Development and nomenclatureEdit
Pegasus ponies were introduced shortly after Earth ponies in the original My Little Pony toy line. On the show, they are called either Pegasus ponies or Pegasi, and mostly "Pegasus" for a single pony, though "Pegasus pony" is also used, as specified in the article ponies. Lauren Faust, the show's developer, stated that the Pegasus ponies have a passive kind of magic that allows them to walk on clouds and manipulate the weather.
The pegasus ponies are derieved from Greek Mythology, notably the tales surrounding the eponymous flying horse, Pegasus, who was a white horse with wings. Pegasus is also the name of one of the 88 modern constellaions.
Depiction in the seriesEdit
OriginsEditThe Pegasus tribe was one of the three founding groups of Equestria, as depicted in Hearth's Warming Eve. The Pegasus tribe was led by Commander Hurricane, who is played by Rainbow Dash in a historical reenactment. In the reenactment, Commander Hurricane wears battle armor and calls the Pegasi "a mighty tribe of warriors".
Physical and magical traitsEditPegasus ponies demonstrate great speed and agility in the air in multiple episodes. However, in the episode Fall Weather Friends, Rainbow Dash is equally matched on the ground with Applejack, an earth pony, during an "Iron Pony competition". In the episode Sonic Rainboom, Pegasus ponies naturally walk on clouds, but unicorns and earth ponies cannot do so. Twilight Sparkle casts a temporary spell that allows her non-Pegasi friends and herself to walk on clouds. Gilda, a griffon, also stands on clouds in Griffon the Brush Off. In May the Best Pet Win, it shows several other creatures capable of flight perch on clouds.
The sonic rainboom is an aerial display that is first featured in the episode Sonic Rainboom. Pinkie Pie describes it thus: "The sonic rainboom is legendary! When a Pegasus like Rainbow Dash gets going so fast... boom! A sonic boom and a rainbow can happen all at once!" Rainbow Dash performs the sonic rainboom three times in seasons one and two: once as a filly in a flashback in The Cutie Mark Chronicles, once in Sonic Rainboom, and once at the conclusion of A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2.
Social responsibilitiesEditIn Sonic Rainboom, the main characters visit the Cloudsdale weather factory. They walk through a chamber where Pegasi handcraft snowflakes, an open area where Pegasi mix up rainbows and finally the cloud-making department.
At the beginning of the episode Hurricane Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash hosts a mandatory meeting for all Ponyville Pegasi, in which she states, "A team of pegasi combine their wing power to create a jumbo tornado, powerful enough to pull water out of the local reservoir, and funnel it all the way up to Cloudsdale." This, she explains, supplies Cloudsdale and all of Equestria with rainwater. Rainbow Dash also stresses that the ponies' combined power must exceed a minimum of "eight hundred wing power". During training, Twilight Sparkle uses an "anemometer" to gauge wingpower. Rainbow Dash's score on the anemometer was 16.5 wingpower and Fluttershy's post-training score was 2.3 wingpower.
In the episode Winter Wrap Up, Rainbow Dash leads the weather team during the annual Winter Wrap Up. The team, which wears blue vests, consists mainly of Pegasus ponies. In the song that shares its name with the event and episode, the weather team clears the skies of clouds to let the sun warm up the land and melts the snow. Rarity mentions that the team also "guides the birds back north for the spring". On a frozen lake, Twilight Sparkle encounters Pinkie Pie, an Earth pony, who is helping the weather team by acting as a "lake scorer". Pinkie Pie cuts squares in the ice with her ice-skates and explains to Twilight that it helps the rest of the Weather team break the ice layer.