I agree that the "staged" rules are a terrible idea. However, it's also true that you don't have to read and understand ALL the rules before you play. For example, you may well go an entire game without seeing a horse, so don't bother with the horse rules until it comes up (assuming you have a group that is going to be ok with you figuring that out as you play; or better yet play a bunch of RealmSpeak until you understand everything). You can pretty easily play many times without worrying about magic at all (you may occasionally get the opportunity to cast a spell, even as a non-magic character, but it's uncommon, and even more rare that you'd want to!).
As long as you know how to move, search, hide, and fight, you're mostly good. Admittedly, fighting is pretty complicated. But this is for good reason -- the combat system handles any number of characters, monsters, hired denizens and unhired denizens in any combination, with melee and ranged weapons, magic, armor, horses, etc. And anybody can be attacking anybody else, not just two sides attacking each other. It's pretty brilliant actually.