My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic's extras. Some of these ponies are the most popular characters in the show besides the mane cast. Pretty much why the show has its own Ensemble Darkhorse page. Perhaps it's the unique art style that gives them a little bit more personality or perhaps it's the memorablegag scenes they feature in. Whatever the reason, the fans can't get enough of them and for there to be Ensemble Darkhorses, there must be an ensemble—others of these ponies are nowhere near as well-known, but appear just as prominently and/or frequently.
"Background pony" is a somewhat misleading term; It's more of a catch-all term used by the fanbase to refer to all the show's Recurring Extras, Bit Characters, Living Props and Spear Carriers that are not part of the supporting cast like Big McIntosh and Zecora. Basically a "background pony" can be any extra and not just the background characters.
Take note that most of them have no official name within the show. Nevertheless, fans love naming these nameless ponies, how matter how far back in the background they are. Some of these fan nicknames have even been used by Hasbro and other licensed sellers themselves. Other times they'll release a different name for the character. Either way, most of them have, so far, only been used in MLP:FiMproducts and merchandise.
Not all background ponies are listed here though. Some of them have been placed in other character pages since they fit the description. Others have not been listed yet. Most of those who barely made it here (i.e. barely enough tropes to qualify for a section of their own) are clumped together in the Other Background Ponies Page.
For more in-depth analysis and various fanon trivia, go to the Background Ponies Analysis page.
Return to the character index here.
Background Characters Pages
Common Background Poniesnote Berryshine/ Berry Punch, Cherry Berry, Golden Harvest, Sweetie Drops/ Bon Bon, Shoeshine, Daisy, Lily Valley, Rose, Derpy, Lightning Bolt, Cloud Kicker, Raindrops, Rainbowshine, Sassaflash/ Emerald Gem, Parasol/ Showers, Dizzy Twister, Sprinkle Medley, Merry May, Lemon Hearts, Twinkleshine, Minuette, Lyra Heartstrings, Amethyst Star, Sea Swirl, Dr. Hooves/ Time Turner, Pokey Pierce/ Perry Pierce, Goldengrape, Noteworthy, Lucky Clover, Caramel, Cherry Fizzy, The Master Pony, Bruce Mane/ Neon Lights, Orion, Star Hunter, Ruby Pinch, Tootsie Flute and Fire Chief.
Special Background Poniesnote The Nurses, the Flower Trio, Mr. Greenhooves, the Spa Ponies, DJ Pon-3 (aka Vinyl Scratch), Octavia Melody & her bandmates, Mr. Waddle, Truffle Shuffle the Teacher's Pet, the Crystal Ponies, Holly Dash, Sapphire Shores, Screwball, Allie Way & Big Wig, My Little Letrotski, Fleur Dis Lee, Junebug, the Imperfect Stallions, Flitter & Cloudchaser, Thunderlane & Rumble, Rein Astley, Blossomforth, Wild Fire, Uncle Curio the Shopkeeper, the Saddle Arabians
Other Background Charactersnote The background ponies who don't have their own entries (yet), the Cattle, the Mule, the Buffalo Tribe, the Sheep, the Goats, Other Animals
Golden Harvest & Lyra Heartstrings's trading card reveals that "There's two in every crowd! Lyra Heartstrings is an excitable pony often seen bouncing and grinning at the back of the herd or lolling in the park sharing bonbons with Golden Harvest, her PFF. Golden Harvest earned the nickname Carrot Top because carrots are always on her mind. These two ponies can be found all over Equestria, enjoying various activities like jumping across rooftops, running from buffalo, and joining in musical numbers!"
DJ Pon-3 & Octavia's trading card shows DJ Pon-3's properly-lit colors and reveals that "DJ Pon-3 and Octavia may both be at the top of their musical games, but their careers are very, very different! You can find Octavia at garden parties and galas performing prim and proper classical music on her cello. On the other hoof, DJ Pon-3 feels at home behind her turntable, laying down sick beats and wearing her trademark sunglasses. Are these two bitter rivals, or are they long time friends? Will they ever perform a duet? Only time will tell!"
All There in the Script: Out-of-show medianote the toys and collector cards, a storyboard for the show, filenames on Hasbro and/or The Hub's websites, two of The Hub's commercials, the official Facebook and/or Twitter pages of My Little Pony and The Hub, IDW Publishing's Comic Book Adaptations, Gameloft's My Little Pony game and its mini-site and Facebook page, Enterplay's trading cards and Collectible Card Game, Mighty Fine's officially licensed merchandise and the titles, descriptions and/or keywords of said merchandise on their online store WeLoveFine, closed captions, the Tumblr of WeLoveFine, an eBay auction, and Word of God have used the following names: Aloe, Amethyst Star, Apple Stars, Aura, Banana Fluff, Berry Dreams, Berryshine/Berry Punch, Big Shot, Cherry Berry, Cherry Fizzy, Comet Tail, Crafty Crate, Cream Puff, Crescent Moon, Dance Fever, Derpy Hooves/Ditzy Doo (Derpy), Diamond Mint, DJ Pon-3/Vinyl Scratch, Doctor Whooves XI, Dr. Hooves/Time Turner, Dr. Mane Goodall, Felix, Fire Chief, Fleur Dis Lee, Gizmo/Poindexter, Golden Harvest, Goldengrape, Grape Delight, Green Jewel, Holly Dash, Honey Rays, Jack Hammer, Jeff "The Dude" Letrotski, Jesús Pezuña, Lemon Hearts, Lemony Gem/Lemony Gems, Lilac Links, Lily Valley, Lotus Blossom, Lucky Clover, Lyra Heartstrings, Lyrica Lilac, Meadow Song, Merry May, Midnight Strike, Minuette, Noteworthy, Nurse Redheart, Nurse Snowheart, Octavia Melody, Prism Glider, Professor Bill Neigh, Rainbowshine, Raven, Rein Astley, Royal Riff, Sassaflash/Emerald Gem, Sea Swirl, Shoeshine, Sprinkle Medley, Star Hunter, Sunny Rays, Sweetie Drops/Bon Bon, Tropical Storm, Truffle Shuffle, Twilight Sky, Twinkleshine, Walter, and Wild Fire.
Bit Character: Most of the recurring special ponies with a job or role are these. You'll see them whenever the cast goes to their place or require their services. They'll usually appear in an episode, do their thing, maybe even have a little chat or two with the major characters and then leave or disappear until they are needed again. They also help move the plot along through their own little way (you can't have a spa scene without the spa ponies operating the spa itself right?). Without them, the cast would have to do everything themselves. If they get really lucky and get an important role, they may be promoted into minor character.
Depending on the Animator: Backgrounds ponies are quite inconsistent despite seeming to have some form of consistency to them. There are a number of reasons why this happens:
Animators would modify their original design to suit the scene or scenario they are currently a part in. "Wild West setting? Add cowboy hats!", "Cloudsdale? Add wings!", "Balloon popping scene? Make horn sharper!" and so on and so fort.
Most background ponies are not officially recognized as their own characters so they are treated with little to no regards to continuity and consistency unless it is necessary for the scene or if they are popular with the fanbase.
Though part of the fun about these particular ponies for the fanbase is the act of "connecting the dots" and forming consistent stories and entire characterization out of these data even though that wasn't the crew's intention.
They are second priority compared to the major characters so attention to detail are minimal resulting in inconsistensies.
Besides "crowd of ponies" and "pony(s) doing something" they are not actually specified in the script so the animators are free to choose which pony(s) he or she will be putting into those positions and roles. Add that to the fact that individual scenes are being worked on by different people and you get the infamous "teleporting pony" and "clone ponies" effect.
Expy: A number of them look like previous generation ponies, leading them to be Fan Nicknamed as such.
Faceless Masses: Averted. Everypony has a face, no matter how insignificant they are to the plot. That's why this page is so large in the first place.
Fandom Nod: The animation staff, The Hub and Hasbro are all too aware of the fandom's fondness of background ponies so Fandom Nods can be seen from time to time from the show itselfnote with Derpy being the most prominent...especially in Season 2 to other branches of the MLP franchise such as advertisementsnote The Hub's Equestria Girls commercial is a prime example, official websitesnote such as the official Facebook and/or Twitter pages of My Little Pony and The Hub mentioning the brony fandom more than once and even using the (since canonized) background pony Fan Nickname "Derpy" afewtimes and merchandisenote Several of the Blind Bag ponies resemble some of the fandom's favorite background ponies.
In "Putting Your Hoof Down", Sweetie Drops appears walking through the market wearing saddlebags with lyre-shaped buckles. She then joins a bored-looking Lyra Heartstrings at a table at the cafe.
The Season 2 promotional poster once again puts Lyra and Sweetie Drops together, Lyra giving the "camera" an enormous grin as Sweetie Drops looks on in confusion.
Fanpony: In "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" several of them are shown to be members of the Rainbow Dash Fan Club (or at least fans of her) and some later become fans of Mare Do Well, including Sweetie Drops, Daisy, Ruby Pinch, and Fire Chief.
In one shot in the episode "Secret of My Excess", Spike is walking in Ponyville with Lyra and Sweetie talking in the background, then Derpy pops up between them. From the inside of a well.
Ghost Extras: The lower end tier of being a background pony. They're just there walking/flying around, occupying space. Rarely or never interacting with anyone and vice versa. Hardly ever noticed by fans or the audience. They're still given a Fan Nickname by the fanbase though. That is if they're even noticed they're their among the crowd and/or scenery.
Heroes Of Another Story: They seem to be having their own little adventures if you follow and observe them from the background. Especially so with Derpy or Lyra Heartstrings and Sweetie Drops.
Living Prop: Most of the background ponies are just there to make a scenery alive and populated. Sometimes they say a few lines and then they return to their business of whatever it was they're doing earlier.
Most of the Appleloosa and Dodge Junction ponies are either Applejack's relatives from the pilot or regular Ponyville ponies with cowboy hats, top hats, or bonnets.
Some high society ponies also have nice hats.
Most of the Ponyville ponies have a Nice Hat to go with their Nightmare Night costumes in "Luna Eclipsed".
No Name Given: Leading to plenty of Fan Nicknames. The ones that do have in-show names are Rosenote Roseluck in the Blind Bags, Daisynote Flower Wishes in the toy line, Caramelnote Chance-a-Lot in the Blind Bags, Mr. Breezy, Sunny Daze, Peachy Pie, Lickety Split, Junebug, Stinkin' Rich, Derpynote Possibly Ditzy Doo, Mr. Waddle, Mr. Greenhooves, Thunderlane, Flitter, Cloudchaser, Silverspeed, Blossomforth, and Rumble; some more have All There in the Script names (listed under that trope above). Moondancer, Bumpkinnote Possibly Apple family member Apple Bumpkin, Ditzy Doonote Possibly Derpy, Mr. Kingpin, Wild Bull Hickok, Calamity Mane, Thornhoof, and Namby-Pamby have been mentioned but not shown.
OC Stand In: Every single one of them. Most of the things that you've heard about them were probably conceived by the fans themselves. The common background ponies are more susceptible to this trope than the special background ponies as they have little to no canon personality trait to speak of thus giving the fandom Blank Slates to expand and speculate upon.
Off Model: Since they have a lower priority than other, more important characters, some interesting animation errors have occurred with them.
Only Six Faces: Animators would often reuse parts (or create new ones) and swap them in different combinations a laCharacter Customization to create new characters. This is often utilized in creating background extras. Here are just some of the background ponies who share character models:
Common mare model designs:
Lemon Hearts, Twinkleshine, etc. (who also have the same tail style as Golden Harvest, Daisy, etc.) A more simplistic design compared to the other swirly haired ponies.
Minuette, Sea Swirl, etc. Hair is solid and basic.
Lyra Heartstrings, Amethyst Star, Rose, Lemony Gem, Silverspeed, etc.
Berryshine, Cherry Berry, etc. An interesting characteristic of this model is its hair style, which "ends" in small bulby clumps of hair which makes it resemble bunches of grapes.
Sweetie Drops, Shoeshine, etc. Each of the model's streaks of hair terminate in a single swirl of hair.
Golden Harvest, Daisy, etc. (who also have the same tail style as Lemon Hearts, Twinkleshine, etc.) The edges of their hair contain smaller swirls and are clumped closely together.
Lightning Bolt, Sprinkle Medley, etc. Their hair uses a simplified hair design for curly haired folks that's commonly used in western animation since its early days (i.e. the "looping" outlines).
Cloud Kicker, Merry May, Lily Valley, etc. A basic and simplistic design, neat and clean looking with the bangs sweeping inwards.
Derpy Hooves, Raindrops, etc. Another basic and simplistic design.
Rainbowshine, Dizzy Twister, etc.
Sassaflash, Parasol/Showers, etc.
Common stallion model designs:
Ponet, Pokey, etc.
Dr. Hooves, Meadow Song, Lucky Clover, etc. Messy brush upped mane, short but similarly messy hair.
Coconut, Goldengrape, Noteworthy, etc. Messy mane, short but similarly messy hair.
Cherry Fizzy, Caramel, Ace the Tennis Pony, Royal Riff, etc. Smooth and neatly groomed mane and tail.
Common foal model designs:
Piña Colada, Aura, Noi/Sweet Wheat, Sunny Daze, etc. (who also have the same tail style as Shady Daze, etc.) Many background Earth pony fillies use this character design.
Ruby Pinch, Fire Chief, Tootsie Flute, etc. Almost all background unicorn fillies use this character design.
Peachy Pie, etc. Many background Pegasus fillies use this character design.
Tornado Bolt, Cotton Cloudy, Alula, etc. Many background Pegasus fillies use this character design.
Shady Daze, etc. Almost all background Earth pony colts use this character design.
The scarecrow-costumed band from "Luna Eclipsed" consists of recolors of Octavia, Harpo, and the two bandmates they had in "The Best Night Ever". Notably, Harpo's banjo playing counterpart looks like Dr. Hooves.
The Other Darrin: If a background pony speaks in more than one episode (and sometimes even within the same episode, as with Twinkleshine), they will almost always have a different voice, due to background pony identities being picked by storyboard artists and layout artists after voices have been recorded.
Palette Swap: Often in conjunction with Only Six Faces, the show's animators would also reuse the same combination of parts and recolor them to make another background pony.
One of the major examples of this are the background ponies themselves. See the Only Six Faces trope above to see the various palette swaps.
Various other extra animals and creatures are also palette swapped.
The various rabbit extras are all palette swaps of each other.note Angel Bunny has his own unique rabbit character design. They usually come in brown, yellow, white and grey.
The different colors and patterns of cows though some of them have different hairdos which also makes them Only Six Faces.
Some groupsnote "some groups" as they also come in many designs and some of those designs are reused and recolored. of birds which come in almost as many different colors as the ponies do.
The different shades of brown tribe buffaloes as seen from Over the Barrel.
Some groups of dragons from Dragon Quest.
Grey and brown bats.
Sometimes they even recolor non-background ponies to make new background ponies.
Holly Dash from "Swarm of the Century" is a freckled unicorn recolor of Rainbow Dash, though she has only been seen in a pony galloping animation loop so far so we don't know what her mane and tail normally looks like in an idle stance. Ponies with the Lyra Heartstrings/Amethyst Star model tend to use Rainbow Dash's running animation when they gallop, specifically how the mane and tail are drawn, so it's possible that she would most likely look like them when she's not running.
"Call of the Cutie" also includes one recolor each of Sweetie Belle, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon. The Sweetie Belle recolor appears in the front row of Cheerilee's class and due to an animation error is replaced by Sweetie Belle herself during two different shots. The Diamond Tiara recolor appears at the cuteceañera, walking alongside Twist during one shot. The Silver Spoon recolor also appears at the cuteceañera, wearing a Nice Hat which Apple Bloom tries to hide behind during one shot.
"Over a Barrel" has a half-example: a strange variation of Cherry Berry can be seen bucking trees when the citizens of Appleloosa are frantically harvesting apples before the buffalo attack. Her back half has her usual design, but her front half is a recolor of Applejack's, minus the tied-up bit of hair at the end of her mane. She also wears a duplicate of Applejack's hat at one point and reuses one of Applejack's tree bucking animation sequences from "Applebuck Season".
The cast of the play in Rarity's flashback during "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" includes a pair of fillies who are recolors of Pinkie Pie and Applejack. The Pinkie Pie recolor is dressed as a piece of cake and the Applejack recolor is dressed as a bunch of fruit with a hat made to look like a bowl of fruit.
Promotion to Opening Titles: The second opening includes more of them than the first opening does though not all of the ponies from the first opening return.
Recurring Extra: They show up everywhere! Lyra Heartstrings holds the unique distinction of appearing in nearly every town that's been shown so far, only absent from Manehattan and Dodge Junction. They tend to be dressed up while in Appleloosa, Dodge Junction or some parts of Canterlot which may indicate that they're actually Identical Strangers.
She's a Man in Japan: All of the background stallions who appear in the Blind Bags. Apparently some of the foreign language translations on their collector cards call them female. But seeing as Big McIntosh's and Barber Groomsby's cards apparently do the same thing, it almost certainly wasn't intentional and most likely isn't indicative of those languages' dubs of the show.
Spear Carrier: Most of the lesser one shots are these. They show up, say something and/or do stuff and then is never seen again. Though if they're fortunate, they'll reappear and do their role once more (or even do a new one) and be promoted to Bit Character.
Stock Costume Traits: All the ponies with defined careers are dressed like this to make them stand out from the rest of the herd.
Suddenly Voiced: Several ponies' individual voices aren't heard until after the season of their debut.
Not in-universe, but since the majority of them are unnamed and many of the ones who are named are only named in the toy line, the animation studio gives the generic incidentals this treatment. For example, Lyra Heartstrings hasbeencalled Incidental Unicorn #2 by layout artist Nayuki, who also mentioned that Derpy Hooves is not Incidental Pegasus #2. Character designer Rebecca Dart designed a bespectacled old male pony (either Mr. Waddle or his Palette Swap from "A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2" and "Magical Mystery Cure"; almost certainly the former pony) as Incidental Senior Pony #3, and layout artist FlashinthePan once mentioned an "incidental_party_pony" file.
Due to a Blooper in one shot during "Suited For Success", one Cloud Kicker has the number 71 on her neck. In the description of a since removed video of an unfinished version of the scene, its animator boomstix said "Finally sorry but i made a slipped up there and cause a bit of stir where the pony on the right (near spike's chin) have this tattoo '71' written on it, I didnt see it because of the lag until its too late, im not gonna say what it meant I ot even sure i have to divulge what its suppose to be" [sic].
You Don't Look Like You: In the toys and their art, nearly all of the background ponies who appear in the toy line are reduced to Palette Swaps of other ponies, and a few of them have color differences of various degrees. The only known exceptions are Cherry Berry and Sunny Rays' Pony Wedding brushable toys, the Miniature Collection's Spa Pony Set, and the Ponyville Schoolhouse toy (which has a picture that uses the original designs of Sunny Daze and the filly who was dressed as a flower for the play in Rarity's flashback during "The Cutie Mark Chronicles").
Earth ponies Sunny Daze, Peachy Pie, and Junebug look very different. On top of all three of them having different coat and mane/tail colors to various degrees, Sunny Daze becomes a Pegasus, Peachy Pie becomes a young adult with a different-looking cutie mark (an updated version of her G3 cutie mark; her in-show cutie mark is similar to Applejack's but with peaches and the "point" of the triangle formed by the fruit facing the opposite direction), and Junebug becomes a unicorn.
A few ponies have different-looking cutie marks: Banana Fluff (gemstones instead of hearts, but in a similar pattern and two-thirds similarly colored), Cherry Berry (but only in the Blind Bags, not in the brushables), Golden Harvest (two carrots instead of three), Noteworthy (three eighth notes instead of two beamed notes), Merry May (sun-colored flowers instead of suns, but still in the same pattern), Peachy Pie (detailed above), Rainbowshine (the Rainbow Lite's top arc being purple instead of blue), and Royal Riff (only slightly).
The Blind Bag toys and collector cards' colors don't always match each other. This has happened in different ways to Lyra Heartstrings, Royal Riff, and Sassaflash. Judging by the Wave 3 Blind Bags' packaging, that wave's artwork for Lyra Heartstrings was colored to match a prototype toy rather than the final toy.