When I was a little girl in the 90’s, I was surprisingly disinterested in Barbie. Sure, I had a few and I would take them along when I went to sleepovers, but they just didn’t kindle my imagination. No, I didn’t care much for toys in the likeness of people, but give me a My Little Pony or two and I was set for hours. Like many of my friends, I had a fascination with horses, but I wasn’t interested in any toys that involved a saddle and human rider. I was interested in pretending to be the pony itself, not a person who owned a pony.
My Little Pony filled the gap. In my world (and the world often depicted in the My Little Pony TV series), there were no humans; just ponies, cute little purple dragons, and various comical fuzzy creatures with raspy voices called Bushwoolies. What was so special about My Little Pony versus other horse-related toys was that they were magical. They had a symbol on their flank corresponding with their magic or particular interest, which also corresponded with their name. The pony that I most remember having, after extensively searching My Little Pony Collector and almost panicking when I thought that maybe my favorite had been a knock-off, was Princess Royal Blue, who was actually royalty (of course) and had a crescent-moon shaped medallion on her flank which was actually raised a bit to the touch, rather than just a picture stamped onto the surface. She was blue with dark pink hair and pink tinsel, and she was AWESOME.
The My Little Pony line began with six “Earth” ponies in 1982 and they came with a little comb for their luscious hair. The hair was one of the things that made the ponies so special- their bodies were some mixture of plastic and rubber, but their hair was just like that of a Barbie (except usually much more colorful), so it could be brushed, styled and mangled- essentially the best of both worlds! This is one of the main reasons that I think the popularity of My Little Pony quickly exploded. That, and the ponies were different. Any company could make a pony toy, but a pony toy that comes in dozens of colors with different patterns, poses, and styles? Genius. The variations were endless- among them were seahorses, baby ponies, and ‘Sundazzle’ ponies which were taller and more slender, with crimped hair.
There are just too many variations to cover in a short article! I barely mentioned the TV shows, movies, playsets, or the current abominations they’re selling which are nothing like the My Little Ponies of yesteryear, (of course everything that I played with as a kid was naturally better than anything they have now). Suffice it to say that My Little Pony was so successful that after a brief hiatus the toy line made a comeback in the early 2000’s, and seems to be just as successful as before. And now I have the song stuck in my head. My Little Po-nee, My Little Po-nee….
Sharayah is a book fiend and a literary wordsmith and shows this off on a weekly basis over at her book blog, LinusandBubba.com. She also claims that by right she should be queen.