Search for AQHA regional clubs in those states, and contact some people about finding a trainer. Even if you don't intend to keep a horse with them full time, it's great to have an extra set of eyes. Plus then you have someone you can build a relationship with for help along the way, and a group you could stall with at the horse shows. Pleasurehorse, as suggested earlier is a good resource as well. As far as tack and clothing, there's always lots of options. Buy the best you can with your money, even if it means going used! You can cruise photography websites (kirkbride, finnegean) to check out what people are wearing.