Learning how to ride a horse with safely must be your first goal no matter what type of riding or goals you are planning to reach. Learning how to horseback riding must be done with the help of of a qualified instructor first. Equestrian books or videos can be a useful source of information but you must start on a horse with help of a qualified instructor or coach.
One of the main reason you want to start with a competent instructor is to rapidly catch good habits and to receive the best advice avoiding beginners mistakes. A good coach will also offer advice to keep you and the horse safe and comfortable. Whether you plan to learn to ride English or Western, it is good for you or your child to read about basic horseback riding and to learn how to think like a horse at first.
Safety must always be your first concern. Equine safety can be learn on your first trail ride or during your first horseback riding lesson. Focus on what you will learn during those first basics lessons so you can enjoy your ride. Have a safe ride!