The term "Smarty fluffy" can refer to two different types of fluffies, either a Smarty Friend or a fluffy with Smarty syndrome. A Smarty Friend is a leader of a herd of feral fluffies, while a fluffy with Smarty syndrome is a megalomanical sociopath. Although a fluffy with Smarty syndrome can become a smarty friend, especially in a herd consisting of first generation strays, an effective Smarty Friend rarely has smarty syndrome, and many fluffies with Smarty syndrome are lone strays or even domestics.
Most feral fluffy pony herds have a so called "Smawty Fwend", commonly shortened to "smawty". Because fluffy ponies are naive creatures and not designed to be independent of humans, they normally are uncertain about what they must do to survive on their own. Thus, they follow the most assertive fluffy (generally a male) to decide on a course of action, believing that self-confident fluffy to be a very smart friend (hence the name). However, the smarty is not necessarily more intelligent than ordinary fluffies. Any fluffy can take up the role of a leader and call itself a smarty friend. In most cases, the smarty is a unicorn fluffy, because their distinct horn can be seen as a symbol for leadership and intelligence. If there is more than one fluffy trying to become a smarty in a herd, they will often fight it out until one of them is victorious. The remaining, surviving smarties in the herd must then stop calling themselves smarty, and may be banished or killed.
A Smarty Friend's Role in the HerdEdit
The smarty acts as the herd's leader. His main responsibilities are keeping the herd safe, fed and comfortable. It is the Smarty Friend that decides where the herd goes, where to build nests, which fluffies are welcomed into the herd or banished from it, which herd members are allowed to join the fluffpile, and other matters. Male smarties may exert their privilege to mate first with any mares, and will sometimes be the only stallion allowed to sire any offspring, forcing other stallions to satisfy their sexual urges with so-called "enfie babbehs", or a male at the bottom of the herd's hierarchy.
Smarty Friend don't hold absolute power. If a herd is unsatisfied with their smarty's performance and leadership, they can rebel against it. This can lead to the smarty being dethroned or killed. If the smarty survives the uprising, it will either be banished or join the bottom of the herd's hierarchy. Such demotion may include the smarty to barely receive any food, never be allowed to mate or join the fluffpile. A new smarty will then lead the herd, which is generally the instigator of the uprising.
Smarty behavior Edit
A common trait for smarties is to puff up their cheeks and stick out their chests to make themselves look bigger and more intimidating. Drunk with the power of leadership, many smarties tend to become tyrannical, demanding and aggressive fluffies who abuse their position. They can usually be described as greedy and selfish creatures that always ensure they get their fill of any food or water sources first before the rest of the herd is allowed. Kind and selfless smarties that prioritize the well-being of the herd are rare but not unheard of. Smarties believe that everything they say or do is a smart thing, ergo, the right thing. Once a smarty has decided something, it is near impossible for another fluffy to change the leader's mind. Similar to a tyrant, the bad smarties threaten, beat or even kill any fluffy that disobeys or questions their authority. When it comes to punishing mares, the smarty may choose to injure, rape or kill her foals instead. If there is not much food around, the smarty may even eat the foals. Exceptionally cruel smarties can rape, kill and eat foals for no reason at all, stating "Smawty does what Smawty wants" as a sign of their superiority.
In many herds, a smarty is supported by a posse of loyal enforcers helping the smarty to carry out its edicts, act as its bodyguards, and keep control over the herd, the so-called 'toughie friends'. These toughies are also given special privileges like a desirable mate, more food, comfortable nests and the opportunity to bully and harm weaker fluffies. Often, most usurpers to the position of the smarty friend come from the ranks of toughie friends. However, most Toughie Friends as earth ponies, while most Smarties are unicorns.
Inexperienced Smarty Friends will sometimes lead the herd to human settlements, such as a house lawn. There, the smarty will demand that the humans give fluffies food and leave the area, because it is now a "smarty land". If the humans don't obey, the smarty will threaten them with "biggest owies" (injury) and "sowwy poopies" (defecation). The smarty will vastly underestimate the humans, and thus the result will typically be that the smarty and the herd are either chased away or killed. Rarely do humans comply to the smartie's demand of food, because most fluffy herds are regarded as vermin. If the human can kill or wound the smarty, the rest of the herd will quickly become disorganized from fear and confusion. Experienced, or more intelligent smarties will tend to avoid human contact. However, because of observation bias, humans typically interact with sociopathic lawn-invading Smarty Friends.
Smarty syndrome is a glitch in the fluffy behavior programming. The reasons why their behavior was considered a glitch was because fluffies with smarty syndrome were generally born with the personality and often called themselves smarty well into foalhood, even if they never heard the term and before they were properly named. While normal fluffies were friendly, docile, generally obedient and hated conflict, smarties were the opposite in every way making them aggressive, mean and extremely stubborn and loved making conflicts about even the slightest thing. They were and sometimes still are so stubborn, even if they know their behavior is going to get them killed by a human, they will continue defying any form of authority for the sake of being contrary.
Smarty foals arise because of either Smarty syndrome or a lack of supervision, such as foals that are kept without an adult fluffy present. Additionally, a mare that is micromanaged or abused by her owner may become hesitant to punish her own offspring, resulting in bratty foals. Among ferals, any self-proclaimed "smarty babbeh" is quickly put in his place by the real smarty friend.
Some sources assert that smarty foals are linked to foal favoritism, called "bestes' babbehism" in universe. However, that is more of an opinion than a trope. There are very few stories in which a bestes' babbeh grows up to actually lead a herd. Additionally, Smarties are generally unicorns and almost always male, while bestes' babbehs are of both genders and all three races. Therefore, only 1 bestes' babbeh out of 6 could become a Smarty Friend. Although some mares do so favoritism, no mare would allow her own nursing foal to boss her around, regardless of how pretty it is.
Fluffy pony foals that display so called "smarty behavior" at small and private or large and industrialized breeding facilities can be strictly disciplined until they become more obedient and less unruly. This costs time and resources, however, and most breeders prefer to simply kill and replace them, unless the foals happen to have exotic and valuable colors or traits that may make them worth retraining. Foals and adults with Smarty syndrome are difficult to sell due to their bratty and demanding behavior. Some abusers however prefer to target smarties just because of that.
Confounding Smarty Friends with Smarty SyndromeEdit
While the term "Smarty" is used for both Smarty Friends and fluffies with Smarty Syndrome, authors should always maintain the mental distinction between the two ideas. While the Smarty friend needs to be assertive and even outright aggressive, he must also be restrained enough to bide his time until he can assume leadership and amass followers. A herd consisting of recently abandoned domestics will often appoint whichever fluffy is the loudest and most aggressive as the leader. However, natural selection will cause the herds to tend toward better leadership. The smarty of long established herd will still be loud and violent, and often even self-centered, but would be intelligent enough to look out for the welfare of the herd for his own self-interest.