Edward Donald James, a respected businessman in and beyond the equestrian and horse racing worlds, passed away in Aurora, Ontario, on October 29, 2023 at the age of 92.
James was a prominent Standardbred owner who owned race horses for over 65 years, including the very successful US and Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee McWicked, which raced under his SSG Stables and became the richest pacing stallion in the history of the sport with $5.1 million in career earnings.
James was also the national sales manager and president of two multi-national companies over his career. He founded Fargo Trading/SSG Gloves in the late 1980s, creating riding gloves designed for all disciplines from hunter/jumper and dressage to polo and driving. His support of Canadian riders and drivers as a sponsor, outfitting riders of various ages, skill levels, and disciplines with high-quality SSG riding gloves, was tremendous and greatly appreciated; SSG even created a special Canadian Equestrian Team glove. As a result of this support, SSG Gloves was named EC Sponsor of the Year in 2009, and Jump Canada Sponsor of the Year in 2017.
SSG introduced the innovative ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion in 2011, which ran through to 2016 and offered a cash bonus of between $1,000 and $3,000 (or more) to riders at select shows in the US and Canada who won their class while wearing SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves with the distinctive horse head logo clearly visible at the wrist. “The concept of rewarding the riders with a cash bonus was something that I felt would be interesting for the sport of show jumping,” remarked James at the time. “The ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotional bonus is contingent on the riders wearing our product, and we hope that those who participate will enjoy being rewarded for their loyalty.”
Ed James was known for his energy and passion; part of his online obituary reads:
“With his infectious wit, humor and charm he made friends all over the world … with his drive and headstrong bulldozer determination, a few enemies. He will be forever missed by his family and hundreds of friends. He always aimed to be remembered like his father, a solid respected man, a straight arrow. And he achieved that in spades. His dad would be proud.”
James is survived by his sons Dennis, Stuart and Robert, seven grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and his second wife Lynda. A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday December 3rd, 2023 at Filly and Co. 14888 Yonge Street, Aurora, Ontario L4G 1M7