Ponies, camels, other animals at Giddy Up Ranch in Phelan affected by slow business amid COVID-19

The Giddy Up Ranch in Phelan has seen its pony ride and petting zoo business drop due to the coronavirus pandemic.
PHELAN, Calif. (KABC) -- Giddy Up Ranch is normally booked at carnivals and fairs this time of year. But now the business is just trying to hold on. For many, pony rides and petting zoos are a staple of childhood, but like everything these days, the coronavirus is taking a toll and it has left the Giddy Up Ranch in Phelan hanging on for dear life.

"All my fairs, festivals, special events of any kind... all canceled," said Marie Dickenson of Giddy Up Ranch. "And I have the same customers every year. This is the first time in 30 years this has happened."

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While the ranch's regulars have canceled, the bills are still coming in. Feeding camels and zebras and of course ponies isn't cheap.

"All these animals have to eat," said Dickenson. "We've had to sell our precious animals, like my baby zebra, some of my camels, sheep and goats to feed all these animals because we had no choice."

The family-run company doesn't qualify for PPP loans and now is trying everything to stay afloat.

"We can do drive-by birthday parties, we can ride a camel by their house, we can do animals for Zoom, they could do a private lesson," said Dickenson.

That's right. You can rent a camel for your next Zoom conference call. If it keeps the Giddy Up Ranch going, Dickenson is ready to give it a shot.

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