Welcome to the forum. Here's 2 cents from an old (55+) man...
Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should look into, where I could go to get some hands on experience with horses before making the commitment or some really good articles to read?
When we started with horses, we got experience at a long time (40+ years) breeder/trainer's ranch down the road. We found that they were a lot more experienced, practical, and not partial to 'fads' than many of the younger folks in boarding stables.
I am trying to educate myself on breeds, good ages for riding horses, care...
We are partial to the stock horses (Paints, QH, Appys). All our Paint mares (6-16 yrs old) are good, sane, pleasure trail horses. In general if you want an experienced, bomb proof horse, you're probably looking at a 10+ year old horse, but you need to look at the history and disposition, too. Our lead mare (16 yr) was a cattle penning horse and is the most calm, willing horse I've ever ridden... we were lucky to get her. Are two younger ones will get there...they just need more miles under saddle.
... and of course; costs.
I've read that if you don't have at least 12 hours a week to devote to care and bonding with your horse that you shouldn't really think about it. I've also read that a good rule of thumb for cost (which could vary I realize) is around $10k a year? That article was based a lot on livery services so I'm not sure how much that changes if you house them yourself.
We looked for 'low maintenance' horses. I always tell people to look at what they eat and how their feet are. Those can be two of the biggest expense differences between horses. All our mares eat free choice grass/hay (no grain) and are barefoot, and since we keep them at home, our average total cost (including everything...hay, vet, shots, worming, etc) is about $6/day/horse.... much cheaper than children
Good luck. We've found having horses to be a wonderful experience.