I'm 19 years old and decided I want to begin my first relationship with a horse <3 (I know I'm a little late in the game, but I think it's the perfect time for me to do this, since my only obligation taking up time is work and my only expense is my truck insurance and gas). When I was a child and my parents were married, my dad asked my mom one day what she wanted for their anniversary; she said she wanted to go horseback riding. So he went and bought her a horse. She grew up in Southwest Detroit, so I'll let you imagine her initial reaction.
I was absolutely smitten with Rounder until we had to put him down. </3
I'm looking for advice on what to know and buy before I buy a friend of my own later this year. I live out in the country, so there's a lot of barns nearby where I can board him/her. But what are some things I should look for in a barn (besides budget, hours, references, and hygiene)?
I have a friend who has been riding for as long as she can remember offering to give me lessons, so that's covered.
About how much should I aim to have saved up before starting this lifestyle? A couple thousand, in addition to how much I'm willing to spend on the horse? Of course I make enough to cover monthly costs, I'd just like to have a cushion behind me to make it more comfortable, you know?
Obviously I'll want an older, experienced horse. I've read that geldings are generally best for less-experienced riders, is this true? What breeds would you recommend for a "green" rider interested in Western?
I would loveeeeee any help y'all can offer. Thank you so much :)