Friday, July 10, 2020

Teens Launch Pony Ride Business

Popular with kids, available for rentals

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Motorists in Garfield Ridge have recently been heard saying things like “What the…?” and “Did I just see…?”

Cellphone photos of what they saw have been popping up on local Facebook pages.

The photos are of a miniature pony pulling a cart down a side street, and they represent the marketing-on-a-shoestring savvy of two high school entrepreneurs.

Matthew Orta and Armani Diaz are heading into their seniors years—Orta at St. Rita and Diaz at De La Salle. Both are 2017 graduates of St. Daniel the Prophet School.

“We plan to study business in college and become entrepreneurs,” Orta said. “We started by cutting lawns. We saved our money and then we saw that this kind of business—pony rides--had potential.”

Their path was made easier by Diaz’s grandfather, an immigrant farmer with a spread in Frankfort that includes trained ponies and other livestock.

Their unique business—simply named Garfield Ridge Pony Rentals—launched last week and offers rentals of two 2-year-old miniature ponies and three baby Nigerian dwarf goats.

Different deals and combinations are offered. The full package includes both ponies and the goats for two hours, at a rental price of $300.

The carts the ponies pull can carry several children at a time. The baby goats are presented petting zoo-style, in a small pen.

Orta and Diaz also clean up any mess the animals may make while they are at an event.

The teenagers see the venture as perfect for children’s parties and other festive occasions.

The animals are cared for humanely, Orta said. He and Diaz are at the farm daily, ensuring that the ponies and goats are well fed and have fresh water, and that they have access to veterinary care.

Should the venture succeed, Orta said he and Diaz envision expanding and even hiring their younger brothers to help run the business.

Those interested in more information on rental packages are advised to visit the pony rental service on Facebook.

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