The Cutie Mark Crusaders (or CMC for short) is a club consisting of Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle formed in "Call of the Cutie", with Babs Seed, Gabby and Lilymoon joining throughout the following seasons, and Imp joining in the IDW comics' My Little Pony Micro-Series Issue #7.
Their unity is based on mostly being "blank flanks", ponies who have not yet gotten their cutie marks; Imp, rather than being a blank flank pony, is a Mimicker who has not yet settled on one form. Each of the founding three fillies represents a different race, with Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle being an earth pony, a Pegasus, and a unicorn respectively. Starting at the end of "One Bad Apple", Babs Seed, Apple Bloom's cousin from Manehattan, joins them and says she will start a Manehattan branch of the CMC. In Micro-Series Issue #7, a Greater Equestrian Mimicker (Globulus Improbulus) to whom Scootaloo gives the name "Imp" joins them but is later taken back home. The exploits of the Cutie Mark Crusaders are featured in several episodes in the series.
In "Crusaders of the Lost Mark", the Crusaders assist Pipsqueak when he runs for class president against Diamond Tiara. After Diamond Tiara loses the election, they learn that she acts the way she does because of the high standards imposed by her mother Spoiled Rich. The Crusaders reach out to Diamond Tiara in friendship, and it is through their help that Diamond Tiara finally stands up to her overbearing mother. The Crusaders come to realize that helping others discover their true talents is more important than realizing their own. With this revelation, the three finally gain their cutie marks. While they all have shields, they also have different symbols. Gabby the griffon and Lilymoon also become part of the CMC.
- The Cutie Mark Crusaders are the second group of main characters in the My Little Pony Friendship is Magic series, after the Mane Six. They are also the second protagonists to have a radical change of image (in their case, getting their cutie marks in "Crusaders of the Lost Mark"), after Twilight Sparkle who became an alicorn in the Season 3 finale "Magical Mystery Cure".