|Occupation||Pirate, captain of the Salty Sea Mare|
|Mane||¤ Black with moderate red streaks|
| Cutie mark|
Hoofbeard is an Earth pony with a brown coat, a black mane with a streak of dark red, and gold eyes. He has a X-shaped scar on his left cheek, an eye patch covering his right eye, a gold tooth, and his right hind leg is a peg leg (in a flashback he has all his legs). His accessories include hoop earrings, two gold necklaces—one with a diamond-shaped medallion, the other with three circular medallions—a row of gold beads woven into his tail, and a belt for his cutlass.
Hoofbeard first appears in Issue #13 while the Mane 6 and Spike are vacationing in Horseshoe Bay. He initially doesn't give his name to the ponies, and they refer to him simply as "Captain." He approaches them in search of able stallions to be his crew, and finds an able and willing crew in them instead, with Rainbow Dash as first mate, Twilight as navigator, Applejack as cook, and Spike as his "parrot."
Hoofbeard tasks the ponies with finding his old crew and retrieving the "Map of the Wandering X," but he remains overly vague about his motives. During the voyage, he regularly has Spike throw messages in bottles into the ocean, which he claims are love letters. When asked by Applejack why he seeks the treasure so feverishly, he only says that he "cannot live without" it.
Twilight and her friends find out more about Hoofbeard—including his name—while retrieving the map. A former member of his crew explains that Hoofbeard was driven to madness searching for the moving "X" on the map, leading them to steal it from him.
Even after giving Hoofbeard the map in Issue #14, his goals remain unclear. When the ponies realize Hoofbeard is leading them in circles, they mutiny, seizing control of his ship and confining him in the ship's brig. When Fluttershy later speaks with the captain, he's shown to be more sad than angry about being locked up and unable to search for his treasure.
It's revealed that the treasure Hoofbeard's been looking for isn't riches, but a mermare he's fallen in love with named Jewel. However, the other mermares forbid their relationship due to it being "against mermare belief that land and sea can be one." Thanks to the actions of Fluttershy, the mermares change their mind and allow Hoofbeard and Jewel to be together.
Twilight uses her magic to give Hoofbeard gills and fins so he can go under the water whenever he pleases. Hoofbeard thanks the ponies for their service and sets out on another adventure alongside the mermares.
Hoofbeard appears again on My Little Pony: Friends Forever Issue #8 page 20 as part of the "Pirates of the Carriagebean" ride at Whinnyland.
In the chapter book Daring Do and the Marked Thief of Marapore, chapter 1 narration mentions that although Captain Pony the Elder "was no pirate, the military stallion had a reputation for treating stowaways worse than Hoofbeard."
- "The parrot stays with me. Makes me look stately, don't ye think?"
- — Referring to Spike, Friendship is Magic Issue #13
- "We're a rare breed—those who take their future by the hoof and never let go. Don't ever let go, brave Fluttershy."
- — Friendship is Magic Issue #13
- "Be it good or evil, I always keep me word, Ms. Sparkle. Always."
- — Friendship is Magic Issue #14
- "Don't ye know? True love always finds a way! Even when ye set it free, it will always come back to ye!"
- — To the mermares, Friendship is Magic Issue #14
- "Today, Rainbow Dash, you were the world's greatest pirate. Besides me, of course."
- — Friendship is Magic Issue #14