Friday, November 16, 2007

A Tremendous Loss to my Horse Community

I have ridden horses here on Long Island for over 35 years. I have competed in local shows, ridden on organized trail rides and hunter paces and had the good fortune to ride as a guest with our local hunt, the Smithtown Hunt. I have the greatest respect for all those who give so much of their time and talent to present us with the opportunity to participate in such events.

Though my relationship to Ed and his wife is only through friendly association at equine events, my sympathies to their family are most sincere. So it is with such respect that I feel the loss of one of our own who has given so much to our sport.


Edward Wrigley, fox hunt enthusiast, dies at 62

BY SID CASSESE.sid.cassese@newsday.com

November 15, 2007


Edward Wrigley, a major figure in the sport of fox hunting in Suffolk County, died Sunday of a heart attack doing what he loved - riding his horse on the hunt at Sears Bellows Park in Riverhead. He was 62 and lived in Melville.

"The only consolation in this tragedy is that he died doing what he loved, which was riding his horse, with his friends, behind hounds in the woods," said his friend and hunt buddy Cathleen A. Springer, of Aquebogue.

"He was so dedicated that when he suffered his heart attack, and hit the ground, his hunt horn was still firmly clasped in his hand," said his wife of 15 years, Marge, whom he met on the hunt.

Wrigley, who for a long time ran his auto repair business in Miller Place, had for the past 10 years worked with his wife in their Syosset business, the Riding Shop.

Wrigley began his commitment to the sport in the mid-1970s, joining the Smithtown Hunt, where his first official post was as an honorary whipper-in, a sort of assistant to the huntsman, another honorary position he moved into. He kept moving up in the hunt and four years ago was named to the top post of master of foxhounds.

The 117-year-old Smithtown Hunt stopped using real foxes at the turn of the century, and for the past seven years has had the hounds chase a fox's artificial scent "dragged" over meadows and woods, according to Dr. Edmunde Stewart, of Setauket, a more than 30-year friend of Wrigley's.

"Ed was always a gentleman and well respected horseman and performed very well as a huntsman," who is in charge of the hounds, Stewart said.

Marge Wrigley said her husband was always working for the hunt in one capacity or another. "He chaired committees for events, worked tirelessly on the trails and jumps to make the riding both exciting and safe and attended countless meetings to promote the organization's mission of environmental conservation, open space preservation and historical education on the hunt."

Wrigley was also a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for 19 years and mentored hundreds of people struggling with the disease. He also spoke at chapters around Long Island, said his wife.

Besides his wife, he is survived by two sons, Edward Clayton, of Lackawanna, Pa., and Kenneth Wrigley, of Wading River; two daughters, Lisa Guercia, of Montgomery, N.Y., and Melissa Wrigley, of Ridge; two stepsons, Kevin Bonnie, of the Principality of Monaco, and Jim Bonnie, of Stamford, Conn.; a stepdaughter, Mary Grace Conti, of Melville; and eight grandchildren.

Viewing will be at M.A. Connell in Huntington Station from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today. The body will be cremated and a special memorial will be held at a date to be announced. His ashes will be scattered at a special hunt in his memory.

Copyright © 2007, Newsday Inc.