Applejack's name is the name of an alcoholic beverage, and the derisive nickname "Apple Teeny" that Spike gives her in Bridle Gossip is pronounced the same as "appletini," the name of another alcoholic beverage.
Applejack usually has her mane and tail tied with one red ribbon each, and her Rainbow Power appearance bears not red but green ribbons. In real horse shows, a ribbon of one of four colors may meaningfully be tied to a horse's tail, a red ribbon meaning the horse is a kicker, and a green one that it is unpredictable.[dubious – discuss]
Derpy is named for her eyes being off-center, resembling a meme which afterward became a word.
Dr. Hooves is named after Doctor Who, and though his resemblance to the 10th Doctor (portrayed by David Tennant) was at first only coincidental, he has been depicted similarly in various official material. In some material he wears a green or red necktie and/or the 10th Doctor's outfit.
Other names, titles, and design
Canterlot is a portmanteau of "canter," a three-beat horse gait, and Camelot from Arthurian legends.
Las Pegasus is a play on the city of Las Vegas, though the writer of the episode felt that the latter was not a very successful pun, and it was eventually re-interpreted in the map of Equestria poster as Los Pegasus, then later changed to Las Pegasus on a newer map.
Lauren Faust and Rob Renzetti encouraged the writers to infuse mythology into the series.
The show features dragons, griffons, unicorns, and Pegasi in multiple episodes, and several other mythological creatures detailed in individual episode sections below, like manticore, Hydra, cockatrice, a minotaur, and others.
Rarity's shocked reaction towards Twilight's mane from Friendship is Magic, part 1 is recycled as her excited laugh in Sonic Rainboom.
Fluttershy's nervous squeal from Friendship is Magic, part 1 is re-used three times throughout the series: in A Bird in the Hoof where she is crying over the 'death' of Philomena, again in Hurricane Fluttershy where she is crying under a tree, and in My Little Pony Equestria Girls when her human self gives out fliers to help the animal shelter.
The voice clip of Pinkie Pie's gasp upon meeting Twilight for the first time in Friendship is Magic, part 1, is re-used six times throughout the series: later in the same episode when Rarity confirms that Princess Celestia is missing; in Bridle Gossip, when everyone thinks that they crushed Applejack in the tub; reversed to form Fluttershy's inhalation in Sonic Rainboom; as Mrs. Cake's voice in A Bird in the Hoof, when Pinkie eats Princess Celestia's cupcake; in MMMystery on the Friendship Express, when Pinkie sees that the Marzipan Mascarpone Meringue Madness has been eaten; and in Too Many Pinkie Pies when the Pinkies find out that Twilight's test is watching paint dry. It is reversed again when Pinkie balloons herself in Simple Ways.
In Friendship is Magic, part 2, after Rarity sacrifices her tail for the serpent's moustache, Twilight begins to sympathize for her, beginning with, "Oh, Rarity!" This audio is re-used in A Dog and Pony Show after the team attempts to find an open hole in the ground to save Rarity from the Diamond Dogs.
Pinkie Pie's final line in Friendship is Magic, part 2 is re-used from a line she says in Friendship is Magic, part 1, with some parts cut out during the iris-in.
Pinkie Pie's one-pony band fanfare to rid Ponyville of the parasprites in Swarm of the Century is re-used as the party music in Pinkie's flashback scene in The Cutie Mark Chronicles. Its ending from The Cutie Mark Chronicles is re-used in Sweet and Elite after the first time Pinkie fires her party cannon. The music is used again in A Canterlot Wedding - Part 1 when Pinkie leads Chrysalis disguised as Cadance to her reception plans, and in One Bad Apple for the parade fanfare.
Twilight Sparkle's scream from Winter Wrap Up in the ice skating scene is re-used in Secret of My Excess.
The music that plays during Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara's cute-ceañera party in Call of the Cutie is the same music that plays during the montage of the Cutie Mark Crusaders' attempts to earn their cutie marks in The Show Stoppers and during Pinkie Pie's birthday party toward the end of Party of One.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders' laughter from Call of the Cutie is re-used in Stare Master when they zoom past Twilight.
Rainbow Dash's laugh in Fall Weather Friends when she flips the sign is re-used again in A Bird in the Hoof.
The background music during Rarity's fashion show in Suited For Success is re-used during Fluttershy's first fashion show in Green Isn't Your Color.
The line 'Holy guacamole!' is spoken by Spike twice in Feeling Pinkie Keen, as is the line "Twitchy tail?."
The musical accompaniment to Rainbow Dash and Rarity's routine in Sonic Rainboom is re-used in The Show Stoppers, when Apple Bloom is practicing dancing; The Cutie Mark Chronicles, during Applejack's flashback; Keep Calm and Flutter On, during the main cast's dinner party with Discord; and Simple Ways during Rarity's first presentation and the Ponyville Days gala.
Rainbow Dash's repetition of "Oh my gosh!" in Sonic Rainboom was re-used again in Wonderbolts Academy.
Most of the background music in Wonderbolts Academy was re-used again in Rainbow Falls.
Fluttershy's laugh that was used twice in Stare Master is re-used in Over a Barrel.
Segments of the Cutie Mark Crusaders' theme song are re-used in My Little Pony Equestria Girls.
Dancing animations for Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle, and Twist in Call of the Cutie are re-used in Pinkie Pride for filly versions of Flitter, Cloudchaser, Lyra Heartstrings, and Sweetie Drops.
Human Derpy's dance during the end credits of My Little Pony Equestria Girls is re-used in "Perfect Day for Fun," though her muffin is removed and her hands are closed.
Dr. Hooves' descriptions on Enterplay's Mayor Mare & Time Turner trading card, in Gameloft's mobile game, and for Gaia Online's promotional item of him say, to varying effect, that he keeps Ponyville's clocks in sync, sets the hourglass for cider competitions, and takes care of all things "timey-wimey." The phrase "wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff" originates from the Doctor Who episode Blink. In the Korean broadcast of the season one episode Call of the Cutie, Dr. Hooves speaks the phrase "Allons-y!" a signature saying of his live-action counterpart, the 10th Doctor.
Pinkie's line, "Something is rotten in...whatever the name of this village is", is a play on the line "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" from Hamlet.
Starlight's rallying call "no pony left behind" in the song In Our Town mirros the negative effects of the controversial No Child Left Behind Act that requires everyone meets a minimum goal but does not set higher standards for gifted individuals.
Throughout the episode, while dealing with Tank's hibernation preparation, Rainbow Dash goes through the five stages of grief, also known as the Kübler-Ross model.
Rarity is seen carrying a light blue and yellow winter cap, a dark blue and red winter cap is seen in a bag, while Fluttershy is seen putting a green ushanka on a beaver. These are references to the characters of Cartman, Stan, and Kyle, respectively, from the animated adult sitcom South Park.
Rainbow's sinister grin at the end of act 1 is a reference to the Grinch's grin from the 1966 TV holiday special, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. In addition, Rainbow's plot to keep winter from coming seems similar to the Grinch's infamous plot to keep Christmas from coming.
The back-and-forth scene with Sunshower, Clear Skies, and Open Skies is reminiscent of the classic "Who's on First?" routine by the American comedy duo Abbott and Costello.
The background music that plays when Rainbow Dash sneaks into Cloudsdale's weather factory is similar to Lalo Schifrin's Mission: Impossible theme.
The choice Gilda makes between saving Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash and recovering the Idol of Boreas is reminiscent of Indiana Jones' choice between saving his father and claiming the Holy Grail in the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
In the part where the Cutie Mark Crusaders are looking at their music video, there is a brown cat wearing a bow in the related videos that bears a striking resemblance to Fluffy from Pound Puppies. Also, the website that the Crusaders are surfing resembles the video-sharing website YouTube.
When the spell is lifted from the Canterlot High School students, removing them from Sunset Shimmer's mind control, the beam travels through them all like the power of the Ark of the Covenant did to the German soldiers in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
In the final dance of the film, near Trixie, a male student is doing Psy's signature "invisible horse dance" from Gangnam Style.
Scootaloo does the Chicken Dance. This is a reference to the episode Stare Master, where she is called a chicken by Apple Bloom.
Fluttershy leading the hamsters into the habitat is an allusion to the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
Rarity names one of the hamsters Emilia Furhart, a reference to famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart, who mysteriously disappeared in 1937, along with her navigator, whilst attempting a circumnavigational flight of the globe.
Each of the Main Six's attire as well as their respective backdrop represents a different music period: Twilight Sparkle in the 1950s, Fluttershy in the 1960s, Rarity in the 1970s, Rainbow Dash in the 1980s, Applejack in the 1990s, and Pinkie Pie in the 2000s.
The background scenery shown during Rarity's verse is reminiscent of the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine.
Rainbow Dash smashes her guitar at the end of her verse, which was a trademark of Pete Townshend of The Who.
The scene of the Rainbooms singing together on a darkened background is a reference to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" music video.
The commercial entitled There's a Pony For That is a paraphrase and parody of the Apple commercial There's an App For That, even showing ponified versions of smartphone applications such as Yahoof! and eNay.
The 8 bit commercial features Pinkie Pie playing an 8 bit video game on a console similar to those of Atari, with a controller similar to Nintendo's NES Advantage.
Billboards in Los Angeles, California that promoted the show in June 2011 reference the film Bridesmaids. It shows the main cast against a brick wall in poses similar to the women in the poster of Bridesmaids, under the parody title Bridlemaids.
Billboards for season 2 show Pinkie Pie with her hooves pressed against a "snow screen" TV with the caption "They're baaack!" This references the 1982 movie Poltergeist, which has a poster where the little girl, Carol Anne Freeling, has her hands pressed against a "snow screen" TV and the tagline "They're here" and its sequel Poltergeist II: The Other Side, which has the tagline "They're back."
On January 8, 2012, a full page ad ran in the LA Times, referencing the opening to the AMC television show Mad Men. It shows Rainbow Dash, wearing a suit, falling in front of pictures of the main cast, with the parody title, Mad Ponies.
There are two allusions to the brony fandom: Twilight Sparkle calls Cadance her "pegasister-in-law," and Cadance says that her destiny was to lead other ponies with "True Love and Tolerance."[dubious – discuss]
Pinkie Pie and the Rockin' Ponypalooza Party!
The featured event of the book, Ponypalooza, is a reference to the annual music festival Lollapalooza.
The book makes numerous references to various musical performers and bands:
Rainbow Dash mentions a Pegasus named "Darwing" after talking about "Survival of the Leafiest," a reference to British scientist Charles Darwin and his studies on evolution.
Pinkie Pie mentions a writer of one of Twilight's books named Cart Bacon, whose name is a reference to American astronomer, Carl Sagan.
Daring Do and the Marked Thief of Marapore
Marapore is a play on Mayapore from the Indiana Jones franchise.
Two of the villages at the base of Mount Vehoovius are called Ponypeii, a reference to Pompeii, and Lusitano, a reference to the Lusitano breed of horse.
Daring Do and the Eternal Flower
The story shares numerous similarities with the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, such the main character's search for a missing family member, an ally that later turns out to be an enemy, and a priceless treasure being hidden in plain sight among various fake or misleading treasures.
Fluttershy and the Fine Furry Friends Fair
Flim and Flam introduce themselves as Farnum and Failey, a reference to Barnum and Bailey, two circus personalities who, along with Ringling Bros., created the famous circus, The Greatest Show on Earth.
One of the ponies thinks that Fluttershy, when dressed as a shepherd, is acting as Little Pony Peep, a reference to the nursery rhyme, Little Bo Peep.
Twilight mentions Trotland and Bales, parodies of Scotland and Wales.
Applejack's last line, "That'll do, Fluttershy. That'll do." is a reference to the line "That'll do, pig. That'll do." from the book The Sheep-Pig or Babe, the Gallant Pig as it is known in the United States, and its film adaptation, Babe.
Princess Celestia and the Summer of Royal Waves
The country of Monacolt is a reference to the country of Monaco.
The part where Celestia asks her students to tear up their essays is a reference to the late Robin Williams telling his students to tear out the introduction of their textbooks in the film Dead Poets Society.
Rainy Air says, "I like raindrops on roses. But that's more a favorite thing than a fun thing." This is a reference to a lyric from "My Favorite Things" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music.
Collectible card game
A couple of cards that have "Cheese Sandwich" quotes are actually lyrics from "Weird Al's" song, "Albuquerque," specifically, "Hey... you've got weasels on your face." and "Do you have any bear claws?"
The quote "... and when DJ PON-3 starts spinning different tunes, I'll see the Dark Mare of the moon." from the Canterlot Nights expansion set card #41 C of Purple Waters is a possible reference to Pink Floyd's song "Brain Damage".