Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sun, Oct. 17

Mule train crosses the Rez<br>

The boys are up and moving around by 5 a.m. the next morning, and have quite a bit to do before climbing in the saddle or wagons.

John Ogden, a Vision Quest Team Leader, is known affectionately as “J.O.” to the boys. Quick to smile, Ogden describes a very busy day for these inter-city boys. As he talks with several local residents who have stopped in to take a look, J.O. directs boys through bridle choices, who is to ride whom, and even the catching of one particularly large mule who has gotten loose.

Some kids go ahead each morning to set up camp for the night. This includes erecting metal containment corrals for the mules and horses, running a brightly colored fencing material, putting up saddle racks for tack to dry, putting up the three teepees, and more.

For others, it’s 13 to 20 miles in the saddle. Each boy attends at least three hours of school per day, attends group ceremonies, and faces several hours of chores per day.

Many of these kids have been to court-ordered boot camp already, Ogden said. For others, this is their second and third wagon train. This time, most of the boys are from Pennsylvania, and did not know how to ride when they arrived at the Vision Quest home camp near Douglas.

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