There's only one horse dealer in the game so far (that I know of), a displaced Rohirrim with a ranch north of Bree. To "qualify" as a horse owner, you have to deliver horses for him to Bree itself, then to the far end of the Shire, then to a dwarf mine in the North Downs. (Do they mine dwarves there? Nevermind.) Finally, once all that's done, you have to make a timed run around the ranch on a preset course.
All very well and good, except the course isn't marked very well. :-` In fact, at one point, if you actually follow the course as marked, you'll pull a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and run your horse right off a cliff. 0.o When I discovered that little wrinkle, I punted on the race the first time, then went and ran it in person, just to work out where I needed to go to avoid all the hazards.
I gotta say, I'm jazzed about having a horse. Beautiful as Middle-earth is, after a while even the most romantic elf lord gets a little sick of running back and forth from one end of Arnor to the other. I'm told that horses are only so useful in areas with a high monster population, as one little nick from a passing aggro will knock you right off. But when I'm going back and forth from Esteldin to Ost Goruth by way of Bree (as you sorta have to do for a while), you can stick to the road and get there in half the time -- without having to spend 50 silver on rental horses.
While I'm on the subject of LOTRO, you remember all those power-levellers in The Ghost Regiment? Well, while I was away from LOTRO, as far as I can tell, they all levelled up to 50 and wandered off. ¬.¬ In short, the Ghost Regiment was really living up to its name -- and there's not much point in being in a kinship by yourself. :P So after a little hunting around, I connected with The Valar Guild, a sort of Tolkien-based meta-kinship that was founded for Diablo of all things and has a population in just about every MM* in existence from what I gather. Their two requirements for membership were that a) you be courteous, and b) you have read Lord of the Rings -- both of which I can manage without too much difficulty. 0;)
Fainan, who escorted me to Rivendell before, is one of the officers, so she signed me up. :) So far, it's a much more lively kinship, and I'm hoping to get involved in some of the group activities in the not-too-distant future.