TraitsAccording to the show's creator, earth ponies have a special connection to nature and animals. Though they lack the ability to consciously cast spells (like unicorn ponies) or to fly and walk on clouds (like pegasus ponies), their connection to nature makes them "just as necessary" as and "perhaps more important" than the other ponies.
This connection to the land and animals manifests in various ways. The Apple family maintains apple orchards in Ponyville and Appleloosa, and many earth ponies work to plow and sow the fields in Winter Wrap Up. Earth ponies also do most of the manual labor, such as scoring ice and clearing snow. Their talent for animal care is less prominently featured, though Applejack drives cattle in Applebuck Season, and keeps pigs in her barn. Fluttershy, a pegasus pony, is a notable exception, as she has her own special bond to the earth, and she spends most of her time taking care of animals. Fluttershy was originally conceived by Lauren Faust as an earth pony, which could explain this exception.
Not all earth ponies are farmers. Earth ponies work in a variety of professions: Pinkie Pie and Mr. and Mrs. Cake are pastry chefs; Hoity Toity is a fashion mogul; Photo Finish has a career as a photographer; Sapphire Shores is a pop singer; Mr. Breezy holds a job as a fan salesman; Cheerilee is the school's teacher; and the Spa ponies work at a spa.
Earth ponies are seen all over Equestria. According to Twilight Sparkle in Winter Wrap Up, they are the founders of Ponyville. The majority of Ponyville residents appear to be earth ponies, though all three types of ponies reside in the town. Earth ponies also frequently appear in Appleloosa and Manehattan. Cloudsdale does not regularly host earth ponies or unicorn ponies, as they are wingless and do not have the natural ability to stand on clouds. However, a spell that grants wingless ponies the ability to walk on clouds, along with a separate spell that gives ponies wings, is employed by Twilight Sparkle in Sonic Rainboom.