It's interesting to see which breeds of horses were widely known in past times. Looking at show programs or books about horse breeds from past decades (or centuries) reveals which breeds were popular or recognized then, and it's often quite different from today.
The map pictured was issued in 1934.
The breeds described are (from bottom center, moving clockwise):
Here's a cool website with a very complete listing of Italian horse breeds. The breeds are listed in the menu on the left side. Clicking each will give you a description (in Italian, of course) [update: a reader points out this listing is now available in english at this link] and photos (usually towards the bottom of the page). There is quite a diversity, from mountain ponies to saddle horses and draft horses. Many of the saddle horses derive from combinations of Iberian, Arabian and Thoroughbred blood. Worth a browse, even if you don't speak Italian.
These ponies - on second glance, those look an awful lot like mules! - in Nepal are wearing enormous woolly red and white plumes. The banners on their foreheads appear to have Buddhist religious symbols on them, as best I can see, which would probably be for good luck.
I notice they are all wearing muzzles - probably to prevent them eating while working.
Here is a sweet one - a (possibly quite tall!) man on a wee mountain pony, toodling along without even a bridle! Judging by the heavy shawl around the man's shoulders, it must be quite cool in the mountains.
Scurry racing is particularly popular in the UK. It is a high-speed competition in which drivers direct teams of ponies through an obstacle course of cones, trying not to hit any cones while going as fast as possible. The navigator on the back of the vehicle uses his or her weight to keep the carriage from flipping over in the tight turns. It takes quick thinking on the part of the driver to follow the course accurately. More excitement than I could handle!
Louise Firouz, an American woman who discovered and promoted the rare Caspian Pony, has died. Caspian Ponies, genetically linked to the Arabian horse, are a native Iranian breed. Firouz discovered them while traveling there, and exported some to Europe and the US. Already rare in Iran, they were decimated in their homeland during the revolution and subsequent wars. Despite the upheavals there, Firouz (who had married an Iranian man) lived most of her life on a farm near Turkmenistan.
What a sweet photo of four Fjord ponies pulling a sled in Canada. Fjords are a stocky draft-type horse (or pony - they are short in stature, but due to their strength are often referred to as horses). Their distinctive dorsal stripe is traditionally shown off by trimming the mane to stand up, so the black stripe is clearly visible. Originating in Norway, the Fjord is now quite popular throughout the US and Europe, both as a driving or draft animal and for pleasure riding.
This dun-colored pony has the stocky build and low-set neck typical of the mountain ponies of the Himalayas and Mongolia. The cheerful red bridle and multicolored saddle cloths are delightful. Like other Himalayan area bridles, this one is made of woven fabric, not leather.