This, by and large, is my favorite aspect of MLP, perhaps second only to the concept of "Little ponies in a big world." For the sake of repetitive writing, I'll repost an older essay of sorts I made touching on this topic, and expound upon it after. I'll forewarn and say it's written in a purposefully dry, informative way so as to feed into the "scholarly journal" style, as this was the opening chapter of a fanfic.
The Undiscovered West is a sort of lazy curiosity to the ponies of Equestria. While their knowledge of the western border is lacking, Equestria seems to care little in formal colonization of the region, letting it merely serve as the curious stretch of land that signifies a vague stopping point in defining their country. Ponies are seldom the conquering type. To the nobility of Canterlot, whatever lies over yonder will remain, and while maybe one day proper connection to the distant land might be made, it wouldn’t be today.
That isn’t to say they wished to be separated, far be it from the hearts and minds of good Equestrians to hate their neighbors, but they simply keep their focus inward. Frontier towns and railroads could be established later, there was no hurry. Even now, Equestria slowly inches forward when presented with the idea of industrialization. Money does not motivate them, for most current-standing railroads have been built for the end result of further connecting potential friends who are spread thin by the distance of their land.
That’s their story, anyway. An outsider will quickly notice the pony race’s desire for control over their domain. The weather of what could be called the ‘core’ of Equestria is all manufactured down to the rain droplets, each fluffy cloud placed with precise care each day, every day, since the inception of the legendary Cloudsdale Weather Factory. There is an interesting paradox to take notice of here for the more thoughtful visitors to ruminate upon whilst marveling at Equestria’s landscape: The magic inherent throughout the country is indeed natural, as are their many creations. Their clouds are of no different ethereal wispy strands than those that loom over the Everfree, yet they are manufactured- by living workers, no less.
It was the ponies who decided when their seasons ought to change, not the natural fluctuations of weather. So dedicated to this need of control, the most powerful of the ponies, the Alicorn race, harnessed their magic and claimed dominion of the great celestial bodies. Now all of the world must be subject to their whim. When will the sun rise? When Celestia wills it. Some speculate that this addiction to order and control in the ponies is what created Discord so many moons ago, for the ponies had forced a perpetual abundance of what they called ‘harmony.’ This is an inherently flawed outlook however, and foreign scholars who have studied the ponies and their history correctly identify this as ‘order.’ Even in their primeal state, the ponies sought control.
Perhaps that is why, then, that Equestria seems to neglect their distant borders. Not out of xenophobia or fear of the unknown, but, more simply, because they do not yet feel able to properly control those environments so far-flung from their idyllic center. They’d be stretched too thin in their control over the natural elements.
This isn’t to portray the ponies as authoritarian or even wrong in their actions; it’s a facet of their design. So ingrained into their biology, they cannot help it. Simply, it is a fact of life.
But as stated prior, the ponies are naturally driven by this pursuit of what they deem to be correct, and to possess the powers that ensure these ‘corrections’ are made.
And sometimes, it seems the stars punish the ponies for this.
All cultures, equine or otherwise, remember when the sun did not rise, and morning did not follow. The madness of Nightmare Moon, and, perhaps, the biggest paradox to ever plague the equines: An individual’s dream of how the world ought to be outshining the long-standing collective dream of what was to be cons