I love photography and would have loved to be an equine photographer, however I missed that bandwagon by a few years... I am currently broke so my dream of having a super good SLR camera is being put off for a while. I would definately say that if you have the opportunity, learn film photography. developing your own film and printing your own shots in a darkroom really gives you a good understanding of how light/setting etc. effects your shots, and you can get the exact effect you want by tweaking the exposure or employing special techniques. One of my favourites was infra-red film + red filter. Made for some awesome shots. Also had a lot of fun playing around with solarising, but was never much good at it! Printing colour shots yourself takes forever but it is so satisfying when you finally get the colour balance right, and also helps you understand the balances of Magenta, yellow and Cyan. Learning about framing is also very useful, a good frame can really finish off a good print. Took me forever to get the hang of cutting proper framing matt with bevelled edges, but once you get it it looks amazing.
Really just get out there and take lots of photos! Research other photographers and decide what sort of styles you like/works for you and see if you can adopt some of their principles into your work. Try different things, always look for unusual angles/viewpoints, look up the rule of thirds/vantage point/Depth of field/Shutter speed effects/tips and try it all out. You learn and find your own style by doing, so get on and do it :]
Good luck! I miss SLR and film photography terribly, but I will just have to stick with my little digital for now!