The My Little Pony brand describes its characters as ponies. The brand's toys, as the name suggests, usually consist of small colorful plastic ponies. The characters on the various My Little Pony television shows and movies are depicted with varying degrees of fantasy elements, like the ability to speak, fly, and use magic.
Three pony types
My Little Pony Friendship is Magic divides ponies into three main "types" in the first episode: Earth ponies, Pegasi, and unicorns. These are called the "three pony tribes" in the episode Hearth's Warming Eve. The storybook Under The Sparkling Sea adds seaponies, and previous My Little Pony generations included flutter ponies and breezies as well as sea ponies. Most, however, are absent from the Friendship is Magic series. The division into three types led the show's developer, Lauren Faust, to initially give them equal representation in the show's main cast and the Cutie Mark Crusaders. The powers of the Alicorns draws equally from the three types, according to the book Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell.
Earth ponieschapter book "Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell" mentions that one special trait is "the strength of a good, true heart of an Earth Pony." The main cast of the show My Little Pony Friendship is Magic features two Earth ponies: Applejack and Pinkie Pie.
PegasiPegasus. The term "Pegasi" is used in the episodes Sonic Rainboom and The Return of Harmony Part 1, and "Pegasus ponies" is used in the episodes Sonic Rainboom and Look Before You Sleep. When referring to a single pony, "Pegasus" is almost always used, with the exception of one "Pegasus pony" in Friendship is Magic, part 1. Pegasi can usually fly and interact with clouds. The main cast of the show features two Pegasi: Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. Two Pegasus royal guard ponies pull Princess Luna's chariot in Luna Eclipsed. The guards have tufted ears, bat-like webbed wings, non-hairy tail and crest, and wear dark purple armor.
UnicornsRarity and Twilight Sparkle, but Twilight gains wings in the season 3 finale, Magical Mystery Cure (see next section).
Other types of ponies
- Main article: Alicorns
Crystal PoniesCrystal Ponies are introduced in the episode The Crystal Empire - Part 1. Crystal Ponies appear more "faceted" and "glittery" through a magic that links them with the Crystal Heart – this appearance carries on to all episodes that include the Crystal Ponies. While most possess neither wings nor a horn, at least one Crystal Pony guard is shown to have wings in Three's A Crowd; said wings share his body's crystalline appearance. The magic affects other characters temporarily in The Crystal Empire - Part 2, where Princess Cadance, Shining Armor, the main ponies, and Spike – who is a dragon – all temporarily possess on the texture and "coloration" of Crystal Ponies. Princess Celestia notes the importance of the Crystal Ponies when she tells Twilight that if their kingdom is "filled with hope and love, then those things would spread all across Equestria."
Seaponies and mermares
Seaponies appear in the storybook "Under the Sparkling Sea", where the main characters go to the underwater kingdom of Aquastria. They resemble sea horses, and referred to as "cousins" of the earth-based ponies. Mermares appear in the same book and have fish fins, tail, and scales, and they are presented as the seaponies' competitor in the kingdom of Aquastria. Mermares are described as more introvert, bigger, and faster than seaponies. Neither kind of submarine ponies bear a cutie mark.
The term "My Little Pony" – and more often "My Little Ponies" – is used a few times in the show, such as by Twilight Sparkle in The Show Stoppers, Princess Celestia, Cheerilee, and Discord in The Return of Harmony Part 1, and Pinkie Pie in Fall Weather Friends, always in conversations concerning at least one pony. "Foals" is used in a few different contexts in the show, and "colt" and "filly" are used to refer to young ponies too, while "baby ponies" is used to refer to the youngest ponies. Apart from the above terms, others are sometimes employed: Trixie boasts in Boast Busters that she is destined to be "the greatest equine who has ever lived"; Sapphire Shores mentions "Clothes Horse magazine" in A Dog and Pony Show; and Braeburn refers to other ponies as "horses" in Over a Barrel. In The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000, Flam states that "Any horse can make a claim and any pony can do the same." In Flight to the Finish, Scootaloo precedes a song by saying about her and her friends "we may just be little ponies, but we have hearts as strong as horses!"
Other kinds of equines are featured in the show.
- Zecora is a zebra and explicitly stated not to be a pony – despite being the only other creature to feature a cutie mark.
- Cranky Doodle Donkey is a donkey as his name implies; Matilda is another donkey.
- A resident Ponyville mule is used as a visual gag in Applebuck Season, Hurricane Fluttershy, and One Bad Apple; Mulia Mild is another mule. One of the Diamond Dogs refers to Rarity as a "mule" in A Dog and Pony Show, and she acts deeply upset about it.
- The draconequus Discord is introduced in The Return of Harmony and "has the head of a pony, and a body made up of all sorts of things", says Cheerilee in that episode.
- The Changelings are another equine-like insect species introduced in A Canterlot Wedding.
- The Saddle Arabian delegates feature a different design than the other ponies.
- The Breezies are tiny, magical fairy-like creatures that have distinct pony attributes and body shapes, whilst also having large, clear wings and antennae. In the third generation of the My Little Pony toy line, Breezies were originally considered an official pony type, as previous generation Breezies had cutie marks, whilst in contrast the fourth generation Breezies are completely blank-flanked.
Horse-like stylizationThe show's developer, Lauren Faust, wanted the ponies to act in ways characteristic of horses and avoid human conventions that wouldn't fit with their stylization, like human poses and holding items in their hooves. Faust wanted the characters to "evoke the feeling of a natural horse". Faust specifies a few attributes in one of her interviews: the back of the ponies' heads streamlines down their neck and to their back; the manes fall to one side of the neck like a real horse; and they have authentic horse trots and gallops. Despite this, season two and onwards saw the show incorporate more human-like stylization as new artists joined the show.
Use of instrumentsMost of the time ponies hold objects with their mouths, with their "wrist", between their hooves, by using magic, or simply just with a single hoof: ponies hold shovels in their hooves in Winter Wrap Up, and Octavia Melody and the violin playing pony in Luna Eclipsed "hold" the instrument's bow with their hoof. In Pinkie Pride, Pinkie Pie uses a sticky tape-like substance to hold a bubble blower onto her hoof.
ApplausePonies applaud in the series in two different ways. The first is by clapping their front hooves together, like Twilight Sparkle in Look Before You Sleep, Hoity Toity in Suited for Success, and Apple Bloom's classmates in Family Appreciation Day. The second way characters applaud is by stamping their front hooves on the ground, first done by the theater audience in The Show Stoppers; other examples are the applause by the fashion show audience and Rarity in Green Isn't Your Color, and by crowds in The Cutie Mark Chronicles, The Last Roundup, and Putting Your Hoof Down.
Hoof-bumpA hoof-bump, also known as high-hoof or brohoof, imitates either a handshake, high-five, or even a fist bump. Ponies bump their hooves in several instances in the series:
- Look Before You Sleep: Rarity declines a hoof-bump by Applejack since she spit on her own hoof before offering it. Later, the two of them do a hoof-bump after Twilight declares her slumber party a success.
- Fall Weather Friends: Applejack and Rainbow Dash do a spit-soaked hoof-bump before competing against each other before the Iron Pony competition and before the Running of the Leaves.
- A Bird in the Hoof: Rainbow Dash and Philomena hoof/wing-bump toward the end of the episode.
- Sisterhooves Social: Applejack and Apple Bloom hoof-bump (referred to by Sweetie Belle as a "high-hoof") after corralling sheep.
- A Friend in Deed: Pinkie Pie uses the term "hoof-bump" during the Smile Song.
- Ponyville Confidential: The Cutie Mark Crusaders do a three-way hoof-bump several times throughout the episode.
- A Canterlot Wedding - Part 1, The Crystal Empire - Part 1, and Games Ponies Play: Twilight and Princess Cadance do a double hoof-bump in their "sunshine, sunshine" dance.
- Wonderbolts Academy: The term "hoof-bump" is once again used, this time by Rainbow Dash.
- Games Ponies Play: Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy hoof-bump during the "Equestria Games Inspector's" visit to the Crystal Empire.
- Princess Twilight Sparkle - Part 1: Twilight and Pinkie Pie hoof-bump as they and their friends put on the Elements of Harmony.
- Castle Mane-ia: Applejack and Rainbow Dash hoof-bump while agreeing to stay in the castle to prove who is the most daring pony.
- Daring Don't: Daring Do offers Rainbow Dash a hoof-bump before Rainbow Dash hugs her.
- Flight to the Finish: The Cutie Mark Crusaders hoof-bump while agreeing to Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon's challenge. Scootaloo and Granny Smith also hoof-bump after Scootaloo regains her confidence.
In Keep Calm and Flutter On, Rainbow Dash moves her hooves to imitate air quotes, even though part of the point of air quotes is that the two fingers of each hand represent the two curved lines of the quotes.
- ↑ New York Comic Con 2012 MLP Panel (2012-10-12). Retrieved on 2012 October 15.
- ↑ Lauren Faust panel at BronyCon 2012 (2012-06-30). Retrieved on 2012 July 7.
- ↑ "Extended interview with Lauren Faust", Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony, 2013
- ↑ Interview: Raven Molisee at Everfree Northwest 2013. The Round Stable (2013-07-16). Retrieved on 2013 July 16.
- ↑ Review: MLP:FiM Micro-Series issue #2: Rainbow Dash. Louder Yay (2013-03-21). Retrieved on 2013 March 31.