. When autos were driven over or parked on top of them, the edges of the cylinders would support the autos' weight: hence preserving the integrity of the lawn or ground and the life of the grass.
W-W would similarly install the SureFoot4 into the floor or aisles of an equine barn, intending that the tubes' edges would similarly support the weight of the barns' residents. In an attempt to address stalled horses' tendencies to crib and paw the soil (due to constant hunger pangs, boredom and anxieties resulting from their disconsolate social isolation from other horses), the cylinders were 'anchored' using long spikes. Essentially, like so many open-ended coffee cans, the cylinders were lined up, topfilled, and 'nailed' into the soil.
In short order, when the soil became damp, the weight of the horses would push the separate cylinders down into the soil, causing the spikes to 'shimmy up' out of the ground. The effect was similar to what happens when we walk on saturated mud or wet snow: because of the great downward pressure exerted by our soles, our feet sink into the soil while the surrounding mud or snow pushes up around our boots to fill the displacement caused by our footsteps, and pulling our boots ff our feet if we tried to pull them out of the mud too quickly.
Of course, a 1,000 to 1,200 pound horse walking on four hooves exerts a far greater concentration of downward pressure upon the soil (a galloping horse will exert well over 1,000 psi - pounds per square inch - at the point of contact between the front edge of its hooves and the soil, when it 'turns its hooves'). The ability of even a standing horse to push these cylinders down into the damp softened soil is immediately apparent. For the horse that spends a great part of the day confined in its stall pawing and pacing and shifting its weight from one hoof to another, the constant erosion of the integrity of the product's installation was relentless, and up popped all the spikes!
Although it goes without saying I'm going to say it anyway, "This was not safe." Also, the product was manufactured from 'off-the-shelf' recycled plastics using a low-tech 'hurry-up' injection molding process. This material - because of its mongrel origin and the absence of sufficient internal structural reinforcement - was not able to long endure the environment within which it was installed. According to my understanding of the reasons that W-W pulled the product off the market, at the same time that the anchoring spikes were working their way up out of the soil the Polyethylene began to deteriorate under the soil: usually within 1-2 years after its installation. When added to its low-tech construction standards and impure raw material the fact that it constantly would be exposed to urea (ammonia from the horses' urine, a natural solvent), abnormally high concentrations of microbes in the ground and relentless non-uniform downward pressure, SureFoot4's failure was inevitable.
But it didn't have to be that way . . .

(3)  WHO HIT IS, WHAT Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} IS, WHAT IT DOES, AND WHY IT WORKS . . .
[First, please let me describe the origin of the company HIT, its Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} system, and HIT's other advanced equine technologies.
If you wish, you may skip ahead to "WHAT Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} IS . . "]
 WHO HIT IS . . .
The grid system was developed by a high-quality German manufacturing firm, it also was originally intended for non-equine uses. This meticulously 'German-Engineered' product has been adapted for equine uses by Thorsten Hinrichs, Dipl. Ingl., horseman and founder/owner of HIT ("Hinrichs Innovation & Technology").
Before inventing the PferdeMeister (literally "HorseMaster") automated computerized system that individually feeds horses while they are maintained in natural "horse-healthy" herds, Bewegungstall ("The Active Stable") and Artgerechte Pferdehaltung (loosely, "The Ideal/Progressive/Horse-healthy Science of Caring for Horses," this term does not easily translate directly into English) concepts of advanced equine maintenance technologies, and conceptualizing and developing the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} equine footing and flooring system, Mr. Hinrichs was employed for many years as a mechanical engineer.
Vocationally, Thorsten designed and created high-end mechanical equipment for a major German agricultural manufacturer, while raising horses on his generational inherited family farm. He applied his engineering know-how, agricultural manufacturing background, and creative ingenuity to the conditions he confronted in his equine operation. Earlier in life he achieved his educational degree "Dipl. Ingl." (the German equivalent of a doctorate of engineering), completing much of his graduate work in Iowa, USA.
Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} has been unequivocally successful since its initial introduction to the European equine industry, and has gone through one minor reconfiguration over the years (due to ongoing R&D on the part of HIT). Millions of square feet of Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} have been SUCCESSFULLY installed around the world, and it is now being distributed in the US. Unfortunately, many Americans may mistakenly equate the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} system with its US-developed predecessors, most of which were inadequate or unsatisfactory for equine applications, or just too darn expensive.
 WHAT Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} IS . . .
Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} is an interlocking system of vertical-walled honeycomb-designed cells made of reinforced polyethylene, using an advanced manufacturing technology patented in Germany (its German engineers were completely unconcerned that an American company might be able to duplicate and reverse-engineer it). The grids can withstand pressures up to 35 tons per square foot, enough to support earthmoving equipment. This allows one to drive fully loaded dump trucks or tractors with frontloaders or plows over the surface, making the installation in a large paddock simple. The patented interlocking design maintains the overall integrity of the grid-systems' continuous structure: the interlocking grids do not separate from each other when exposed to heavy use.
The system may be installed in a single day, either on top of a shallow (1"-1.25") sub-base of gravel or directly atop the soil (depending upon local soil conditions and intended usage). After the gravel is spread, the grids are snapped into place and riddled (compacted into the soil roughly 1/2 to 2/3 inch). The final step is to distribute a thin layer of sand, filling the grids and leaving a top layer of roughly 1/4th inch on top. Because of their flexible strength, motorized vehicles (tractors or trucks or lawn tractors) may be used to occasionally maintain the surface as needed.
Under normal environmental conditions (non-exposure to petrochemical or other refined chemicals), the grids have lasted indefinitely. They may eventually need to be replaced -nothing lasts forever - but none have required replacement, so far . . .
 WHAT IT DOES . . .
It allows liquids to immediately pass through into the subsoil: either rainfall if applied to paddocks or turnouts or traffic areas outdoors, or washwater or urine if applied inside an equine barn.
Outdoors: Because of its ability to allow a high volume of liquid to pass through it quickly, it can withstand several inches of rainfall every single day indefinitely, and your horses will never be standing in mud.
Because of its ability to withstand temperature extremes, it is actually more durable than concrete: it will not crack or succumb to upheaval when the soil beneath it freezes. When used in traffic areas (driveways or lots) it supports the weight of the vehicles: preventing the 'rutting' of gravel or soil, or preventing the crushing and destruction of grass. During heavy rains it prevents gravel runoff and shifting, keeping the crushed stone in place and making it unnecessary to grade the gravel after heavy rainfall, or to purchase more gravel to replace the gravel that was washed into the lawn, or to constantly sharpen the lawnmower blades.
Those beautiful crushed limestone driveways require much less stone as an original sub-base, and may be installed by the homeowner using common one-day rental equipment. They also stay beautiful longer, and require much less maintenance and re-application of stone in the future. Consequently, when using the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} in driveway or lot construction, they will save money in both the initial construction costs (about 1/6th to 1/3rd the stone, and no expensive professional earthmoving contractors are required), as well as in future maintenance costs and labor.
Indoors: Because of its high porosity, it may also be used as flooring for washing rooms, replacing the ubiquitous concrete flooring. Using Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30}, you will NEVER POUR CONCRETE AGAIN, either indoors or outdoors. Because of its high-density and strength, it may be used in barn aisleways where vehicular traffic sometimes is required (trailering or forage, bedding and feed deliveries). Because it keeps the surface dry, it may me used in storage areas (feed sacks, bedding, forage again). Conveniently, the grid system may EASILY be extracted from the soil and moved to another location, if necessary in the future.
When used in stalls: It has the benefits of both rubber horse mats and clay soil, with neither's drawbacks. Unlike horse mats Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} does not trap and pool the horse's urine, fouling the bedding and exposing the horse to thrush or other hoof-related syndromes. Also, because it maintains a dry environment similar to the outside ground during turnouts, it is much healthier for the horses' hooves [ASIDE: Constantly moving the horse between damp indoor conditions and dry outdoor conditions not only increases its predilection for hoof-and-foot disease and syndromes, it also confuses the horse's internal hormonal communications. These internal hormonal systems monitor the rate-of-abrasion of its hooves, and adjusts the rate-of-growth of its hooves to match: this is why a Rocky Mountain wild mustang can be relocated to soft and damp Florida marshland, and never require farriers, once it has become sufficiently acclimated]. Because less bedding is fouled you realize substantial savings in . . .
~labor: much less bedding is 'mucked out' and removed
~money: much less of the expensive bedding replacement is required
~time: compare "a bucket a day" to "a wheelbarrow twice a day" per stall
~more money: they cost about 2/3 what horse mats cost
~even more money: they do not require replacement every 1-3 year (depending upon usage) like horse mats

 WHY IT WORKS . . .  [where SureFoot4 and many other EF&F (Equine Footing and Flooring) systems failed]

As you intuitively suspected, one of the many advantages of Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} over SureFoot4 and other EF&F systems is this: the grids are securely interlocked. They present a solid, continuous flooring support, which makes it impossible for the horses that are standing on that flooring to paw up the grids (except for those darned flying horses and horses that own and operate SkillSaws, I suppose).
Returning to our "boots and mud" analogy, this system of interlocking reinforced high-density grids has what I have coined a "snowshoe effect." Imagine a 600 pound man wearing size 8 shoes with rock-hard soles, and the effect he would experience walking in a saturated muddy paddock. He would immediately sink into the mud up to his ankles or further. This is exactly the physics involved when your horse walks in a muddy paddock.
Now, imagine the same man wearing two snowshoes, each the size of a trashcan lid. Essentially, this is the effect the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} system achieves. It spreads out the weight of the horse over a much greater surface area, making it impossible for the horse's weight to push the toplayer down into the underlying subsoil. The horse would need to weigh a several dozen tons in order to sink into the mud when the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30}s are directly under each foot, above the gravel sub-base. I don't think anybody overfeeds their horses enough to achieve that size of horse.
Next, imagine each of those trashcan lids being securely interlocked with hundreds of other trashcan lids, covering the entire paddock. And imagine that each trashcan lid is able to support 35 tons per square foot without breaking up. This is why you are able to drive vehicles on top of the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} system without destroying the paddock.
If you have ever seen a paddock area that has had gravel spread over its top to address the 'muddy paddock' problem, then you are familiar with the utter futility of such attempts. In no time at all, the damage to the layers of gravel resulting from half-ton or more horses walking on small-circumference hooves completely destroys paddock. The gravel layer is intermingled with the semi-liqueous mud underneath, leaving us with a paddock that is still muddy, but now is rocky as well! If the horses ever break into a canter, or - Heaven Forbid - into a gallop, the effect is geometrically multiplied. Even a 6-8 inch layer of gravel will not last a single year under such abuse.
And who would want their horses walking on a thicker layer of gravel? If 12 inches or more of gravel is necessary to ensure the stability of the sub-base, then we may as well fill the paddocks with concrete. And even if we were to take the extreme and unsound measure of filling the paddocks with concrete, the upheaval, cracking, and resulting unleveling of the surface during winter freezes would make the paddock unsafe for future use.
Contrary to some people's misconceptions, the mud does not "work its way up" through the gravel layer, any more than it is possible for rocks to float on water. What really happens is the horse's weight makes it sink into the semi-liqueous mud, pushing the gravel directly underhoof down into the underlying mud as well. The mud directly next to the horse's submerged hoof then rushes in to fill the hole made by the sinking hoof. Then, when the horse lifts its hoof to take another step, some of the underlying mud is also 'sucked up' with the hoof onto the surface.
Do horses like to constantly stay in motion? It is their nature to remain in constant motion, resulting from millions of years in the wild, where it is necessary for them to naturally abrade their hooves and to seek many different kinds of forage, or else they would founder and die. Imagine the number of times a herd of horses confined in a muddy paddock step with each single hoof, and replace it.
When a full-grown horse breaks into a gallop, the downward pressure that can be exerted at the very tip and butt of its hoof or horseshoe is over 1,000 pounds per square inch. First, the lunging horse's hoof is slanted upward as the butt of the extended hoof strikes the surface, pushing the surface forward. As the horse's weight shifts forward (as the horse is propelled forward) the hoof rotates backwards until it is parallel with the surface. As the horse 'turns the hoof' (as its center of gravity shifts forward above the hoof and it prepares to reach for the next step), the hoof acts a plowshare. The point of the hoof continues to turn backward, digging down into the soil. Then, as the horse thrusts backwards to drive itself forward into its next lunging step, the hoof completes the turn, throwing the soil now directly behind the hoof up into the air.
Look closely at the tracks of a horse running in mud, and you will notice what I have coined this "plowshare effect." This popular 'several-inches-of-gravel' method of addressing muddy paddocks does not stand a chance of being successful for any length of time.

When used indoors: I have explained how Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} works in the trying conditions of open paddocks. When used indoors, the installation is similar. Depending upon prevailing ground conditions, it may or may not be necessary to first distribute a shallow sub-base of gravel. Once the ground is leveled, the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} sections may be applied directly atop the existing clay soil and compacted into place. An ordinary circular saw ("SkillSaw") can be used to trim the segments as needed. It is not necessary to completely fill the stalls up to the very edges of the walls. Sand may be commonly used as the filling for the cells of the grids, and your choice of bedding materials placed on top when they are used inside box stalls.
Because the grid system is porous, the horse's urine passes directly through it, where it is quickly absorbed into the soil and the natural action of microbes quickly decomposes the urine. Neither does it pool the urine into puddles as do horse mats, making unhealthy conditions for the horse and more expense and labor for the stableboy (usually me).
Because it is flexible and is installed directly on top of the soil, it does not endanger your horses' health, damaging the horse's knees and joints like concrete does. Still, like horse mats or concrete, it prevents the horse from pawing at the floor, creating unleveled surfaces that are as dangerous for the horse's health as can be an unforgiving concrete surface.
(4)  "WHO AND HOW" TO CONTACT HIT . . .
Hank Andresen of Andresen International directs HIT/North America. He has offices in Vancouver and Seattle. Please contact him if you are interested in the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} system for your operation. He will be able to provide you with brochures, prices, and your nearest source of the Hit-Grid 2002{ecoraster e-30} system.
E-mail: ~M Rector" <deleted for privacy>
Telephone: <deleted because the Anderson International is no longer an authorized distributor>
FAX: <same as above, + deleted because this number is no longer accurate>

Canadian office:
390 XXXX Avenue
North Vancouver, BC
Canada X?X ?x?
Seattle office:
2030 XXXX Road
Ferndale WA 98248
USA

Thank you for allowing me to 'flesh out' the less-than-complete information you received from W-W central office. And thank you for reading this longwinded, stem-winding saga of an email, I appreciate your patience and attention. I apologize by way of thoroughness, I did not wish for you to again receive a less-than-adequate reply to your enquiry. As always, I remain
Sincerely yours,
Mark Rector
765 412-xxxx
2400 xxxxxxxxx Ave.
West Lafayette, IN 47906
 Ann's message, to which I replied above . . .
From: "Ann" [disabled]
To: "Mark Rector at Lazy R Ranch"
Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2003 10:27 AM
Subject: RE: From Mark Rector at HorseSense, about W-W Livestock Systems
Mark.....
If I recall correctly, the contact I made was to inquire about a "grid system" for horse paddocks for mud control. I believe it was Steve that eventually contacted me....but he told me the product I was interested in was no longer sold or represented by his company because the paddock mud control system "did not work....a completely ineffective product".
So, I went on to use a different "temporary" product. I cannot understand why this grid system could not work...if horses paw up the material, as I was told they do, it seems that it could be "wired" together upon installation.
But, with the costs and time involved, being told the product was no longer carried by them due to the fact the system did not work...was certainly enough to encourage me to go a different route.
No local or other contact was made.
Ann
 My "followup" Message to Ann, to which her reply referred, follows . . .
From: Mark Rector at Lazy R Ranch
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2003 5:21 PM
To: Ann
Subject: From Mark Rector at HorseSense, about W-W Livestock Systems
Dear Ann Nicklous:
I am Mark Rector, I manage/design/publish/communicate for the Little Flint Ranch website (among others).
You visited the LFR website in July, and requested info about some W-W Livestock Systems products. I am following up personally on your request at this time, because we have heard the request for information from some of the people using our website were not adequately answered.
Because you are out of our service area (we are in Indiana), your request was forwarded to the W-W Central office in Fort Collins, Colorado. Steve Zamzow, Presidant & CEO of W-W (or <name disabled>, his Adm. Asst.) should have contacted you personally, providing you with the contact information (phone and address) of the W-W dealer nearest to you. Also, that 'local' W-W dealer should have contacted you directly. We hope that the local W-W dealer and/or the W-W Central Office were able to help you out with your request, and that you received the information you required.
I am following up on the service you received from our W-W Central Office and the Local W-W Dealer, to verify that you received the inforomation you requested and were referred to the W-W dealer nearest to you. Also, that the W-W dealer adequately fulfilled your requirements.
At your convenience, please let me know how your experience went with the W-W Central Office and your 'local' W-W dealer.

Sincerely yours,
Mark Rector
765 412-xxxx
2400 xxxxxxxxx Ave.
West Lafayette, IN 47906
?????????@horsesense.ws <altered for privacy sake, please contact me if you want the original>
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 More about the reason this authoritative article required updating ...
German language product information into "American Horse English."
The equine product distribution company HIT ["Hinrichs Innovation + Technik"] was named after founder/owner Dilp. Ingl. Thorsten Hinrichs.
HIT owner/found Thorsen Hinrichs invented an equine maintenance technology that remains today as THE State of The Art for the equine industry, worldwide.
His "Artgerechte Pferdehaltung" ['the ideal system of equine care and maintenance'] utilizing their Bewegungstall ['active stable'] concept and PferdeMeister™ equipment.
Herr Hinrichs' creation is breathtaking in its performance, its efficiency, and most importantly its positive effect on the horses' physical and emotional conditions.
To supplement his company's revenue, he also began to purchase the original equine geogrid from the purus group, renamed the geogrid using his own proprietary brand "HIT-Grid™, and began distributing/reselling the original geogrid under his proprietary trademark "HIT-Grid."

Fortunately: the original, genuine geogrid product always known by the international trademark "ecoraster®" (and by the international registered trademark "ecogrid®" in English, non-American nations) has always been available:
it was invented, engineered and manufactured by the purus group of Germany;
and has ALWAYS born the international trademark and maker's mark ecoraster® (even while HIT was selling it under their own brand name "HIT-Grid" the grids had stamped on their sides the maker's mark ecoraster®, not "HIT-Grid").
The German Original has always born the makers mark "ecoraster" - imprinted directly into the product itself (and always will).
The American Trademark and Brand Name HoofGrid ™ is co-owned and shared equally by:
» the original manufacturer of ecorster® - the purus group of Germany,
» and its only authorized distributor incorporated in the United States of America - EDI of Sammamish, Washington.


More about  International Trademarks and Proprietary Brand Names ...
The product this article was originally written about, "ecoraster®" (and as "ecogrid®" in many English-speaking nations) is an internationally registered trademark and brand name:
  (i) under the Madrid Agreement of 1891 and  the Madrid Protocol of 1989;
(iii) ecoraster and ecogrid are the intellectual property of the purus group in Germany.

The United States of America was not an original signatory to the Madrid Agreement of 1891.
However the USA is an active participant and official observer when the WIPO international resolution boards meet in Berne, Switzerland. [World Intellectual Property Organization]
The WIPO is responsible for reconciling international brand/trademark disputes.
This has become necessary as a result of the "global economy" of today.
Different nations have had different products or services - which used the same or similar trademarks - for decades.
This was not an issue a few years ago, when product distributions covered limited, regional territories.
Currently, most of the developed world (and much of the developing world) are signatories to The Madrid System.

Today: these international trademarks and brands are administered by the WIPO in Switzerland, a neutral nation.

Unfortunately: the temporary distribution company at the time the article was written no longer sells the same product, rather has replaced it with (in my personal opinion) an inferior "look alike" product ~ while continuing to use the same "HIT-Grid™" brand name and trademark.  Yes, one could expect confusion on the part of consumers to result from this marketing practice/strategy. That is why this article required updating: the world has shrunk quite a bit during the few years since it was written.

Since the time this article was originally written in 2002, the American and International Manufacturer's Authorized distributors have changed, resulting in ....
The publicly branded trademarks in America changing as well (the distribution companies own their brand names, and take their brands with them when they change product sources),
and the products sold under those brand names have changed (the distribution companies have changed the product sources, but kept the same brand names),
... but the German Original Equestrian Geogrid remains the Same - the original product and the original manufacturer of the original, high-quality, German-engineered and German-manufactured equine geogrid product has remained constant and dependable across two centuries.
It is ecoraster®, today known in the USA and Canada under the trademarked brand name HoofGrid™ and/or Ecoraster™.
It always has had - and always will have - the makers mark "ecoraster" imprinted directly into the top edges of the grids.

The source of this confusion? American consumers were confused because the brand name cited in the article below, "HIT-Grid™," is no longer the same product as it was in 2002.
» The distribution company HIT changed the product,
» but HIT kept the same brand name HIT-GRID!

The above practice is technically legal, but may be confusing to some American consumers. Hence this emendment to this article: it required updating in order to remain accurate across the popular brands of equine geogrid sold in the USA today.

About international trademarks, brands, and proprietary products: The specific BRANDS referred to in the article below must be emended; updated in order to remain accurate in today's market niche: CSI divisions 32.xx.xx and 31.xx.xx. ["Construction Specifications Institute" 2004 Masterformat]

A. The product originally branded by the distribution company HIT as "HIT-Grid™" was not manufactured by HIT; it was the product manufactured by the purus group of Germany, and branded by the purus group as "ecoraster e-30."
B. The distribution company HIT created a poor imitation of the original ecoraster e-30,
the HIT replica at that time was made for HIT by a manufacturer in Poland,
under a "custom-manufacturing" production contract.
C. The distribution company HIT continued to sell the product they had branded as HIT-Grid,
even though the "new HIT-Grid™" was not the same product as they had sold originally under the "HIT-Grid" brand name.
D. As is often the case when a distribution company attempts to create a replica or "look alike product,"
the quality of HIT's replica was/is inferior to the original ecoraster e-30 [American trademark today: HoofGrid™].
E. This is because distribution companies and marketing companies have no experience or expertise in the fields of chemical engineering, production engineering, pavement engineering, geotechnical engineering, production equpment mechanical engineering, and so forth ...
These "sales people" think that it is simply a matter of making something that looks like it would or possibly could work,
hiring a local company to to make a cheap imitation that looks similar (or making it in their garage),
and then using their salesmanship skills to sell their replicas and imitations to the unsuspecting public
Please think in terms of ...
"Hey, I just received an email offering me a Rolex or Patek Philippe watch for only $10.00. It sure looks good to me, what a great deal! "
Those replicas may seem to be the same - to the undiscerning, inexperienced or unprofessional consumer.
Unfortunately, if you buy a replica or knockoff it may not be exactly the same quality as the original, and it may not continue to work for a very long time (to put it mildly).
The same goes for the plastic equine footing & flooring geogrids being marketed in the USA today: buyers beware!
The current, sole US Corporation which is the German Manufacturer's Authorized distributor in North America » www.ecoterr.com
HoofGrid™ product information » www.HoofGrid.COM
HoofGrid™ Projects and examples » www.HoofGrid.NET
HoofGrid™ 1-page simple summary » www.HoofGrid.BIZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
The Original Equine Footing and Flooring Grid System
Ask me about some of the other imported German, Austrian and Australian world-quality equine products and equipment ...
The importance of using the correct type of sand.
Agricultural/Dairy Footing
Copyright 2009 Mark Rector at www.horsesense.ws
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