The toy line made its official start in 1982 as a set of six earth ponies named Butterscotch, Blue Belle, Minty, Snuzzle, Cotton Candy, and Blossom. They were considerably smaller than the original Pretty Pony, and were easily characterized by by their silk-like manes which were brushable, and by their flank symbols. They were sold with flat feet, wih imprint of their manufacturing more visible on the bottom of the hoof.
The setting for G1 MLP is called Dream Valley.
They're pictured below. Credit to Tulagirl for supplying the below image.
|From Left to Right:|
Blue Belle, Minty, Blossom, Butterscotch, Cotton Candy, and Snuzzle.
Unicorns and pegasi wouldn't get introduced until Year Two, which premiered in 1983. Over time, they, along with flutterponies, sea ponies, baby ponies, the Big Brother Ponies, and other varieties throughout Gen 1.
Complete List of "Breeds" of G1 Ponies:
Credit goes to my sister for having a webcam to take these images of her collection with and a willingness to participate.
Other kinds, like "Princess Ponies" or "Sparkle Eyed", or "So Soft Ponies" would be added, but those were always one of the above with an added feature.
My Little Pony, Generation One, would continue to be sold in the U.S. until 1992, but the toy line endured for another three years until 1995 in Europe. '92 was advertised as a "Celebration Year".
Generation 2 premiered in 1997, a whooping five years after G1 ended int he U.S. A handful of animated adaptations were made of the toy line in the 80s and early 90s.
Next Lesson: My Little Pony G1 Animated Features