This site features a detailed description (and photo) of a 5th or 6th century statue of horse and rider found in an old tomb in South Korea. Take a look at the detailed tack and clothing on the statue pictured there. The statue is considered a national treasure.
Aha! I've been looking for an illustration of these traditional horse shoes for a long time. I read about them in an old travel guide describing Japan (I have lost the reference). It described how on long mountain roads there were men every few miles selling woven horse shoes. The shoes were more like the rubber boots some horses wear today. They were woven of reeds, and tied over the hoof. They cushioned the hoof from rocks, but wore out very quickly. However, they were relatively cheap, so one could stop every few miles and buy a new pair if needed.
Here is a wonderful old photo from Okinawa Soba's photostream. It is a digital image from a very old slide, dating back to around 1890. Visit the flickr page to read more about the image, and to see a few more old images of horses in Japan, each with a nice long description and explanation.
A recent issue of the Atlantic Monthly magazine had a short article about the popularity of American style cowboy culture in Thailand. Can't say I ever expected to hear of cowboys rounding up cattle in Thailand! The article says in part:
Thailand’s northeast, the center of the country’s cattle industry, has
long been home to Wild West fans. During the Vietnam war, GIs in
Thailand (where the U.S. had enormous air bases) brought their Clint
Eastwood photos, Ennio Morricone albums, and taste for steak and
burgers to the region, and the cowboy culture took hold. To the locals,
the sun-baked cornfields of the northeast are kin to the decaying
plains and mesas portrayed in Western films, and their traditional
music—all jangly guitars and wailing songs of loss—could fit right in
at a Tucson bar. (link)
Dude ranches in the area now attract tourists both Thai and foreign. Check out the video slideshow here. Or read the full article here.
The horses at this Japanese archery festival are not particularly ornamented, but the deerskin chaps worn by the archers are quite interesting! There are many more photos from this event - follow the flickr link.
This fancy costume is being used by a rider in the Tokugawa Ieyasu Parade in Japan, part of a festival to celebrate a famous shogun by that name. I wish we could see more of the woven and fringed red breast and rump ornaments on the horse. I may be wrong, but the rider appears to have a stiff protective covering on his lower leg - a sort of shin guard. The stirrups are shoe-shaped, enclosing the whole front of the rider's foot.