In 1983, Hasbro created the My Little Pony franchise, featuring colorful plastic pony toys and a self-titled television show. "My Little Pony" airs on the Discovery Network and features six regular characters: Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Applejack and Rainbow Dash.
My Little Pony's popularity unexpectedly rose in 2010 when the fourth generation of the television show debuted. As a result, the franchise extends beyond television and toys; fans of the series can purchase a collectible card game to play against one another. The game functions like Magic: the Gathering, a card game developed by Wizards of the Coast, also owned by Hasbro.
Interestingly, My Little Pony wasn't Hasbro's first attempt at creating an equine toy line for kids. Bonnie Zacherle, Charles Muenchinger and Steven D'Aguanno filed U.S. Patent #D269986 on August 31, 1981, specifying the features that would later become a favorite for girls worldwide. However, Hasbro originally tried out a toy line called My Pretty Pony. When the toys sold out, the company decided not to continue with the product, eventually releasing My Little Pony two years later.
My Little Pony continues to grow out of its shell, even shedding its equine identity with the Equestria Girls spin-off franchise; this franchise re-imagines the ponies as human high school girls, all of whom retain their characteristic pony colors.