Just a comment because I find it kind of odd.
I'm not sure how people are making a blanket statement about them being "ugly to watch" because all the breeds move a little differently.
Walking horses tend to have a more uphill action (with the front end elevated and the back end down and gliding). Fox Trotters tend to have more of a downhill action (the back end is animated and the front end walks and is more gliding). I'm sure Standardbred movement is different from both of those, and the South American gaited breeds, I believe Peruvians have a paddling type action and Finos don't. Icelandics I'm sure have their own way of traveling too.
So it's kind of weird when you say you think they are ugly to watch, because in saying that, you are saying anything other than a standard walk-trot-canter horse is ugly to watch. And maybe you ARE saying that. But it's weird that you are lumping all the gaited breeds in together, because the "look" of each breed and gait can be rather different.
A Paso Fino and a Peruvian Paso and a TWH and a Foxtrotter and a Standarbred and an Icelandic (etc,) all look VERY different performing the gaits that their breed standards call for.
Nothing personal. I kind of feel like I have one foot in and one foot out of the "gaited" world, and I don't feel like I have to defend either type. I love pretty much all breeds of horses.
PS. I owned all sorts of trotting breeds before getting my first gaited horse. Arabs, Paint, Mustang, etc. and quite frankly I didn't find the transition difficult as a trail rider. Now if I were showing, I'm sure it would be difficult, but just for trails, the gaited horses are fast, fun and addictive!
It's like having an extra gear (or gears) the speed of a trot only smoother. So for trails, it isn't a hard transition at all. I do sit a little differently with my Fox Trotter. I lean back a little more, with my feet ahead of me a slightly. On my Mustang I sit more straight up-and-down with my legs directly underneath me. But I'm not sure if that is because it's what comes natural or because of what my friend with gaited horses taught me. (I rode one of her Fox Trotters for several years before I bought my own.)