So after some trial and error, I've determined that writing with your mouth is really hard. If you try holding it with your lips, the pencil wiggles all over the place. And if you bite down on the pencil with your molars, it's so stiff your writing is too blocky. But the latter was definitely better because I could at least control the pencil. So I thought, hey, Earth ponies would probably be a lot better at this than me! With practice, you could have some pretty good penmanship.
-Earth pony foals never enter a schoolhouse without a penbit. This handy little device allows Earth ponies, and anyone really, to grip the pencil with greater control and comfort without getting it all slobbery. Penbits are typically made of plastic presently, but they used to be made of clay or wood. Nowadays, foals treat penbits like little accessories and they come in all sorts of colors and patterns. Some are even flavored! Of course the flavored ones lead to more drool stains on essays.
Additionally, ponies are taught to write in cursive to save time and spare their neck muscles from constantly dipping down to write, which is unfortunate for dyslexic ponies.
-All ponies have hoof magnetism where objects are naturally attracted to their hooves. But Earth ponies have on average the strongest hoof magnetism, and some even "train" their hooves to pick up things. There are even competitions to see who can pick up the heaviest thing with just their hooves. Applejack holds the Ponyville record with her apple trick here. This magic does seem to respond to conscious effort, rather than unconscious. Otherwise things would be sticking to pony hooves all the time!
-Earth ponies have a stronger connection to the Earth than some. It varies of course, but farming ponies have a very strong sense for what soil is good to grow on without digging or getting a closer look. They can also sense the health of plants, if there is something toxic in the ground, and some can even sense exactly how moist the soil is without a need for instruments. They're also really good at finding water this way, and so are often enlisted to build wells. Big Mac is especially known for this gift.
I have a similar thing with hoof magnetism but instead natural, it's given by wearing a horse shoe that made by a special crystal that focused the magic to user hooves making them able to pick up things, like unicorn
If it is conscious rather than unconscious magic is it somewhat unpredictable in foals like with unicorn magic? like a foal puts their hoof on you and suddenly you find yourself stuck to them because they don't want to let go and baby magic is really strong so you'd need a prybar to get the child off
Honestly this just made me think of that episode with Pound and Pumpkin Cake where Pound Cake was walking along the ceiling.
This would honestly be a way to explain it lol
As well as adding a new worry for pony parents of their children literally climbing up the walls…
seeing a kid on the ceiling isn't actually as scary for ponies as it is for us cause they are used to it, it would also explain how they are able to climb up the mountain from dragon shy and how pinkie walked straight up a wall in Filli Vanilli
I've always just assumed that Pony frogs have evolved into cartilaginous thumblike appendages that can be pressed against the inside of the hooves to grip objects, and their hooves are more flexible in general than the equines of this world. Earth Ponies, of course, would tend to be better at it, since they're more likely to have big ol' clompy-stompers which are stronger and larger to carry bigger objects.
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Instead of cursive, I've always HC that the scribbles we see is the actual way they write words (kinda like how doctors have terrible writing), and every time we see it in English it was translated for our viewing experience
Glad I found someone who thinks ponies have some sort of magic around their hooves to grab things! I personally headcanon all ponies have a simple magic around their hoofs that can act as hands
My first image that popped into my head when I read about earth ponies having the strongest hoof magnetism was one of them going vertically up a wall with the Mission Impossible theme song playing in the background. Or a pony ending up in this situation if they ever had abnormal levels of magnetism in their hoof's: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKskM8YzbC)
It would also be funny if earth pony foals had even stronger hoof magnetism and had to where little booties that stopped them from dealing with this problem.
These are all great! I especially like the penbit idea, very genius! I was actually thinking about ponies writing a while back and came up with some of my own ideas. For one, I noticed that they are only showm to hold pencils (the type with erasers) in their mouths, but not pens or quills, so I thought, what if in the pony world, that's not an eraser on the tip of their pencils, but a hard rubber teeth grip? The other was another type of writing utensil holder: a type of slip-on hoof shoe with a clip on the front that a pencil or pen could be put in so they could write with their hooves instead of their mouths (though your hoof magnetism idea might make this idea moot, or make it work even better!). I also really like earth-ponies being able to sense things in the earth like water levels, toxin presence, and plant and soil health through their hooves. Makes me wonder if Rarity is part earth-pony and her gem-finding spell could be derived from this skill and augmented into a magic spell for her horn.
oh i love these headcanons!! I especially like the flavored penbit idea, not only would that make holding a pencil in your mouth for an extended period of time more bearable, but it could also be good for getting stubborn fillies to learn how to write haha x)
Real life horses lips are very different from ours, they basically work like a hand for grasping and maneuvering things, but the penbit seems like a fun and likely intrument for young ponies learning to write