W. Mark Bisson, AKA Major Dad
We have always had a big spread of students when it comes to ages, backgrounds, cultures and life experience. And in every group there will be the one that is the most mature. This year we feature Major Dad. The opposite side of this spectrum is Little Cody who is only 14, but we will blog about him later. Having someone like Major Dad living in the bunkhouse is great for us. It often creates a much better living situation for everyone.
Major Dad has been there and done that, and he lists his age as seasoned. I have to admit that he has aged better than me, and we did go to different high schools together. Growing up in New Hampshire, Major Dad started riding English at a very young age. Ever since then he has always enjoyed whatever time he could spend on a horse, although that has not been as much time as he might have liked.
Right out of high school he joined the Army and served for 28 years. His Army occupations have run the gambit of small-arms & artillery repairman, National Guard tank driver while he attended college, and two decades as a Field Artillery Officer. He has served as an artillery battery commander in combat, taught history at West Point, and been a battalion operations officer and executive officer in Oklahoma. He also did a stint as a joint staff officer in Korea. He recently retired from active duty as a Major.
While in college, Mark met his wife of 15 years. She was a naval officer as well as a civil servant before becoming a full-time mom and homeschool teacher for their daughter. Their daughter loves animals of all kinds and wans to be a vet. Not the kind of vet her folks are, the animal kind. Right now she spends all the time she can on top of Pete, a percheron/quarter-horse cross that owned by a friend.
One of the things that a military career does give you is the option of a second career. When the time was coming for retirement, he looked at many options from teaching, or something in the corporate or government sector. Looking at all the potential careers led to looking at farriery. Working with horses, making things with a forge and anvil, and not being in an office were very appealing. Mark contacted local farriers Jay Sanders and HHS graduate Matt Merrill, CJF, and they showed Major Dad what the job of being a farrier was all about.
Through talking to farriers, he was able to find out about HHS. The more he looked, the more he liked, and that led him to be in the Journeyman Farrier Course. This course really appealed to Major Dad because the last eight weeks require the students to make all of the shoes they nail on. A skill that Major Dad wants to build and hone. Right now the number one goal is to get a diploma from HHS. From there he will be opening and operating his own farrier business. He will be located in central Kansas when he begins this second career, and I am certain that he is going to be a big success.