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I mean something a little bit different than a typical pony animal. Rather, I mean exactly this:

enter image description here

Unlike furries, ponies from this show are much more akin to their animal counterparts. They are quadralupe rather than bipedal and they have hooves that seem to be incapable of fine operation like human hands.

At the same time, these ponies have human intelligence and apparently have managed to create their own civilization.

How do they manage to perform tasks is waved off by the show authors with implausibilities:

enter image description here

Or by making mouthes substitute hands:

enter image description here

This may be sufficient for a cartoon, but not for the standards of WorlbuildingSE.

How could they evolve? How could they create a civilization in spite of lack of hands?

Perhaps a "pony" is here the same to a horse as a human is to a chimp.

(Yes, I know that unicorns are capable of fine operation even surpassing this of human hands by means of the magic from their horns. Please ignore this; even in the show non-unicorns are capable of operating on their own, without the help of unicorns. And they were even capable of creating a civilization of their own, rivalring this of unicorns'.)

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  • $\begingroup$ First thing, we need to do something about hoofs - civilized ponies just can't have them on their forelegs. Think of something like raccoon's foreleg as a replacement. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Nov 17 '17 at 23:05
  • $\begingroup$ this video may give you ideas, it has a similar problem and either solution would work. youtube.com/watch?v=TEZlxA1YJIw $\endgroup$ – John Nov 17 '17 at 23:54
  • $\begingroup$ Can you explain what your pony should be able to do? If the ponies do not need to write or use "hand" tools, why can't they just create civilization without hand? $\endgroup$ – Vylix Nov 18 '17 at 4:31
  • $\begingroup$ You perhaps underestimate the dexterity of a horse's lips. I've known several that are quite capable of e.g. opening latches on gates and feed room doors, and getting carrots or other treats out of your pockets. If you've ever watched one graze in a wild meadow, you may have noticed that they can select particular plants, not just blindly bite off whatever fits in their moutn. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Nov 18 '17 at 6:36
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In the steppes of Central Asia, the horse population faces many challenges: there is a glaciation that makes food scarce and there are dangerous predators. Luckily, no humans have appeared in this planet, nor will they ever appear.

A new plant grows in this environment; its fruits are very nutritious, but the plant is inedible. Some work is required to separate the fruit from the plant.

Also, tiny critters provide a very valuable source of scarce proteins; they are somehow digestible for the ponies stomachs. But they are not easy to hunt for a single pony.

In time, one of the hooves becomes adapted to separating fruits from plants, gaining the ability to grasp objects.

Ponies develop communication to become more efficient hunters of the tiny critters, and to defend in groups from predators.

One day, a pony grabs the inedible plant part and uses it to scare away a predator. It communicates to the others its finding, which starts to become commonplace.

You already have language, weapons usage, and group hunting, which leads to a society emerging. From there, a human-like evolutionary path might be possible.

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  • $\begingroup$ I did not resolve the flashy colors, nor do I know how to. But I am open to suggestions. $\endgroup$ – Pablo Oliva Nov 17 '17 at 22:05
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    $\begingroup$ Ugh, humans come in different colors too - white, black, yellow, red; even more importantly, humans of the same race have wildly different hair colors (yellow, orange, brown, black), and ponies' skin is covered in fur $\endgroup$ – gaazkam Nov 17 '17 at 22:13
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    $\begingroup$ @PabloOliva let me suggest that the colors are a mating display, akin to peacocks. The ponies display these ridiculous non-camouflage colors to show that they are tough enough to survive even with this self-imposed handicap. $\endgroup$ – akaioi Nov 18 '17 at 5:32

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