SHAKOPEE, MN – It’s obvious the way Marlene Colvin looks at and talks about Heliskier that he is special to her. It has nothing to do with his wins on the track but everything to do with his disposition off it and his place in the family.
The story has been often told about Bun Colvin telling his wife of over 50-years that Heliskier was the special horse they’d been waiting for in their lifetime of racing. At the time he never knew that would be the last colt he’d ever break, but in life’s final twist it was and Marlene has carried that with her since.
“I wish he could have seen him run,” she says wistfully. “People say that he is watching him and with all the success that he’s had I think Bun is watching and taking care of him. I feel him every time he runs.”
Injured in 2014, Heliskier had successful surgery to remove bone chips and returned to his South Dakota home to recuperate.
“One year from surgery,” said Colvin, “That’s what my husband said – ‘Marlene, that’s just nature’ – and that always stuck with me. So we gave him all the time he needed and only after he received several bills of health from the veterinarian – and his year away – did he start back.”
‘Skier, as she affectionately calls him, started his road back to racing with close family friend and business partner Eric Von Seggern in Nebraska.
“Eric kind of does what we used to do,” she said. “He does such a great job and really, everyone involved in taking care of this horse have been so wonderful and they’ve done such a great job. From his vets, to Eric and Mary and Cindy and Mac [Robertson], they’ve just been so wonderful.”
Heliskier has breezed three times over the Canterbury surface since returning to Shakopee about a month ago. All have been short three furlong works, the kind you expect to see from a horse starting to gear up and get into shape.
“We’re taking our time,” said Colvin. “Mac isn’t going to rush him. He’ll start really working him soon and see where he is. ‘Skier will let us know when he’s ready.”
As much as the seven year old gelding means to Colvin, she’s even more excited to know that he has a fan base out there.
“They started playing that music before his races,” she said, clearly amused by the fuss. “People really seem to love him. It’s nice that he has a fan club.”
If all continues well his local fans should be able to look forward to seeing him again before the end of the meet.