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Iron Pony 2019: The Obstacle Course

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~The Iron Pony Obstacle Course~

 

A tan earth pony stands beside a starting line; a long, winding course full barrels, spotted with mud, and other obstacles stretches on behind her. Ponies have gathered along the sidelines of the course, watching contestants tackle the course one at a time. There is much ruckus as one of the participants falls into a pool of mud, ponies cheering or shouting encouragement- the whole scene is energetic, and alive with the spirit of competition! The tan pony earth pony spots you and calls out to you, her brown mane whipping in a slight breeze. Her enthusiasm strikes you as she calls out- "Welcome to the Iron Pony Obstacle Course! Do you have strength? Agility? Finesse! Speed?! Do you have what it takes to be number one?! Step on up and show us what you've got!'

 

 

Event Description:

 

Everypony can test their mettle on the obstacle course! The object is to get over, under, and across as quickly as possible to reach the finish line. The obstacle course is made up of four obstacles. The first obstacle is a long, shoulder deep pit of mud the width of the track; so cross it your going to have to get a little dirty! Sturdy, strong ponies will do well on this leg of the race! The second obstacle is a wall of barrels - stacked six high at its peak, there are too many to jump over from ground level! Each pony must be careful to scale the barrles that arent stacked as high until they can reach the top, and jump over. Be careful not to slip, some of those barrels can be wobbly! Ponies with agility will do well here! The third obstacle is a long straight stretch of the course where ponies must sprint to cross it as quickly as possible to reach the next challenge; ponies with great speed will excel through this challenge! Finally, the last challenge and fourth obstacle is a row of three thick wooden poles sticking up out of the ground. Each pony must retrieve three fresh apple pies at a nearby table, and are required to balance all three pies on their back while they weave between the wooden poles to the finish line. Move quickly, but not too quickly! For each pie that falls, there is a time penalty, so dont let those pies fall! Ponies with the utmost elegance and balance will shine brightly in this leg of the race!

 

 

Event Rules:

 

1 )There is no flying, no magic, and no use of outside equipment; everypony must compete using their natural ability to overcome the obstacle course!

2) Only one post (run) per competitor (OC)!

3) You may participate in this event with more than one OC. However, only one post will be considered for judging, please indicate which OC/post you want to be judged in the competition at the top right of your post by adding the following: *This post submitted for judging*

4) All global forum rules apply- keep it clean and safe for all ages!

 

 

Event Judging:

 

This event will be judged by three simple criteria: Completion, Creativity, and Quality. There is no actual timing, or time penalties factored into the judging, the winner will be decided solely based on the overall quality of their RP based on the above criteria and following guidelines. The listed criteria will be used by the judge to determine the winner, no scores will be given or made public, and the winner will be announced upon the completion of the event! Specific information on each criteria follows:

1) Completion will be based on appropriate post length (not to short or inappropriately long), and responds to all event criteria. Completion checks to see that the competitor has met all of the requirements of the event.

2) Creativity encompasses every writer's unique approach to solving the event, how entertaining, and how original the post is. Is there character development in struggle, however small? Do we learn something about the character through their actions, thoughts, and attitude? Is it humorous, or does it make us sympathize with the character? Is it enjoyable and well thought out?

3) Quality focuses on the physical quality of the post- are there spelling errors, or grammatical errors that throw a wrench in the reading process? Does the post flow well when read? Does the post look good, or is it riddled with colors that don't match and pictures that don't fit in? This criteria focuses on basic readability and penmanship.

 

 

Getting Started:

 

All you need to do to get started is to respond to this thread with your post of your OC going through the obstacle course! Good luck everypony, show us what you've got!


 

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"Mares and Gentlecolts!  We are proud to announce the start of the Iron Pony Obstacle Course!" a Unicorn at the starting line cried into a megaphone to the crowds of cheering ponies and creatures.  The Unicorn waved a yellow flag as a sign for the judges to sync their watches and then held up a white flag to summon the first contestant. 

 

"Our first Contestant, representing Ponyville, is the owner of the largest Tomato Ranch in the area and the thickest skull in Equestria, we are proud to present Boulder Dash!" the announcer said as Boulder Dash entered the track.  Never one to turn down an endurance challenge, Boulder Dash had quickly signed up for the Obstacle Course and was eager to show his mettle again.

 

Removing his signature farm hat and waving to the crowd, Boulder Dash smiled to the cheers he recieved from his home town representatives in the crowd.  As he approached the starting line he made sure to bow his head low to where he knew the Princesses would be watching from before he adjusted his hat and took his spot on the starting line.  "Boulder Dash are you ready?" the announcer asked as he lifted the start flag.  Boulder Dash nodded and scrapped his hoof against the dirt like his Earth Pony ancestors.

 

The Unicorn waved the flag and Boulder Dash took off like a shot.  Moving at great speed for a pony of such large size.  It was only a matter of time before he came across  the first obstacle, the Mud Pit.  "Too easy, just another mud bath" he thought as he dove into the mud and landed with a loud GLUP.  Trudging and marching through the Mud, Boulder Dash's thick neck and head stuck out of the muck like a shark fin in water.  He moved just as graciously as well, do to years of slopping pigs and muddin on the farm.

 

As such it didn't take long for him to reach the end of the pit and he crawled out shaking some of the mud from his body like a wet dog before taking off at great speed again as the mud had cooled him off and reinvigorated him as well.  Soon he came across the 2nd Obstacle the Barrel Wall.  Normally he would just smash through the blasted thing and and be done with it, but he knew that would be frowned upon as the object was to scale it.

 

Again his farm upbringing helped him here as years of lifting and stacking hay bales had given him strength and experience as he jumped up and started to scale the wall.  Using his upper body strength to heave himself up, he started to sweat as he kicked up and scaled the wall.  As an Earth Pony he was able to feel any weak or wobbly barrels under his hoof and could right himself when need.  He finally reached the top and leaped off with a loud "HEEEEEEEHHHHHAAAWWWWW!"

 

Landed with a crash loud enough and strong enough to shake the ground, causing some spectators to think an Earthquake was occurring.  Smiling proudly he took off running again and soon came to the third Obstacle, The Long Sprint.  Boulder Dash sprinted forward and shot out like a cannon ball.  Running as fast as his long thick legs would carry him.  He put a lot of strain into it and soon his 2nd wind carried him across the sprint line.  

 

Slowing a bit to catch his breath he approached the last Obstacle as he wiped some sweat from his brow.  He collected his three apple pies and place them on his large back before taking off through the poles.  He placed himself here as he was winded from the sprint, but kept the pies balanced while dodging and weaving through the poles.  He tried to not let the aroma of the pies distract him as he worked his way through the poles, not easy for a pony as wide and muscled as he was.  But Boulder Dash worked his way through and finally crossed the line at th he end as another pony waved a finishing flag.

 

Boulder Dash dropped his pies off at another table as the crowd cheered again.  Waving to the crowd, Boulder Dash went over and dunked his head into a large water trough, taking a deep sip of water before removing his head and sitting watch the rest of the competition. 

 

SUBMITTED FOR JUDGING

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*Submitted for Judging*

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This wasn't Feng Yinhaitao's first trip to the Western Lands, but it would be his first visit to Equestria simply as himself, rather than as one of the Empress' Watchers.  Being among the more dedicated of her guards, the longma never left her side, and thus was not able to see much of this foreign land, at least not from the perspective of a commoner.  He didn't mind so much, no time spent in the presence of his beloved Empress was ever dull or wasted.  In fact, this land held a special place in his heart, for it was in Equestria that he had finally, finally opened up and confessed his secret, forbidden love for the young Empress Yu Yue...

 

An unrequited love, as it turned out, which Feng suspected was why he was here.  Officially, he was sent as a representative of Long Guo to the Iron Pony Competition, as a way of signaling the new openness of the Eastern Lands, with a side mission of bringing home some of that sweet international glory.  Unofficially, Yu was probably using this temporary exile as a way of telling her bodyguard to go cool his head, in the hopes that some extended time away from her would have his unlawful affection fade.

 

*Fat chance of that.  There is a local saying here, is there not, about the heart and absence?*  This bittersweet reflection notwithstanding, Feng was determined to perform his official mission with all the vigor and determination he applied to his regular duties.  Youthful rambunctiousness honed by discipline, was this not the definition of the ideal athlete?  He'd show these other ponies what it meant to have the blessings of the Eastern Dragons!

 

He didn't rush to the front of the line for the obstacle course, taking a little time first to do some stretches and preening.  There would be no flying for this event, but wings could be used for many things, as long as you kept the feathers in line.  This also gave a chance for onlookers to get a good view of his exotic form; and while there was a small bit of vain pleasure behind that, Feng being a young stallion in his prime, high visibility was desirable for his role as a representative of his nation and kin.

 

"Our second contestant, coming all the way from the Long Guo Imperial Capital of Huanjing, is Feng Yin-hay-toe!"

 

Snrrk!  The longma's stoic 'game face' was disrupted for a second with the snort of laughter.  Oh dear, he'd forgotten that Equestrians might not know how to pronounce his exotic name.  It wasn't usually written in an alphabetic language, to be fair...

 

But!  This was no time for linguistic reflections, this was a time for action!  Time to show all these ponies what a longma could do!  At the flash of the red flag, Feng was off, sprinting smoothly towards the mud pit.  Being most akin to the pegasi of ponykind, he was built more for speed and dexterity than force, thus making the first obstacle the most difficult for him to surpass.  It also didn't help that any such obstacles encountered professionally he was trained to just fly over, but he couldn't use his wings... or at least, he couldn't use his wings to fly.

Instead, right as he hit the edge of the pit, he extended his wings and locked his legs flat-hooved to the ground, intending to use his momentum to hydroplane over the mud!  And surprisingly enough, this improvised move worked!... for a little over halfway through.  It wasn't a perfect hydroplane, as the v-shaped wake Feng left in the mud did end up digging down into it, stopping his momentum and causing the sticky mess to collapse back in on him with a *glup.*  He did manage to raise his wings above the mud level before then, but the rest of the way through couldn't be called anything but a hard slog for him.

 

All in all, that wasn't the most impressive showing.  Neither was Feng as he emerged, mud splattered all over his golden scales.  No matter; he'd have to make up time on the rest of the course, but he had full confidence that he could do so.  Giving himself time for only one cursory shake, he took off running once again towards the barrels.  Even without being able to fly, he had a good vertical jump which could take him clear to the top in one go.  From there, he counted on maintaining momentum in his upward journey, aided by the fact that he had an 'extra' pair of limbs to grip onto the top edges and propel him onwards and upwards.  However, this did mean that he took no time to steady any wobbling barrels, leaving the tower quite unsteady by the time he reached the top!

He didn't let that stop his careening momentum, however, taking one last leap off the peak as the stack began to topple beneath his hooves!  The event assistants would probably have to re-stack a few of those....

 

His flying leap took his right to the flat stretch of grass, and he tucked and rolled into his landing to come out still running, gaining precious seconds on the clock!  This was one obstacle where his wings would be a hindrance, so he kept them pressed tight to his sides, trying to minimize wind resistance as much as possible.

 

This maintained momentum had to drop upon reaching the final obstacle, and along with it dropped Feng's stoic expression for the second and final time.  This was going to be an absolute ringer for him!  He'd trained for literal years, sneaking to and from the kitchens to smuggle plates of dumplings into his infirmary bed!  Pausing just for a moment, he slipped one pie onto each of his wings, and the third between them, folding the trio all onto his back, arching it just so to create a little nest, before heading off to the slaloms.  It was an easy trip, for one used to having to dodge patrols without letting one tasty dumpling drop to the floor!

 

With a graceful ease and grin stretching his muzzle, Feng streaked across the finish line, setting down two of the pies, and picking up the third.  Still warm.  Impulsively, he ducked his head into the crust and took a bite.  "Mmmm!  Měiwèi de!*"  The crowded seemed to love it, and the longma gave them a happy wave back.  This was going to be a fun assignment...

 

*Delicious!

Edited by PrinceBlueblood
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*This post submitted for judging* :D 

 

Applebloom pranced in place while she watched the first two competitors complete their runs on the obstacle course. 

 

"Whoa! That was just as fast as Boulder Dash!" She commented with excitement as Feng crossed the finish line and dove into one of his pies.

 

"Are you sure this is a good idea Applejack?" She looked expectantly towards her older sister. If not for the farm mare's solid presence Applebloom was sure she wouldn't have been able to work up the gumption to even get this far! She gulped back her nervousness, knowing it was her turn next. "I mean, we've competed together in events like this a'fore but I've never gone through one of these courses all on my own! What if I git stuck?"

 

Applejack smiled down at her younger sister, noting that she wasn't so little anymore. Applebloom had her cutie mark now, she was finding her way in the world. She was becoming a capable mare in her own right. Pride swelled in Applejack's chest as she bumped Applebloom lightly on the shoulder. "A'course this is a good idea Abby! An' yer not gonna git stuck! We've been trainin' hard an' yer more than ready to take this on. Besides," She let a half smile settle onto her muzzle. "This is for fun after all!"

 

Abby's eyes brightened as she remembered why she'd signed up for the Iron Pony challenge to begin with. "Yer right big sis! There's no use in doin' this if I don't have fun!"

 

"Don't you worry 'bout winnin' or loosin' sis! Yer a pride an' credit to the Apple family no matter what!" She nodded to the start line. "Now git out there and show em' how an Apple handles an obstacle course!"

 

"Will do!" Applebloom called from over her shoulder as she readied herself at the start line. She could hear the crowd cheering for her and the announcer calling out her name but all that faded into the background as she focused on the task at hoof! 

 

She caught the flash of  the start flag on the edge of her vision and took off like a starvin' raccoon towards a ripe corn field!

 

"Eyes on the prize, eyes on the prize!" She repeated the phrase she'd worked on with her sister over in her head as she came up on the first obstacle. 

 

She really needed to pour on the speed for this one. Since she was rather light weight the plan of action was to tip hoof across as much of the mud as possible. Light and fast hoof steps were the name of the game! The young mare concentrated on moving her hooves as quickly as possible so they wouldn't get trapped and pulled down into the mud. This was the trickiest of all the challenges on the course. If she did sink, she'd be stuck and it would be game over! 

 

Her legs moved in a blur over the mud and before she knew it she was safely on the other side!

 

"Whew!" She called out in relief and then galloped towards the next challenge.

 

The barrels were stacked so high that the top was not even visible from her low vantage point. Not to be deterred by the magnitude of the climb she bunched her hind legs beneath her and sprang upwards! The barrels wobbled but not to the extent that they might topple as her weight wasn't enough to cause a large shift. Up up up she hopped until she was at last on the top!

 

Applebloom sucked in a breath of air after the exertion of the climb but she didn't slow down! To the cheering of the crowds in the background she scrambled down two barrels until the height of the jump was doable for her. From there the Crusader launched forward and hit the ground running! Though the scramble down a couple barrels took a little time, the fantastic leap did much to make up for it!

 

"Yeeehaaaw!" On she galloped through the straight away section of the course. Her legs may not have been as long as some of the other competitors but she went to the sprint with a will! Applebloom lowered her head and propelled herself forward with her hind legs like her sister had taught her. She could feel herself burning energy quickly, her muscles beginning to scream for oxygen as she pressed onward! She pushed through the pain, just like she saw Applejack do so often in competition! She may not have had the longest legs but she had the determination of an Apple!

 

Finally she made it to the last obstacle! She flipped three pies onto her back with ease. She was a seasoned expert with pies being raised with them and so many other tasty renditions of apples. In fact the pies now in precarious balance on her back had been donated earlier in the day by Sweet Apple Acres. The young mare streaked forward with hardly a wobble, making her way through the upright poles with poise and style. The obstacle was behind her before she knew it!

 

Abby used the last ounce of her strength for a speedy finish line crossing. There was Applejack waiting for her! Her gallop turned into a trot as she dropped off her pies and collapsed with exhaustion and joy into her sister.

 

"I did it AJ, I did it!" She spoke around large breaths of air. Her heart was pounding and a huge smile was on her muzzle.

 

Applejack hugged her sister and then held her at arms length. "Yah sure did sis! Yah did the Apples proud and more importantly yah did yerself proud!"

 

Abby looked up at Applejack. "An' you know what sis?"

 

AJ smiled. "What lil sis?"

 

"I sure had fun!"

 

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*This post submitted for judging*

 

This long vacation had been quite the experience. Thank goodness, Nensho had talked Toboe into some time off... And helped her concoct an alias to play in this contest under. It was nice to run around in a look that wasn't so tiring to maintain around ponies. Now she could just walk around and not worry about any cameras or journalists from back home trying to make a bit or to by making some story about her. If word got out she was playing in these games the effect on her reputation would be questionable to say the least, especially if she lost. Well, all of that was irrelevant now.

 

She'd come out of her favorite dress shirt and felt oddly exposed without it. It made the stretches she was doing at the starting line feel rather... embarrassing. Thank goodness most of the attention and cheers she could hear from spectators came from one weird looking kirin in an apron waving little flags. When she looked closer she couldn't help but notice that mare had her eyes closed while she cheered and those little flags seemed to bare the image of that Longma that went before. Was she his marefriend or something? No-no... Focus. Focus on the goal ahead. That Folksy pony announcer was sure to be introducing her soon enough.

"Seems we got another visitor from way outta town...a Tuckered Hay-me?"

"It's Tokkuri Hime!" She barked out in frustration, "That was only funny the first time!" The Kirin huffed through her nostrils and took her last couple stretches, then got into her her starting position. Her body like a tightly compressed spring of steel: Every fiber in her being ready, focused, and primed to burst through this course and take home whatever prize was to be won... even if she'd only started actually training herself in any serious capacity about a week ago. Much as she loved the work for the family and time behind a bar counter, she hated what it did to her physique sometimes.

 

When that little red flag swished about she zipped right forward with a small cloud of dust behind her. Dust that soon became bits of dirt, and finally splashes of Mud as she met the mud pit. She snickered as she felt the thick mire surrounding her body cover her up to the shoulder, If there was anything in this course she knew she'd be able to handle: It was this. Memories of her and Nensho hopping around, playing in the rain came immediately to mind. For the sake of propriety back home she had to stop indulging in the simple pleasures of muddy puddle hopping. In her adult years it seemed she'd finally get to have a bit of fun in the mud again! Her speedy gait had been slowed somewhat , but only just barely as she was out almost as fast as she went in. The kirin looked almost disappointed when it was over, yet she moved on to the next trial with bits of mud still splashing off her now eighty percent brown coat.

 

WIthout breaking her stride 'Tokkuri' moved on ahead to the barrels. Climbing them wasn't going to easy, at least not with mud still caking her hooves and an earthen paintjob that hadn't fully dried caking her coat. 

 

Not one to back down from a challenge, she hunched down and leapt from one barrel to the next. Stumbling at first from the layer of mud on her hooves, her balance off for some leaps and threatening to tumble down. On the worst stumble where she was sure she'd end up tumbling backwards she dug down and leapt to the top barrel. She felt the container wobbling under her weight and uneven distribution. In the hopes of steadying herself and stepped about... and then the barrel along with her rolled back down the hill of barrels with a series of wooden thuds that made the barrel roller cringe all the way to the bottom before leaping off and hoping that such a display wasn't considered disqualifying. 

 

With the longest part of the stretch coming up, the kirin realized she may as well use up the bulk of her stamina for it. She was more familiar with running with her head low so she ended up with a couple confused looks from the crowds as she ran forward with a great burst of speed,  already panting and huffing in her excitement. She left quite the trail of dust behind her that an ill timed wind blew towards some of the spectators, leaving what appeared to be Feng's most passionate fan hacking and staring daggers into the runner's back.  Feeling that glare 'Tokkuri' gave a dismissive snort, not that anyone would see at this point. 

 

With what she considered the most fun part of the course over and done with, the kirin moved along to the table of pies and with a swift motion of her tail brought each one onto her back. She knew that this wasn't going to be her best moment: She may have tried to carry herself with some grace back home, it was never something she felt she was inclined towards. She could already feel those pies starting to wobble on her back as she carefully marched along. She'd been raised to carry herself a certain way but her siblings were always so much better at it then she was... She could think of three of her siblings who could probably do this part of the course without batting an eye. Instead, 'Tokkuri' was here shakily weaving in between the poles. She had to freeze for a second on the first and seconds turns when she thought one of the pies was about to fall.

 

On the third turn she flinched as she felt her muzzle itch. She cursed the season in her mind before hurried made her way to end with all the pies still on her back... though the crusts on top of the two bottom pies seemed suffered some minor damage. With a small smile the kirin let out a sigh of relief, "Well. That wasn't as hard as I'd tha-HACHOO!" The sudden sneeze made the participant reflexively buck and then the pies went up into the air... and feel back down on her, rendering the contestant a bigger mess than before. 

At first she was speechless but she quickly licked off some Apple from her nose and shrugged, "Hm... Still tasty! Anyone have a towel?"

 

 

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**Post submitted for judging**

 

Nensho had really enjoyed watching Toboe’s run through this course, cheering on his childhood friend from the stands. All in all, this looked like it would be a fun time. As for now, he was stretching at the starting line, the okami disguised in his typical unicorn guise. 

 

“This next contestant is actually a good friend of the previous one.” The announcer said, waggling his eyebrows and earning a snort from Nensho. He may want that sometimes, but he doubted she felt that way and he didn’t want to ruin what they already had. “In any case, please welcome Nine-show Ha!” The announcer continued. Well, at least he was close. 

 

Once the starting flag was waved, he was off like a shot, quickly approaching the mud pit. Using his momentum, he took a running leap to skip a part of the mud, giving a laugh as he felt himself fall in. He had no qualms about getting down and dirty, and he had waded through plenty of mud in his time. One step at a time, he pushed himself forward until he trudged his way out of the mud. Figuring he had enough time, he took a moment to shake himself off like a dog before running to the next obstacle. 

 

He grinned as he came up on the barrels, immediately jumping up on one of the lower ones. Honestly, he barely saw this as a competition, it was just a fun time on an obstacle course. In his mind, he’d already won since he had the chance to do this with Toboe. Hopping from barrel to barrel was easy enough, though he might be toppling the tower one barrel at a time. That’d probably explain all the noise behind him, but at least it still seemed mostly intact ahead. Once he reached the top, he let out more laughter before jumping down in one leap and landing with a roll to reduce the impact. 

 

Now for the straight part. Really, giving a wolf a chance to run full-out? Nensho shot off, speeding down the track and panting. Running like this narrowed the world into what was straight ahead, so much so that he almost ran right past the table holding the pies. Thankfully though, he managed to skid to a stop next to the pies before plopping them on his back one by one. 

 

He moved off at a quick trot, not used to carrying things like this that he couldn’t just pick up again. His pace left the pies shaking on his back, almost falling off multiple times. Some quick adjustments and some swats from his tail managed to keep them up there though, and soon enough he was across the line. 

 

With the race done, he used his magic to pick up the pies and dig in to one of them. “Deeeelish! Compliments to the chef of these pies!” He laughed, looking over towards Toboe mischievously before launching a pie at her. Not too hard to hurt, obviously. “Tokkuri, catch!” He called out, heading over with the third pie for them to share. 

 

 

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Post submitted for judging
 
Smolder had been looking forward to this contest,this IRON PONY event ever since she saw an advert plastered allover the school bulletin board. And here she was.
 
A nearby sign reinstated what she had read before. There was no flying to be done, and since it technically be considered magic, no frying either. So onay eathingbray irefay as they would say. No worries. She was a mighty dragon. She bathed in lava. She was more than a match against dragons twice her size! She could do this!
 
After signing in at an nearby booth, she paused to watch her 'competition'. There were a few of those odd dragon-ish type ponies she had briefly heard about. There was Applebloom who was apparently a frequent contender at the yearly 'Sisterhooves Social' held in Ponyville. While the contest was similar, you had to team up with your sister. The young dragon only had a brother. Maybe she could convince him to dress a gal and they would totally OWN the contest and none would be the wiser!  She bet nobody else thought of such a scheme!
 
After the unicorn finished, it was now her turn! She could do this!
 
"Thanks!", a few pony volunteers stood by an offered small cups of water to competitors. She needed to be properly hydrated! After gulping the water down, she tossed the crumbled up cup into an nearby bin and readied herself at the starting line. Once a whistle was blown, she was off!
 
The first obstacle was the MUD PIT. This would be easy for her. She quickly dove into the muckity muck with a great big
 
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It was a little thicker than she had realized, but she could do it! She pushed through the mud with the ferocity and strength of the dragon-lord! Still, these were times she wished she wore clothing as the mud was starting to find its way into places she really wish would stay mud-free. This almost felt like the first time she took a lava-bath. Keep your eyes open just enough so you can see, but not enough where the nasty stuff gets in 'em. And she needed to keep her mouth closed. Thankfully it was over as quickly as it started.
 
Before joining the second round, she quickly shook off the excess mud.  She now had to face the dreaded barrels. This would also be easy peasy. First she needed to..."Paaaak!", she cursed in the old dragon tongue as she smashed into the first barrel. This was not going to win her any ribbons! Or trophies! Or whatever they were giving away! She needed to be strong, and steady. Watch out for the wobbly barrels. Claws made things a tad bit easier when it came to climbing. Still, she needed to make sure they didn't sink too far into the wood or she might get stuck! After her poor start, the dragon made it up the barrier and leaped from the top and landed with a grunt.
 
The third would probably be her least favorite. While she had lean, strong legs, she was nowhere near as fast as her four legged competition! If only she could run as fast as a pony! Poor Gallus would receive four times the noogies! Still, she needed to push herself, and that she did. She quickly scrambled down the track. Tail up. Feet in a circler groove, like if she was riding a bicycle! While she seriously doubted she broke any records, the dragon smiled as her feet hit the 'finish line' for this round.
 
The final round was a bit odd. Carrying pies while she had to weave between wooden poles. Also easy but wait. She had to hold them onto her back! Seriously? While it seemed more unique races of people were moving to Ponyville, this was still the old 'Iron Pony' contest. She would need to act like a pony for this round. After gathering up the required pies, she bent down a little and let the tasty bits of crust rest on her back. She wouldn't need to get on all fours, but this would be harder for her than most. And while she probably could have simply held the pies with her wings, that probably would be cheating.
 
As she made her way through the obstacles, it was obvious that the further she went through, the harder it was to dodge and weave through them while holding the pies. During this time, she remembered her little encounter with an colt named Valen Orange. He is a dancer. A ballet dancer. She needed to move just like him. Strong, but graceful. Like a swan holding her babies through a storm. Where did that image come from? Or a better image would be when she was younger. Her brother would carry her on his shoulders and together they would run through the jagged hills of the Dragon Country....He only dropped her....twice...
Spoiler

 

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She let a growl loose as she hit the final finish line. The pies were returned for further use, and it was time for another gulp of very chilly Ponyville water. There she could watch how the others would do....
 
 
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Sweetie Belle was really excited to try out this year's Iron Pony. She was a big pony now and didn't want to play in the small foal games they had set up. She had a lot to prove to mom, dad, her sister- everypony! She wanted to compete in the same type of events that her friends and the others would compete in! To prove to everypony far and wide that she wasn't some little filly anymore, but a young mare who could do anything she set her mind to. And today she set her mind to running the obstacle race first. It was gonna be a ton of fun and a good way to get her juices flowing for the rest of the day. Sure it may have been considered 'uncouth' by her sister, but she got over that years ago.

She approached the starting line with a wide, cocky, fake smile, one inherited from her love of stage acting. She had nothing but empty confidence and as she watched others run the course she had a sneaking suspicion that she had to start this sooner rather than later. Why hold it off? She knew what she was capable of and she knew she wanted to give it her all. It took her a few more seconds to pick up the pace and get to te starting line, taking several deep breaths as she did.

You can do this, you can do this, you can do this...

“Next competitor, Sweetie Belle of Ponyville!”

Oh Celestia I'm next, she thought to herself as the locals applauded for her. She was hopefully a crowd favorite what with recent events and all, but that didn't change the fact that a nest of butterflies seemed to sprout up from inside her. Her mind narrowed and focused on the race ahead as she pondered what she would do at each step. The mud run wasn't going to be that tough, she climbed stuff all the time so the barrels should be simple, running is running, and pies were...pies?

Okay, she had no plan for that.

The flag went down and she took off, her confidence vanishing even as she began a stern sprint towards the mud. Now that she came up to it she wasn't as certain about her ability to deal with the mud, let alone the rest. How easily was she swayed! But now there was no turning back. She was going to do it and she was going to conquer it, whether that fluttering of butterflies foretold of her own doom or not.

She could it! She knew she could do it!
She didn't think she could do it- oh why was she doing this alone? The Sisterhooves Social was so much more fun! Doing this with others instead of alone was so much more enriching, entertaining and made her feel-

-GLUP.
Sweetie Belle had been so lost in her moment or ten of panic that she had lost track of her positioning and fell into the mud face first. She was buried face deep in the mire for more than a few moments, moving her whole body in it until, after what felt like a minute, her top half burst forth and she took a deep breath. No way she was winning now, but at least she wasn't going to drown in mud. She tried to pull herself through it but it was slow going, her muscles not at all primed for this. She wasn't afraid of getting dirty like her sister but that didn't translate her into being strong like Apple Bloom or athletic like Scootaloo. That showed in time, as she struggled through the mud. In the time it took others to finish the course or nearly do so, she barely managed to pull her way through the mud. She got her hooves on the end of the pit and pulled herself out, grunting all the while before collapsing to the ground.

A few of the older ponies started to trot up to see if she was okay. She waved them off. "I'm- KAK- fine. I'm fine, really!" She yelled, her voice cracking at the end as she stood up. After a few more breaths she pushed forward, her muscles already tired from the stress.

Barrels, oh boy. She didn't have the energy to take them quickly so she very slowly climbed up on them, like a slug or snail slowly oozing its way forward. With big, heavy breaths she managed the distance, ascending to the top of the barrels and then over with guts, determination, and more than one stoppage as she tried to regain her breath. Luckily she was so lightweight and was moving so slowly that the wobbly barrels weren't very wobbly for her. With one small leap and a squeak, she landed on her hooves and tumbled, got back up, and started to sprint her way through the third obstacle...open grass. This was better but by now her muscles were very tired and very sore. She galloped at first but after a few moments slowed to a canter, then a trot, as the muddy and tired filly was absolutely exhausted by her ordeal.

She finally reached the pie portion and mechanically followed suit with the others, placing the pies on her back and slowly weaving through the poles. She was so tired and beat at this stage that she barely even noticed one pie fall off of her and smack into the ground with a sickening sound. She finally trudged across the finish line and promptly fell down, the thick mud making a spork sound as she oozed into the ground.

“Apple....Bloom...I'll....leave this...to...you....” she said through panted breaths. Meanwhile, the scores went up for those who had run so far.


Boulder Dash- 0:47.9 seconds
Feng Yinhaitao- 0:46 seconds
Tokkuri- 0:48.5 seconds
Apple Bloom- 0:51.5 seconds
Nensho- 0:49 seconds
Smolder- 0:53.1 seconds
Sweetie Belle- 2:19.4

 

(OOC-So far, every post has been super great! Lots of fun, everypony! :)

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*Post submitted for judging*

 

Stage Lights stood with Thunderhoof watching the other ponies compete. "I'll bet you do great on that one, Hoof."  Stage suggested watching somepony trudging through the mud.

Thunderhoof frowned and pointed at the barrels. "I am sure you could figure that out. You are a lot smarter than you give yourself credit, Hoof. Just try it, okay?" 

Thunderhoof gave a  heavy sigh and looked worriedly at Stage.

"Let us make a deal." Stage offered "If you compete and do your very best, I shall do the same."

 Hoof laughed, soundlessly, at the thought of Stage Lights going through an obstacle course. Especially with mud. He held up a hoof. "That's the spirit!" Stage laughed and hoof bumped him. "I'll wait here, you show me how it is done, yes?" Hoof nodded and laughed again at the image in his mind of Stage trying to wade through the mud while keeping as dry as possible.

 

Thunderhoof sort of half walked half stomped up to the starting line, making the ground shake with each step. He tried to look intimidating and tough, which wasn't that hard for him, given his stature and the large scar on his neck. Tho it was unnatural. He stared down the mud with determination as he waited for the flag, flaring his nostrils noisily.

 

When the flag waved, Thunderhoof stood there for a moment, still glowering at the mud pit, seemingly unaware he'd been signaled to start. The flag pony waved the flag again, and this time Hoof noticed and began barreling down the track. His big long legs made the journey in no time flat before he splashed into the mud. Not slowing down, he ran through the mud like it wasn't even there, his thick tree trunk legs powering through the slop with impunity. It didn't hurt that he was so big, the mud barely went over his belly. He quickly made his way to the other end without issue. "Just like any Tuesday afternoon pulling the caravan." he thought to himself, proud of his physical prowess.

 

After making short work of the mud pit, he felt a sense of pride like he could do anything. He devoured the distance between himself and the second obstacle ready for whatever it could throw at him. Then he stopped. It was the wall of barrels. He looked up to the top. He didn't like heights. He thought very briefly about simply knocking over the wall with his brute strength. He could probably do it easily enough, but he decided against it. Stage hated it when he broke things. He lifted a hoof up and placed it on a barrel "I guess I have to...." he mused silently to himself.

The barrels were easy enough for him to climb. They were practically like stairs to him. But this stack was unstable, and the barrels seemed like they weren't equipped to handle his weight. He put his weight on his hoof and put another hoof up on the next barrel. "so far so good." he thought. He brought his hind hoof up and placed it on a barrel, which immediately imploded under his weight. Thunderhoof panicked and scrambled to find footing. His hoof landed so that it was sitting on the walls of two barrels side by side. That seemed to work. It held his weight fine. He smiled and began to climb a bit faster. Still shaking from the height. He reached the top and slowly turned around to climb back down backward. When he finally had all four hooves on solid ground, he breathed in relief. A moment later, he realised he wasn't done yet.

 

In a sudden burst of energy he sprinted thunderously down the straightaway closing the distance with ease with his long gait. When he arrived at the final obstacle, he smiled. Many ponies assumed that because he was big, he must be clumsy. Or at least not very nimble. Au Contraire, my good friends, for he'd been taught, by fellow traveller Madame Cue one of the actors of Tour d'Equestria, "Proper Posture"  or whatever she called it. As far as Hoof's concerned it was "How to balance more things on my back so I can be more helpful" In any case, he knew the key was to go slower than he wants to. He picked up the pies in his hoof and carefully placed them on his back. Then he walked carefully with his head held high looking rather posh, if you ask him. But really just kind of ridiculous. Slightly faster than a walk, but slower than a trot. The pies wobbled slightly as he walked, and he thought "I've got this" and as he neared the finish line, he began to speed up a little. The pies wobbled more precariously, but he didn't notice, he was focused on the goal. He crossed the finish line, and stood on his hind legs giving a silent celebratory "WHOO!" type motion. Before he turned around and saw every pie on the ground. He physically quieted down. Looked at Stage and pointed sadly at the pies then the finish line.

 

Stage, who'd been laughing at the display, cleared his throat and said "He wants to know if still counts since he crossed the finish line first." Hoof gave him an "And?" look "And he's sorry he smashed your pies."

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*This post is submitted for judging*

 

“Dreadful.” Tempest mutters under her breath. Well this was all fun and games she can’t help but place judgement on others. Getting off her haunches she approached the starting line. As she walked she leaned her head down to start undoing her armor… Piece by piece fell off with a hearty thump and by the time she was standing at the starting line all she had on was her skin tight jumpsuit. 

 

“Our next… um, contestant is Tempest Shadow from… nowhere!”

 

Tempest rolls her eyes and digs her hooves in dirt, tail flicking and nose flaring as she takes in a few deep breaths and counted down in her head. Three. Two. one. The ground rips up underneath her powerful legs in a shower of dirt. First up was the mud. Long, deep and wide. Easy, picking up as much speed as she can Tempsit pushed off in to a long leap clearing a healthy chunk of the mud. Aiming her legs out she straightened herself as much as she can on contact. Her momentum did the rest as she slid across the mud. Soon as she slowed down she pushed her legs down and crawled the last few feet and out of the mud and on to dry land. 

 

She did not waste a moment, soon as her hooves were on dry earth she was off for the barrels. Without slowing down she leaps halfway up the stack. Soon as her front legs made contact her rear legs slammed down as she leaps over the top of the barrel stack with a spin just for more flair. Landing on her front hooves she pushed off and pulled a backflip landing on all four hooves. No sooner did she land she pushed off in a full dash.

 

The long straight stretch was nothing for her. She ran every morning in full kit for the fun of it. Without that slowing her down and with a race in her mind Tempest was almost flying across the dirt trail with her bounding sprint as sweat drips down her body and lungs panting for breath yet a smile was big on her face. This was joy, this was love. Pushing herself to the breaking point and well past made so much melt away. Worry. Pain. loss. This was freedom and she was going to win… Not for a prize or for glory but for the sake of winning for herself. 

 

The fourth obstacle was… Something she was less used to. Sliding to a stop she panted hard staring at the three pies on a table. Her body was shaking, she did not want to slow down but she needed to. With her mind racing she grabbed the pies, stacking all three on top of one another before picking up the bottom pie in her muzzle by the rim. Trotting down the path she weaved between the wooden poles doing her best to balance the pies held by her muzzle.

 

 While it let her watch them and keep it more steady in the heat of the moment she forgot the pies were meant to be balanced on her back, not held in her muzzle. Passing the last wooden pole she puts the pies down and panted like a racehorse. After catching her breath Tempest looked up smiling. “That’s how it's done.” She remarked before walking back to the start of the race to pick up all her gear. Soon as she picked it all up she moved off the course to get water and rest.

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((Side Note: He does speak French to himself a lot. Mostly for phrases that you don't necessarily need to know. For any interested in translations, I will be including them as an aside at the end))

 

As Thunderhoof returned to Stage, he looked happy. "Somepony is in a good mood."  Stage commented "Did you have fun?"

Hoof pointed excitedly at the barrel wall. "Yes, I certainly did see that." Stage acknowledged "You figured it out all on your own. I told you you would, no? When have I been wrong about anypony's potential?"  He winked. He laughed and hoof-bumped Thunderhoof as he walked by "The way you powered through that mud pit was nothing short of awe-inspiring, my friend. You are really something else."  Hoof waved his hoof dismissingly and then gestured to the pies "Yes,"  Stage Lights started "There was that one mishap. An accident, clean and simple. I'm sure the judge ponies will give you some slack for it, don't worry." He comforted "Besides, what is important is that we are having fun, no?"  Hoof smiled and nodded.

Then he got a look in his eye.

"What? Have I said something silly, again? I know my ponish is not always the best, but I thou-" Hoof shook his head then pointed at Stage Lights. "Is my mane undone?" He checked his curls. He shook his head again, pointed at Stage, then the obstacle course.

Realization hit Stage and he remembered "Oh." he said, wide eyed "Yes. Right. I did make you a promise, did I not." He looked at the mud pit and shuddered in horror.

"For you, Hoof, I shall wade through the filth. You have show me strength of character, and I do not let it go unnotice. I make you a promise, and I will do it." He gave a bow and headed off to the registration table almost tripping over a random piece of armor somepony had left lying on the ground.

 

"Put me on your list as 'Stage Lights' s'il vous plaît." he requested of the pony at the registration table. Then he interjected "Um.... would it, mayhaps, be too much to ask if I could cast a teeny tiny spell to keep my freshly washed mane, tail and coat clean?"

The pony shook his head "Sorry, sir, I'm afraid no magic is allowed. If you want to do the course, you'll have to get dirty."

"C'est naze!" he fumed. Then he breathed a long deep breath to calm himself "C'est la vie. It is all right. I will manage." he assured, more to himself than the other. The pony informed him he was next, and pointed him to the starting line.

 

Stage stood at the starting line, not exactly looking forward to the obstacle course. But he made a promise, and he'll be darned if he wasn't going to keep it. "Maybe next time I should keep my big mouth shut." he thought to himself. "Non, I cannot allow a friend's potential to go unseen. If he learned about himself, it will all be worth it." he breathed and prepared himself, saying quietly "Allez, je me jette à l'eau.... ou la boue."

 

At his signal, he trotted up to the first obstacle, braced himself with an "Allons-y" and jumped in the mud.

 

Unfortunately, jumping wasn't the best course of action. He'd splashed the muck so that it covered his entire body. He coughed the stuff out of his throat and began to push forward. He wasn't sure, earlier, about how difficult it would be, but now, he was painfully aware. He slowly pressed forward, straining against the thick sludge. Certainly not an activity he was familiar with. He wondered if there was some trick to make it easier. He tried picking up his hooves higher to make less traction against the mud. That seemed to help a little, as he began to move slightly faster. After a time that seemed an eternity later, he finally reached the end, and pulled himself out.

He stood and took a moment to catch his breath. He shook as much of the mud as he could off, "I will have to have a wash, later..." he mused to himself.

Then he began trotting faster toward the barrel wall. He should do fairly ok on this one. He sort of hopped up barrel to barrel until he made it to the top. The barrel wobbled slightly under his momentum, but it was quickly righted. Then he hopped back down. He looked back, thinking he did rather well considering he'd never done this before.

 

He turned to the next task. The long stretch of running track. He didn't do much physical activity, so he wasn't the fittest or the fastest, but he could run if he needed to. He decided he'd imagine being chased by something frightening to give himself a bit of a boost. He began to gallop wildly toward the next obstacle. Not the fastest, or even impressive, by any means, but a respectable effort.

 

He made it to the final obstacle, and smiled at the pies. He knew he'd do well on this one. He prided himself on his poise and sense of balance. He quickly placed the pies on his back, and trotted swiftly around the poles, the pies moving only the slightest amount as he continued. When he finished, he placed them gently on the table, and quickly trotted toward his friend who'd been unable to stop laughing since he'd plunged into the mud.

 

Stage attempted to maintain an air of dignity as he tried to pull the mud out of his mane with his magic. He put a hoof on his curls and held back a whimper. He'll have to take several baths to get all this muck out, and those curls don't come easy.

 

((Translations:

s'il vous plaît = Please

c'est naze = that's stupid

c'est la vie = that's life (oh well, not much I can do about that)

allez, je ma jette à l'eau = I throw myself in the water (it's a phrase that essentially means something like "what have I got to lose?") Then he jokes that's its not water, but mud. "ou la boue" means "or the mud"

Allons-y = Let's go!))

 

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*Submitted for Judging*

 

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Who'd think little grumpy Alizarin Fruits would compete in something as foolish as this? A competition wasn't her forte. Really anything wasn't her forte. Getting muddy and running with her little short hooves wasn't something she was really fond of. Her papa, though, would non-stop tell her to get off the farm for once and have some fun. Of course the snooty mare did what her father suggested, just to make him a happy ol' stallion. He's also goes on and on about doing these things when he was a colt, but that's besides the point. 

 

The midget of a mare watched all the other competitors with a grumpy eye and a scrunched up nose. They were either really fast, really strong, or both. Ali was none of the above. Well, she was strong, for a short farm pony. Her confidence was low for this kind of thing, so she just gave everypony the stank eye and looked as intimidating as possible so no pony gave her any confrontation. She would really scold somepony if they tried to talk to her. Ali was scary when she was mad.

 

The splotched pony's ear twitched when she heard her name on the speakers. "And next up from the outskirts of Ponyville, Alizarin Fruits!" Immediately the mare scoffed, grumbling who knows what underneath her breath like a foal who didn't get the toy they wanted on Hearth's Warming. The negative pony took her good 'ol time walking to the starting line, getting into a starting position as the flag raised, which flashed down faster than a Pegasus performing a Sonic Rainboom. 

 

To prove for her father she's actually good at athletics, the mare's hooves galloped faster than lightening. The little farm pony flew across the dirt like nothing, soon appearing to come across the first obstacle: the mud pit.

 

All Ali knew was that the mud was deep, and thick, something a little pony with short legs couldn't get through without a fight. Mud wasn't anything knew to the farm horse, but the feeling of it wasn't so soothing. Ali couldn't just walk through it, but she could certainly hop across it. Was that cheating? Maybe, but she trekked her way across the pit with no problem with her strong legs. And yes, she looked like a jackrabbit trying to hop out of quicksand, but it was really entertaining to watch. 

 

Soon she found herself out of the pit, her hooves covered in mud, which felt sticky and uncomfortable, but now her mindset was right on the money with this competition. Coming up fast was the stacks of barrels, the second part of the obstacle course. Her stumpy legs were tired from hopping across the mud, but they still had some juice left to hop onto the shortest stack and keep jumping up on the next like an annual rodeo her and her papa would go and watch. She had to take her time with the barrels, as her little legs could only push her up so high. She was tired, but her stubborn nature took over as determination made her power through all the wobbly barrels. Good thing she didn't weight much, or she'd topple over, but her patience and balance gave her the long end of the stick, and she flew over the top and landed back onto the ground. 

 

The third leg would be the easiest for her, yet the hardest, as her legs were wobbly from the last two obstacles. Ali had enough endurance to keep sprinting, as her head hung low and she powered through the long stretch of land. "C'mon 'ol legs, get kickin'!" she told herself, as she focused on the last stretch to reach the final leg. The mare was exhausted, yet quick, and faster than she thought possible.

 

The final stretch was here, and it seemed way more relaxed than the others. The mare's legs could catch a break, and her patience and balance can come back into play again. Thank Celestia. The only problem was, Ali's back was too small to fit three pies on there. "Aw, shoot!" With a quick thought, she tossed two pies on her back, and one on her head, and she carefully, yet quickly, weaved her way around the poles, making sure the precious, yet fragile pies didn't drop to the ground. She knew for a fact dropping these pies would make her feel guilty, a feeling she never feels. She knew how much dedication a yummy loved pie took to bake. It would be devastating to drop one. 

 

Quickly enough, though, the mare crossed the finish line, not only proud for finishing, but proud of herself from how quick she was. "Guess short lil’ farm ponies are meant for runnin' through dirt." With that, she sat down to catch her rapid breath. 

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The next few runners all displayed some unique styles. Thunderhoof was fast and powerful, though not as graceful as may be desired- he was not docked seconds for dropping the pies as he had dropped them right after finishing! Tempest Shadow blazed through the course and would have won...but she didn't carry the pies on her back. She carried them in a muzzle! It wasn't a disqualifier, but a second was added to her time. More recent times were added and went up, with time almost over for the event!

 

Thunderhoof: 50.3 seconds
Alizarin Fruit: 49.1 seconds
Stage Lights: 52.0 seconds
Tempest Shadow: 46.9 seconds

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