Ponyta is an equine Pokémon with cream-colored fur. It has brown eyes and triangular ears with reddish interiors. Yellow and reddish-orange flames make up its mane and tail. The mane forms a short crest on top of its head and a short strip down its back to its tail. Additional flames are present behind its elbows and knees. The fire appears about an hour after hatching. It has four long legs, each ending in a single, gray hoof. These hooves are said to be ten times harder than diamonds and act as shock absorbers.
Ponyta are relatively lightweight for their size, as they have extraordinary jumping abilities and are capable of leaping tall buildings in a single bound. However, a newborn Ponyta is a weak runner and is actually barely able to stand. It gradually strengthens its legs and becomes faster by chasing after its parents and jumping over grass that grows taller by the day. In the anime, it is shown that Ponyta can control its flames so that its rider is not burned by them, and Ponyta only does this for those that it has accepted. Ponyta live in grasslands, on plains, or anywhere that it can run freely.
In the Galar region, Ponyta has adapted to forests by being exposed to the life energy from it. It has chalk-white fur; long, purple-and-blue, cloudy fur that is also on top of its dark-purple hooves; purple eyes with light-blue irises; and a purple-and-white horn on top of its forehead.
Galarian Ponyta can absorb the life energy located in the atmosphere and store it in its mane, which will then become more colorful and potentially release a shining glow if there is a lot of energy to use. The small horn on its head contains healing power. Ponyta can heal any slight wounds with a few rubs from its horn. By looking into the eyes of a person, it can read the contents of the heart. Should Ponyta find any evil, it will promptly go back into hiding. As shown in the anime, Galarian Ponyta can send pleas for help in the form of visions to people, even if they're from another region.
Platinum owns a Ponyta, which serves her as a form of transport. It first appeared in Stagestruck Starly. Although it was a weak battler with nothing but a streak of losses against every Gym Leader he had faced, in Canalave City, he was somehow able to defeat both of Byron's Bronzong and evolve into a Rapidash soon afterwards.
Galarian Ponyta's category, Unique Horn, sounds similar to unicorn.
Ponyta and its evolved form are based on fiery steeds in mythology, such as those belonging to the Greek god Helios, Skinfaxi of Norse mythology, or the horses of the Ashvins in Hindu mythology. The fire in its Shiny coloration refers to blue fire, which generally indicates a higher temperature than orange fire but may also be caused by certain chemicals burning at a normal temperature.
Ponyta is derived from pony, a small horse. It phonetically sounds like the foreign word bonita (pretty in Spanish, Basque, and Catalan; beautiful in Portuguese and Galician; goodness in Latin). It may also derive from ponytail.