Way back in 1981, Hasbro released the first ever My Little Pony toys onto the market, and the concept immediately caught fire. The original toy line sold for a full decade, with cartoon specials being released to expand on the magical, candy-coloured world, and reboots revived the concept in 1997, 2003 and 2010.

Now a bona fide juggernaut more than 40 years old, these sweet pastel ponies are still beloved collectables among kids, who tune in eagerly to watch instalments of the latest cartoon reimagination. That’s why today we’re dusting off our saddles to take a look at the best My Little Pony ponies of all time, from the cute to the downright adorable!

Autumn Sky (Gen 3, Seasonal Celebration Pony

Among the hundreds of rainbow-coloured ponies that make up the full My Little Pony toy line, Autumn Sky stands out like a sore thumb. That’s because, of all the hues in which ponies have been known to come, grey is perhaps the rarest. This is due to the fact that grey is about as far away from the bright pinks, blues and purples that children love as you can get.

Her unique colouring and striking, sparkling coat are part of why Autumn Sky is so coveted by collectors, but the other reason is more pragmatic: Autumn Sky was never released in America, and was usually boxed up with another pony for her European releases. As a result, few Autumn Skys exist in circulation, which only makes her more in demand.

Starglow (Gen 1, Glow n’ Show Pegasus)

Across the various My Little Pony generations, lots of limited edition ranges have been created, with several altering the bodies of the ponies in new and exciting ways. One of the earliest examples is the Glow n’ Show ponies, which were released as part of Generation One and feature bodies filled with confetti.

Of all the Glow n’ Show ponies, Starglow is by far the most visually interesting, thanks to the high contrast between her shimmery dark teal body and dayglow pink and yellow hair. As a result, she quickly became the favourite of many avid tween collectors in 1991, who scrambled to find her on shelves and try out her glow-in-the-dark capabilities for themselves.

Dazzle Surprise (Gen 3, Mail Order Exclusive)

By Generation Three’s first release in 2003, My Little Pony had evolved from a normal toy line to a collector’s dream. Ponies had staggered release dates and limited runs, making it harder and harder to collect them all, which only increased people’s desire to get their hands on as many as possible.

To make things even more exclusive, My Little Pony began keeping back a certain number of ponies, which could only be obtained by sending off to receive them in the mail. Of Generation Three’s mail order exclusives, by far the most exciting was Dazzle Surprise, who had a shimmery pink body and a pink and purple tinsel mane.

Baby Milky Way (Gen 1, Twice as Fancy Mail Order Exclusive)

For a lot of My Little Pony fans, there’s no argument about what is the coolest kind of pony, it’s pegasuses. Most obviously, they can fly when other ponies cannot, but in the cartoons, pegasuses are often the most mysterious and powerful characters you come across, making them hugely aspirational.

In fact, the only thing more adorable than a fully grown pegasus is a baby one, which is why Baby Milky Way is such a popular toy! Baby Milky Way doesn’t have a traditional cutie mark, and instead has a constellation of silver stars spread across her whole body, and she also has a unique single-coloured streak in her mane, instead of the two or three colour combinations most ponies have.

Super Long Hair Royal Beauty (Gen 3, Fancy Hair Pony)

The My Little Pony ponies were designed specifically to appeal to preteen girls, and part of this strategy lay in the manes and tails. Kids loved to brush, braid and style them, and so each My Little Pony came with at least one comb, and usually some kind of clip or charm that could be used to accessorise the hair.

The logical next step came during Generation Three, when My Little Pony began releasing Fancy Hair Ponies – a range of pony toys with extra long manes that were even more fun to braid and plait. Of these ponies, the undisputed favourite was Super Long Hair Royal Beauty, because in addition to having tresses that went on forever, she was also a monarch. What could be cooler than that?

Rollerskates Melody (Gen 1, Rollerskates Pony)

Clothes were not as central to My Little Pony as they were to other toylines like Barbie or Build-A-Bear, but that doesn’t mean they were totally absent. Many ponies came with shoes or tiaras that could be included in play, and there are rarer examples of ponies that came with capes or dressing tables.

However, one range of ponies where the dressing-up was integral was the Rollerskates Ponies, released way back in Generation One. These ponies had a neon 80s aesthetic and performance-based cutie marks to go along with the roller-rink theme, and all came with rollerskates that would fit their hooves. Of these, Melody’s rollerskate iteration was the most popular, perhaps due to her hot pink colouring.

Secret Wish (Translucent Pony)

Though the bulk of My Little Pony ponies are solid-bodied with no interior, there are plenty of examples of ponies with more out-of-the-box gimmicks. Maybe the most 90s of them all are the translucent ponies, which are hollow and made from semi-see-through sparkly plastic.

Most translucent ponies are brightly coloured, have glitter embedded in their coats and feature tinsel in their manes, making Secret Wish the quintessential example. It’s no surprise that Secret Wish has remained hugely coveted ever since, given that she is basically a pure burst of late 90s and early 2000s nostalgia.

Pearlised Baby Blossom (Gen 2, Mail Order Exclusive)

Credit: Lancer via Mylittlewiki

The My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon represented a huge shift in the way My Little Pony toys were created and sold. Thanks to an influx of adult fans, the focus was moved away from releasing dozens of individual ponies that people could collect, and instead put on releasing new versions of the central five characters from the show over and over again.

Before this, it was rare although not unprecedented for a pony to be re-released later, and it was usually only done to upgrade a pony to special edition status in some way. That is what happened to Baby Blossom, when she was re-realised with an iridescent pearlised coat during Generation Two. Pearlised Baby Blossom was a mail order exclusive, and so only available to serious collectors.

Strawberry Swirl (Gen 3, Glitter Celebration Pony)

My Little Pony has been around for decades, so it makes sense that there have been several style updates over the years. Each generation, for example, has slightly changed the shape and proportions of the ponies to make them more appealing, and there have been strides in tinsel technology to make the manes and tails less susceptible to frizz and tangles.

Strawberry Swirl, released during Generation Three as part of the Glitter Celebration Pony range, is the perfect example of this. Her matte white finish doesn’t get as grubby as earlier white ponies, and her hair is sleeker and more realistic. Her pink eyes are also absolutely adorable!

Princess Sparkle Ameythst (Gen 1, Princess Pony)

On the whole, the Generation One ponies are a lot simpler than those of later generations. They have clunkier proportions and thicker limbs, with less neck, and their eyes are smaller when compared to the rest of their head. As a result, there’s a tendency for the accessories the ponies come with to also look a bit chunky and childlike.

That is definitely the case with the pony above, given her somewhat wizard-like princess hat that comes with two simple strands of ribbon and has to be secured with a rubber band. However, none of that means that Princess Sparkle Amethyst isn’t also a beloved pony amongst fans.

Starbeam (Gen 3, Earth Sparkle Pony)

My Little Pony ponies are split into three categories: unicorns, who have a single horn and in certain iterations are the only ones capable of magic; pegasuses, who are the only ponies capable of flight; and earth ponies, who have neither wings nor horns. That doesn’t mean that earth ponies are any less magical though, as they have special features of their own.

For example, a large contingent of earth ponies are part of the Sparkle Pony range, made from shimmery plastic and with tinsel strung through their manes and tails. Many of these ponies have cutie marks and themes that align with their glittery aesthetic, with Starbeam’s cutie mark referencing her love of stars and constellations.

Mommy Bright Bouquet (Gen 1, Day at the Beach Mail Order Exclusive)

Though the main characters in the My Little Pony cartoons are always children or teenagers, it’s basically impossible to tell from the toy lines how old any of the characters are. The only clue we get is that there are both ‘baby versions’ of certain ponies and a few multipack sets in which mommy and daddy ponies can be seen.

Mommy Bright Bouquet is an example of one of the parental ponies you can add to your collection, and she is also a favourite of Generation One My Little Pony enthusiasts and collectors, thanks to her demure pose and classic pink and lilac colour scheme. Her cutie mark references the story on her card, in which she makes her baby’s drawings of flowers pop off the page and exist in the real world!

Sunspot (Gen 2, Mail Order Exclusive)

Generation Two of My Little Pony could be found on shelves from 1997 to 2003, though it only ran worldwide until 1998, and was then relegated to just Europe. As a result, Generation Two features some of the most aggressively 90s toys ever created, including this bright orange, translucent glitter Sunspot.

Not only does it have a bleach blonde mane and tail and silver glitter inclusions in its see-through, orange coat, but its cutie mark is also a pink daisy with a yellow smiley face. In short, this pony looks like someone you would have met at a Eurovision afterparty rave in 1999. So is it really a surprise that this exclusive mail-order pony is a lot of people’s favourite?

Rapunzel (Mail Order Exclusive)

My Little Pony has released a lot of princess-themed ponies over the years. Aside from the Disney-inspired collection in which ponies were dressed up as Snow White, Aurora and Cinderella, and the Princess Pony line in which every pony was themed around a different gemstone, there was also the crowning glory: Rapunzel.

Rapunzel is a mail-order exclusive pony with long tresses and an extra-long tail, longer than that of almost any other pony available to purchase. Unfortunately, the flowing locks were infamously hard for children to maintain and style, leading to many Rapunzel’s entering the resale market with chopped-off locks.

Periwinkle (Gen 3, Jewel Pony)

For 90s kids, maybe the most beloved of all the Generation Three ponies are the Jewel Pony range. These ponies may look ordinary at first glance – they’re solid-bodied without any glitter inclusions, confetti or shimmer – but they do have one unique feature that makes them hugely desirable to enthusiasts even today.

All the Jewel Pony ponies have expanded cutie marks with 3D gems in the centre, and some also have tiny little gemstones in their eyes to make them sparkle. Thanks to these two little details, the Jewel Pony ponies have enjoyed a privileged position in the hearts of collectors for years.