You sound just like me. I wanted to go big! I read all I could! But... Ride horses first.
The thing is, a lot of people, farther up the line even, decide horses weren't exactly what they expected, and bail. Some people enjoy it, but realize it's not THE THING they want to do. That happened with a friend I knew. She bought a horse after about... 20-30 two hour lessons. Then she decided ''nope''. That horse was carted away faster then you'd believe, because OWNING a horse, and TAKING CARE OF ONE / RIDING ONE is different.
And some people quit because they can't manage that, but that usually doesn't happen.
you can tell right away, normally~!
Unfortunately, we don't usually learn as fast and well as we'd like. So don't beat yourself up if it's not as easy as you'd expect, or you don't make the Olympics. I mean, the team is a handful of people, how many people do you think try? It's sounds a little mean, but, hear me out.
As for age is you DO wanna go along, a sturdy, older horse is a good way to go! Buying a two-year-old is not the best plan, unless you have a lot of experience under your belt.
I'd think starting out with a lease would be good.
As for me, I want(ed) a lot of the same things. :) I used to wanna do Olympics, but it's such a life sapper... I'd rather not want to be a celebrity or constantly work off my *** thank you. :)
I want a first horse, too, though. I've been doing the care for a neighbor as a test, as well as already riding, and I think it fits me well. :) I was a bit concerned last year about college, but I've determined I'm going to a equestrian college with board.
I want a big horse though! :o Maybe a Gypsy or a Perch. Very expensive though, and I can't convince my parents to let me! Haha!