While playing horseshoes with one another, Applejack and Rainbow Dash start arguing over who is the better athlete and schedule an “Iron Pony” competition of events to decide it. As the events wear on and gather a crowd, the two progressively get more competitive. After going through the first half in a tie, Rainbow Dash starts using her wings in the second half to easily win the remaining games. Applejack accuses her of cheating and wants to race her in the annual Running-of-the-Leaves in a “no-wings” competition to decide it. The next day, the two race with numerous other ponies, including Twilight Sparkle, and soon get less and less friendly and more competitive, both accusing each other of cheating and soon resorting to cheating themselves to try and outdo each other. By the time they cross the finish line, where Princess Celestia herself is watching the event, they’re fighting…and soon get the bad news: they tied for last place. They spent so much time at each other’s throats that they both came in dead last. Even the unathletic Twilight beat both of them using a pacing-herself strategy. The two apologize to each other for being such poor sports and, on Celestia’s suggestion, run the race again to knock off the leaves they failed to get off the first time due to their fighting…this time side-by-side as friends. Twilight comments that it’s important to remember “the friendship is more important than the competition”.
Another fairly good episode. Again, there’s nothing outstanding about it, and parts of it are a bit awkward, but there’s nothing wrong either. In many ways, it’s like a “better” version of “Look Before You Sleep”. There seems to be a propensity in the show to make Applejack argumentative with the other characters. However, it has more energy, better pacing, and better jokes as well, so I think it’s all-around better.
Again, since this episode is mostly built around one joke, it needed something to “fill in the rest”. In this case, rather than slowing the pacing down or filling everything with a lot of “dead time”, the writers decided to include banter between Spike and Pinkie Pie acting as announcers. To me, it’s mostly “hit and miss”, and it seems almost out of the blue in how it begins and ends. Still, it keeps the momentum of the episode going, which is good.
The one part I dislike is when Twilight Sparkle is mocked by both Rainbow Dash and Applejack for entering the race. I’m not a racer myself and I’m overweight, and so if I entered a race and my “friends” laughed their asses off at me even showing up to the starting line…they wouldn’t be my friends for very long. That part is just mean.
That moment aside, the episode is good fun and entertaining. It may not be “outstanding”, but it’s still very nice.
Along with “Winter Wrap Up” and “Hearth’s Warming Eve”, one of the only episodes not to be in spring or summer.
The apples falling on Rainbow Dash’s head do the old “Shave and a Haircut…Two Bits” gag that was popular in Looney Tunes.
Leaves don’t even fall unless ponies knock them off? Do they have to paint them every autumn too? “Lazy leaves” indeed, Pinkie Pie.
The first of many episodes where other members of the Mane Six appear but have no lines, in this case Rarity and Fluttershy.
There is no “official” letter or statement to Celestia in this episode, but Twilight still gives a moral in her presence.
3 Stars out of 5