WA Delegate (non-executive): The Pony Principality of Princess Luna (elected )
Embassies: Angels of Derp, Crystal Empire, The Discord Dominion, My Little Pony Equestria, The Empire of Friendship, The Commonwealth Of Furry Peoples, New Lunar Republic, Tareldanore, Trojans, Mystria, Avalanchia, Vissella, Unified Skaian Syndicate of Rulers, Eladen, Sacrum Romanum Imperium, Farkistan, and 29 others.The Mictlan System, Strategos Prime, League of Christian Nations, Armagedox, Freedom and Justice Alliance, Yerushalem VI, One big Island, Ivory Tower, The Illuminati, Eientei, Kotturheim, Valhalla, Warhammer 40000, Winterfell, Avadam Inn, Neo Otaku Utopia, United Nations of Xenuooo, Borealias, The Galactic Federacy, The Dirt Alliance, Arconian Empire, Plounge Commonwealth, Krillin, Sagittarius Arm, The Bar on the corner of every region, League of Autocrats, East of West, Equestria, and Canterlot.
Regional Power: High
Today's World Census Report
The Most Primitive in Pony Lands
Nations were ranked by World Census officials based on the number of natural phenomena attributed to the unknowable will of animal-based spirit gods.
As a region, Pony Lands is ranked 19,376th in the world for Most Primitive.
|1.||The Pony Principality of Magical Equestria||Mother Knows Best State||“My little pony, MY...little...ponies...”|
|2.||The City-State of Silver Field||Iron Fist Consumerists||“Where shadows fade, Silverfield remains”|
|3.||The Protectorate of Lyra and Bon Bon||Civil Rights Lovefest||“You are in the care of Lyra and Bon Bon”|
|4.||The Kingdom of Olden Days||Civil Rights Lovefest||“The grass is always greener when it isn't burnt.”|
|5.||The Holy Empire of New Equestria||Inoffensive Centrist Democracy||“Peace through Unity. Unity Through Strength.”|
|6.||The Community of Whinny||New York Times Democracy||“Friends and family for all.”|
|7.||The Republic of Kystan Cate||Inoffensive Centrist Democracy||“The World Is My Oyster”|
|8.||The Hippocracy of Pastel Ponies||New York Times Democracy||“Peace and Freedom”|
|9.||The Empire of Ippeia||Father Knows Best State||“Basileus Basileon, Basileuon Basileuonton”|
|10.||The Most Serene Republic of Nocturniica||New York Times Democracy||“Our Voice will Echo On”|
- : The People's Republic of Twilightlicious of the region Protectorates of the Apocalypse proposed constructing embassies.
- : The Rainbow Pony Kingdom of The Candy Of Bottles removed The Republic of Dusk Falls 2 from the regional ban list.
- : The Matriarchy of Guppy v3 24 departed this region for The Rejected Realms.
- : The Rainbow Pony Kingdom of The Candy Of Bottles ejected and banned The Matriarchy of Guppy v3 24 from the region.
- : The Emirate of Rsiorseewei departed this region for The Rejected Realms.
- : The Rainbow Pony Kingdom of The Candy Of Bottles ejected and banned The Emirate of Rsiorseewei from the region.
- : The Holy Empire of Chron 9 departed this region for The Rejected Realms.
- : The Rainbow Pony Kingdom of The Candy Of Bottles ejected and banned The Holy Empire of Chron 9 from the region.
- : The Black Hawk Nation of Wingwow departed this region for The Rejected Realms.
- : The Rainbow Pony Kingdom of The Candy Of Bottles ejected and banned The Black Hawk Nation of Wingwow from the region.
Pony Lands Regional Message Board
Novaya's referencing a telegram I sent him. I told him I no longer wish to roleplay with him; we disagree too much. Just let him blow some steam, and then everyone can move on.
Fair enough, we're never shown an explicit point of comparison for how difficult it would be for somepony else.
My main point still stands: it's still possible for a unicorn with sufficient training to duplicate pegasus abilities, whereas a pegasus with sufficient training cannot duplicate unicorn abilities. Rainbow Dash is pretty much the epitome of pegasus power but still doesn't have even basic telekinesis.
Also, even within the idea of spells being limited, consider the possibility of a unicorn with a "flight" cutie mark, or something related to it. That's not nearly as overpowered as Twilight who can use every spell well, but it would still let him duplicate much of what a pegasus does while also having the opportunity for other magic (at the very least telekinesis).
No, I mean Trixie.
Her being a loudmouth fraud who couldn't do much genuinely impressive was the entire point of the original episode. Don't let fanon idolization fool you.
Clearly they do, or there wouldn't be an Everfree Forest. Ponies just don't understand how nature works.
Nor do some humans, for that matter.
Ponies being amazed that nature in the Everfree Forest is capable of taking care of itself is probably just a matter of city-dwellers not being familiar with what "wilderness" means. It's a result of the same kind of mindset that led to these comments:
"Escalators would help on steep uphill sections."
"Too many bugs and leeches and spiders and spider webs. Please spray the wilderness to rid the area of these pests."
"Please pave the trails so they can be plowed of snow in the winter."
"Reflectors need to be placed on trees every 50 feet so people can hike at night with flashlights."
"Need more signs to keep area pristine."
"How often do you mow the tundra?"
"Do you put the animals away at night?"
"When did you build the glaciers?"
"How do the elk know they're supposed to cross at the Elk Crossing signs?"
"Is there anywhere I can see the bears pose?"
(Links also include plenty of other hilarious quotes that are stupid in ways irrelevant to the point I'm trying to make.)
And for good measure,
"Could you call the captain to stop the waves? I am getting seasick."
I always interpreted the Everfree Forest as getting along on its own because it has so many monsters that ponies are too scared to enter it and meddle. Subsequently, ponies are so used to controlling absolutely everything in their environment, even the weather, that they find it weird when they don't. Admittedly, this is based more on common sense and a real-life understanding of how nature and agriculture work than on the show itself.
Also, consider that the yaks have crops at all, despite not being earth ponies. Clearly you don't need to be an earth pony to grow stuff, and that is show canon. (They also supposedly have a spring melt without Winter Wrap Up. Ponies just need that because they insist on going from "obviously winter" to "obviously spring" in one day, rather than having a smooth transition.)
None really, other than that she has a flower as her cutie mark. That's my preferred interpretation, and she's cute enough to warrant a mention.
Err... what? What else do you use to shatter solid rock?
Those are machines, that could just as easily be operated by a unicorn or pegasus or griffon (Twilight has her hot air balloon), not any kind of innate earth pony magic allowing duplication of another tribe's abilities the way unicorn magic can.
Ugh, lazy animators. Let's not get into that debate.
Another one of those late-season retcons. "Alicorn magic" is first introduced as something distinct from unicorn magic when Zecora needs Twilight to finish her potion in the plundervine storyline, and it's a rather dubious plot device. (How does Zecora even have the recipe for a potion that needs alicorn magic to work? How many opportunities would anypony have to develop or test such a thing?) Early on alicorns are supposed to simply be a fusion of all three pony types, perhaps with the power level amped up, and their magic just a really powerful form of unicorn magic.
That's from a play. It's stage special effects because the audience doesn't want to sit around for several months to watch the story in realtime.
They didn't even bother to use real clouds (you can clearly see fake-cloud stage props in the episode), despite that being something a pegasus actor should be able to do properly in realtime.
I perfectly agree. Down to blaming the poorly-worded letter at the end for misrepresenting the rest of the episode.
We could clearly tell that gravity is a real thing, and make reasonable estimations of its strength, long before Einstein came along and explained how gravity works. And since we still don't have a functioning theory of quantum gravity, we still aren't completely there. But claiming that gravity isn't real and must be some sort of prank because we don't understand quantum gravity yet is, well, stupid.
One can objectively verify through observation that things are true, even without understanding or needing to understand why they are true. Sure, understanding would be nice, but not understanding something isn't an excuse to reject its truth.
In fact, it's most often the religious people who reject branches of science they don't understand, like evolution.
That said, I do have one other gripe with the episode, which is how the Pinkie Sense came out of nowhere. She hadn't been shown using anything similar in any previous episode, even though it seems like the kind of thing that would often be useful, but then during the episode it suddenly acts up every few minutes. So the episode tries to push a message of "this is just something Pinkie can do, and Twilight should just accept it", but, until that episode, it wasn't just something Pinkie could do. After that, it was quite a while before the Pinkie Sense was even mentioned again (in The Mysterious Mare Do Well, in fact, where it was used briefly but logically and was in fact one of the few good things in the episode). It's like reality decided to behave differently that day for the sole purpose of proving Twilight wrong, in which case you can't really blame her for considering it unrealistic. Of course you're going to draw wrong conclusions if the laws of physics are actively out to get you.
What I'm wondering is why they didn't go back and change it. Clearly, they considered whatever controversy arose from this to be less serious than some people taking offense at Derpy's name.
Would "boring" be better?
Yay! I got my Psychotic Dictatorship status back!
Ok, looks like I got them all. What were they even trying to accomplish?
The Caek! vs Pie the final battle! come and uphold the honor of pie or cake!
It's really more about Twilight's exceptional talent than her training. Moon Dancer and Sunburst (both considered gifted unicorns) studied magic for years but have never been shown to cast spells as difficult as Twilight's or Starlight's.
She can't use every every spell, maybe Discord can.
Well, her magical abilities clearly were superior to the townsponies'. Plus, according to Lauren Faust, she attended the School for Gifted Unicorns. [ https://twitter.com/Fyre_flye/status/329794603354030080 ]
Besides, the point of the episode was not to brag if you're more talented than others.
The fandom hates her.
The Everfree Forest is an exception (also mentioned in Bridle Gossip).
Oh, come on, so you're basically saying that they have been living a lie for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. Cloudsdale's weather factory is pointless, so is Winter Wrap Up because the seasons and the weather changes nonetheless. What about the day-night cycle? Why has not a single pony so far questioned their traditions or what happened to those who have?
Sounds more like a conspiracy theory to me.
TIL Applejack and Fluttershy are city-dwellers.
He's clearly talking about Captain Planet. ;)
Yakyakistan isn't located in Equestria.
So does Cheerilee.
-her mass times her velocity
-the fact that the density of the Carousel Boutique's "roof" is lower than the density of solid rock
-Rule of Funny [ http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfFunny ]
I don't think so, it seems like one would need a lot of (earth pony) strength to operate these.
I guess the writers just wanted to include a Dune reference. [ http://dune.wikia.com/wiki/Water_of_Life ]
That's fandom speculation, not canon.
It looks like a real plant to me.
Strict safety regulations maybe?
Sounds good to me.
It's also training, she'd been obsessed with magic and studying it intensively since she was a blank flank.
It's probably a little of both. People do have more or less natural talent for certain things, but hard work (or lack thereof) can often make up for inborn aptitude, within reasonable limits. (I don't just mean magic, I mean any kind of skill in general.)
Moondancer has barely been shown at all.
Sunburst just seems to be plain handicapped or something. It's kind of weird that he has very powerful telekinesis (quite a bit more than most unicorns, and at least more than same-age Starlight Glimmer who just cowered from the same collapse that he stopped, and enough that he got his cutie mark from it) but is incapable of casting any other kind of spell despite having comprehensive theoretical knowledge of them. The telekinesis suggests that it's not a lack of power that's the problem. It's more like his brain-to-horn nerve connection is damaged.
Keep in mind, that there even exist all these spellbooks means that there must have been enough unicorns around capable of using the spell to have actually developed them in the first place and make it worth writing them down. That can still be a minority of unicorns, but almost certainly more than one per generation Equestriawide.
That's not what it appears from the fanfics I've seen.
Though I guess this might be affected by reverse confirmation bias. When people say/do something I agree with, I'm just "yeah duh", while when they say/do something I disagree with, it stands out and its gets tiresome the more there are.
Nah. Some spells make sense.
I don't think Discord's magic is "spellcasting" as such. He rarely does the same thing twice, the way mages who study their spells do (it's usually harder to learn a new spell than to cast one you already know). It's more just that he tells reality to do whatever he wants to, without dividing it into concrete "spells".
Don't forget that she used props like fireworks (those explicitly still work without magic, according to To Where and Back Again).
What she did aside from that really wasn't very impressive. She "beat" Rarity and the others by metaphorically hitting below the belt, not by actually doing something more spectacular than them.
She's clearly practiced in what she does, mind you. But "what she does" is flashy but essentially meaningless shows, not powerful magic. Most of it is knowing how to cast her spells at the right moment, rather than the spells themselves being particularly impressive.
Ugh, what? That's the first time I hear of this.
I thought that was just a fandom invention by people obsessed with making Twilight and Trixie old friends who had a falling-out.
Let's say what the friendship lesson has to say about that, shall we?
Dear Princess Celestia,
I have learned a very valuable lesson about friendship: I was so afraid of being thought of as a show-off that I was hiding a part of who I am. My friends helped me realize that it's okay to be proud of your talents, and there are times when it's appropriate to show them off... Especially when you're standing up for your friends.
Quite to the contrary, the point of the episode is that it is okay to brag so long as you're not a jerk about it by putting everybody else down. And aren't lying and are actually as awesome as you say.
Trixie met neither of these criteria.
Yes, and Zecora is obviously an evil enchantress, also mentioned in Bridle Gossip (even Twilight completely abandons her skepticism the moment something unpleasant happens).
Why do humans make farms? Plants can grow naturally! We can just collect those.
Yeah, except farms are more efficient. They can grow more food for the same amount of land, for less effort (since you don't have to spend time sifting through the plants to pick out the ones you can eat), and since everything is under your control they have more consistent year-to-year harvests, reducing the risk of a famine. With the huge population density of modern humanity, or even medieval cities, garthering food from the wild just isn't practical.
This isn't even about the show - if you don't think that controlling nature makes sense when nature can take care of itself, then you don't understand how real life works.
Ponies just do the same, but more, because they have innate powers that make them better at it.
And yes, in real life the densest concentrations of wilderness like rainforests and swamps really are harder for humans to tame. The Everfree Forest, with its numerous monsters, is again an exaggeration of the same thing.
If the ability to control the weather as well as pegasi do existed in real life, humans would abolutely be making use of it for many purposes, from preventing drought to preventing outdoors events from being rained out to stopping destructive storms.
With the kinds of powers they have, it would stretch disbelief if they didn't use them to tame areas that were formerly wilderness (and could revert to it if they leave), since that's what civilization does. Since that also explains perfectly why ponies can control nature while nature still gets along on its own elsewhere (the Everfree Forest, Yakyakistan, and apparently everywhere else outside Equestria), I prefer to pretend that this is intentional and the setting is actually supposed to makes sense rather than doing so only by accident, even though that might be giving the writers too much credit.
Essentially Equestria has very little true nature left, just farms, gardens, and parklands. The Everfree Forest is one of the few places left that's actually natural. But if, say, equine civilization were to collapse, nature would eventually reclaim Equestrian lands.
They live on the outskirts of the city, and they own a farm and a pet store*, respectively. Not exactly nature. Applejack isn't even fond of nature (darn pests destroying her crops!).
* Actually, it's not clear to me what Fluttershy does for a living. It's unclear why she has so many animals in her house, aside from just liking them, as she explicitly isn't a vet and they don't seem to really need her for anything. But she did give a pet to Rainbow Dash (for free, since they're friends), so it isn't unreasonable to imagine she does more of that in the background.
By the way, would you suggest that the animals in Equestria are outright [/i]dumber[/i] than those everywhere else, that they need ponies to guide them through their basic lifecycle? Okay, maybe they are, if they've gone soft as a result of being used to ponies pampering them.
So what? Are you saying that Equestria is some kind of broken zone where nature lacks the capabilities it has in the entire rest of the world?
For one thing, that would mean it's not just the Everfree Forest that's special.
For another, the most likely explanation for why Equestria would work differently from everywhere except Equestria is if the ponies caused it, which is exactly my argument.
I think you mean velocity squared. That's what determines kinetic energy :)
And anyway that kind of is a form of strength.
From what I recall she didn't even look like she was going very fast.
What? Carousel Bourique?
I'm talking about the dam in The Mysterious Mare Do Well and the canyon wall in May The Best Pet Win!.
I said solid rock, I meant solid rock.
That's also the reason behind Pinkie Pie's powers, but we were talking about whether those can be justified in-universe as earth pony magic.
If pegasi also have access to the Rule of Funny, then...
You're right, that is pedal-powered. That probably would be difficult without super strength.
Though wow, that is a pretty lame power. Crashing if you need to let your feet rest for half a minute is even worse than crashing if you fly too close to the sun.
Anyway Tank clearly gets along fine with a magic motor (presumably unicorn-enchanted), which unlike Rarity's wings seems to be pretty reliable. You'd be able to argue that doesn't scale up well to pony size, but then we've seen racecars powered by some kind of pretty good motor (affordable enough to let a bunch of foals play with them) so you should be able to manage something. Motorized cars do seem kinda anachronistic to the technology level shown in 99% of the show, but then so are helicopters, pedal-powered or no.
One of Pinkie Pie's flying "machines" was simply a bunch of helium balloons, no pedalling involved.
The only recurring flying machines, that's apparently a useful way to travel rather than just a toy, is the hot air balloon belonging to Twilight.
So you're saying that if anypony except Twilight had tried to use the hindsight potion, it would have been a lethal poison?
(A) The show shifted between more and less realistic-looking visuals depending on how "in-character" the camera was getting (the clouds were obviously visible when they were on stage, but later when Commander Hurricane tried to fight them they looked like real clouds and there didn't seem to be any stage walls getting in her way). Even in-character, though, it's still a story and should be taken with a grain of salt.
(B) Whether it's a real plant or a plastic fake doesn't matter, since either one would take up space. My argument was that it was made to appear to grow through stage tricks, and already existed (hidden) before that.
Makes sense, we've seen what Derpy can do with a runaway cloud...
Though it's the black ones that are dangerous, I don't think the fluffy white ones are an issue. Ponies leave them floating around just about everywhere.
On a phone so the quotes are harder to work with than they are worth, but I wanted to interject a few points.
First, as to the fandom's interpretation of Trixie; prior to her becoming Starlight's friend I love Trixie as presented in the show, which made me cringe almost every time I saw fandom interpretations of her. Personal experience here, but the fandom always seemed to pump up Trixie's abilities. Even after she admitted she needed the alicorn amulet to stand up to Twilight. sigh
On Trixie going to the Accademy for Gifted Unicorns; Word of God carries no weight for me personally (the author is dead, damn it). Even should it carry weight for others, Lauren Faust is no longer in charge of anything involving the show. So it's not even Word of God. "Lauren Faust said" carries as much weight in a discussion as something I said. Which is to say; no weight at all unless it's supported.
(Tangent; I really appreciate the work Faust put into this show and admire what she accomplished, but what she thought no longer has any bearing on the show and thus none on a discussion of the world or it's happenings.)
So how about supporting evidence? Well, we've seen flashbacks to Twilight's time at the Accademy and Trixie was never present. But that only proves Trixie and Twilight couldn't have attended at the same time. An absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence.
The only thing I have to offer is; Trixie seems to be learning fairly well under Starlight (Teacup!) So if she'd had formal schooling before, I'd expect her abilities to have been much better when we first met her. Her learning under Starlight proves she had the capicity, just lacked the training. Thus, she must not have had training prior.
Of course, all of this is tangential to the main point about Earth ponies and what they're capable of compared to other races. Which this discussion has gotten well away from.
Let me try taking this in another direction. What if we perceive Earth ponies as weaker because of our own biases? Wings, representitive of flight, is something that humanity has desired for millennia, so of course we see it as a sign of superuority. Magic is something else lodged in the psyche of humanity as something powerful and beyond us. What if this doesn't influence just us, the audience, but also the writers?
I like to think of Equestria as a world of it's own, shared with us through the filter of those who are creating the TV show, much like how I view all of fiction. In this case, the show world functions on it's own rules and are presented to us in a flawed way because we dont understand those rules. One example of this is magic itself. Twilight speaks of it often, but describes it like science. And why shouldn't she? It's a natural phenomenon in Equestria. I'd like to assert that it's only called magic in the show at all because that's what we perceive it as, but in Equestria it has its own name. (Likely as snore-inducing as "geology".)
In this context, Earth pony "magic" would just be things they can easily do that other races can only do with extra effort. Much like a pegasus' weather control being duplicated by a unicorn. A Pegasus could also make the same dresses Rarity does, assuming they have the same plans to work from, it'd just take them longer. Finding gems? Anyone could do it. Again, it just takes most ponies longer than it takes Rarity. "Magic" is just a label we've applied to it to understand it better, which has done the opposite in the case of Earth ponies, because we never see them do anything flashy like the other races to assign to them as their magic. (Except Pinkie Pie, but she's an exception I'll get into another time.)
I've seen strength, farming, and even ingenuity applied to Earth ponies (the last to explain things like the Griffin Chaser). And I say; yes. That's their magic. (Well, possibly not the third one, but that's a debate for another time.) It's not something other races can't accomplish, just something others can only accomplish with more effort.
Strength? Sure Dash can match AJ, but Dash is in peak physical condition for a pegasus (Wonderbolt). AJ is actually pretty average for an Earth pony. Wrll, probably above average, but remember when she went to that rodeo and failed to win anything? I do. And both of them were absolutely stunned by what Maud could do, strength-wise. Even discounting her drilling that boulder down to nothing with her hooves, she easily out-tossed Dash in a rock throwing competition in that same episode. Achievable by other races? Sure. But clearly it gonna take a non-earth pony a lot more effort than it does Maud.
As for farming (I'll keep this one short, promise) not only do we have the Yaks, we've also seen the Griffins. Food seems to be hard to come by for both of them compared to Eauestria. How do I know that? City size. We dont know how many cities any race but the ponies have, but we've seen Canterlot, Griffinstone, and Yakyakistan's capital. Canterlot has a lot larger population than the other two. The only way to sustain a population like that in a city is a large food surplus. A small portion of the population has to produce a large quantity of food to support cities like that. (Go learn about the Industrial Revolution if you don't believe me.)
What does Equestria have that the Griffins and Yaks don't? Friendship? The Yaks actually seem pretty friendly among themselves. Beside, Friendship doesn't grow you more food. How about this race we're told is really great at growing food? Apparently good enough that not even their whole race need be dedicated to producing food to support their nation.
Frankly, we see evidence of Earth pony farming every time we visit Canterlot, Manehatten, Los Pegasus, or any big city. Especially compared to the races of other cities we've seen. It's not flashy, but it's pretty evident.
Of course, realistically, ponies from another world would not be speaking English, a language that was developed by humans for humans.
So the Equestrian words for both "magic" and "geology" would likely sound nothing like ours.
Is translating whatever Twilight does as "magic" reasonable? I think it'd only really cause a problem if there are multiple separate things that we would call magic but that Equestrians recognize as separate forces. The show doesn't go in much detail about how magic works, but it does kinda seem to all be based on the same underlying power source, just applied differently.
Nowadays we often use "magic" to mean "anything inexplicible by science", often with the implication of "something that I don't believe actually happened". However, that's in large part a result of the skepticism movement debunking belief in magic. Back when people took magic seriously, it almost certainly wasn't a term of ridicule.
That does raise the question of what term Equestrians would use for "anything inexplicable by science" - so long as magic is a science with understood rules, there will always be some things it supposedly can't do, and thus need for some term analogous to "by magic" to describe allegations of those things happening. (Note that Twilight insists witchcraft isn't real...)
Then there is the broad distinction between on one hoof all ponies being magic to some degree, including things like pegasus weather control (and flight, if you consider there is no way they should work under normal aerodynamics) and cutie marks, and on the other hoof the narrower meaning of conciously-controlled unicorn magic. And I don't think Discord follows the same rules as other magic in the setting. He's not big on rules.
Well yeah, with enough technology, you can eventually duplicate just about every racial power.
But earth ponies seem to need more technology than other ponies to reach the same level. And I don't think that's compensated for by being better at making or using technology - some of the most advanced technology we've seen was by Flim and Flam, who are unicorns, and logically being able to enchant stuff would open a lot of useful options in designing technology, and telekinesis would probably make designing fine mechanisms easier, compared to using mouth-held tools. (Nor do you need to be a unicorn to use enchanted tools - see Tank's flying harness - so unicorns are the best at making tools for everyone.)
And flying in a machine is never going to give the same feeling of freedom as flying with your own wings, even magically-conjured ones.
Yeah, but she got second, third, or fourth place in nearly everything. She's probably in better overall condition than any of the other competitors, but she's a bit too much of an Applejack-of-all-trades and so lost out to the ponies who had fewer base character build points but min-maxed for a single event.
She's also regularly shown to be pretty enthusiastic about sports. She clearly works out a lot.
She turned out not to be the best at buckball, but neither was Rainbow Dash.
Whenever Applejack and Rainbow Dash compete (Fall Weather Friends, Castle Mane-ia) the writers seem to delight in having them always turn out to be exactly tied. Presumably to avoid disappointing fans of either character by proclaiming a clear winner. (By the way, note that Applejack seemed to be about equally-matched to Rainbow Dash in the Running of the Leaves, both before and after they started cheating, despite Rainbow Dash specializing in races while Applejack is more of a general-purpose athlete.)
I'm assuming that's due to Maud specifically having an affinity for rocks, rather than brute strength. She probably couldn't do the same with something that isn't a rock.
Which, I confess, does sound kind of like earth pony magic at work.
Which looks like a plot hole. If the yak nation is so tiny (they seemed more like a close-knit tribe than anything that warrants using royal titles), how could them declaring war on Equestria possibly present a serious threat?
Also, really, if ponies are so much better at farming than everyone else, why don't they import food from the ponies? I mean, that's what cities do anyway. Import food from the hinterlands, whether they belong to the same nation or another. (Okay, so "Equestria and Yakyakistan haven't opened their borders for hundreds of moons", but did nobody in the world care for economics before Twilight came along? Surely some other species' nations must have already had good enough relationships with Equestria to open trade.)
That's a good point. Modern farms are able to produce so much food with few farmers because of heavy machinization with tractors and so on. For ponies to achieve the same kinds of farmer ratios without such technology (which Applejack clearly doesn't use, except in the alternate future with the war against Sombra, where demand apparently outstripped even earth pony capabilities) would logically require something to be going on.
Not that we ever see what it is, since on-screen Applejack doesn't seem to be doing anything much better than a human could. Her method of harvesting all the apples in a tree at once is impressively efficient, but I don't think that alone makes up the difference (and, again, Rainbow Dash could duplicate that feat without any training).
But farming, no matter how good you are at it, is still limited in scope.
Sure, earth pony magic (if we conclude it exists based on indirect reasoning despite a lack of direct observation) is nice if you're a farmer. But that very same magic means that you don't even need as many farmers. Back in the pre-unification period, maybe most earth ponies were farmers (what changed since then, if they're not actually using much better technology now?), but nowadays even most earth ponies are city-dwellers. For most of those, it's a raw deal. (Outside of Winter Wrap Up and similar everypony-chips-in events, but then again "ability to be conscripted for a job you don't enjoy" isn't even that good of a power.)
That's my point about about earth pony powers being less widely-applicable than pegasus or unicorn powers, unless you can expand it a lot beyond just farming. And that's why most people prefer pegasus or unicorn self-inserts - most of us aren't interested in farming and just don't have any use for the relatively narrow field of things earth ponies are good at, even if within that field they outstrip everyone else.
Compare with unicorn magic, which allows you to be pretty much anything you want to be. Seamstress? Sure, there's spells for that. Something else? There's spells for that too.
Or pegasus flight, which might not be quite as versatile, but as you point out is something that most humans have found themselves longing for at some point (even with some exceptions, like Squeeheart).
Earth pony magic? Valuable for Equestrian society as a whole, maybe, but not so much fun for most earth ponies. And even for the good of society as a whole, not needed in the same quantities, either (much less than one-third of the population are farmers).
You seem to have argued against specific points which even if I were to concede them all to you they don't really change anything about the points I was making... So despite disagreeing with a lot of what you said, for the sake of brevity I'm not going to argue with you and just say this.
Your argument was about self-inserts? When the *yay* did that become the discussion? I thought we were talking about if the pony races were equal? Honestly, it sounds like you agree with me.