Everything you all have said makes sense and has been thought about.
Still in the same situation- gotta think about if a gaited horse would be a good choice in my situation ( middle of non-gaited horse territory) but I have time to think since it's really just the beginning stages. I am leasing my lesson horse, and while yes, I will be focusing on better riding, I want to work with ground work and building respect/bonding with Magic.
I am definitely liking what I am hearing and it's all being soaked in! Sounds like there needs to be a rule- there has to be riding gaited lesson horses every 30-50 miles so everyone can experience them....LOL. Sounds good to me, right? ;)
But for side info- showing for me isn't mandatory. I am never going to be good enough for major shows- I can handle the basic shows, but in my mindset- yes, I am working on dressage, but its just for riding fun not for competition, so not many shows for gaited horses is ok with me. The one aspect I really have to think about is the mixed trail rides. Every horse is different, and I am sure there are gaited horses out there that can be good with riding with the slow pokes, but it's something that has to be taken into consideration.
The thought of changing barns ( even if I was able to find other gaited horses in my area) doesn't sit well with me. I like my barn because of my barn manager. She realizes I would be a newb horse owner- and will work with me to become a better owner. However, with talking to her- I don't know how good an instructer she would be for a gaited horse- and I mean no disrespect to her- I know she can do the basics-help with balance and such- but as far as balance for a gaited horse to gait or how to make sure they are gaiting properly and I am not messing the horse up- not so sure. So, it's something to think about, but in the meantime, I am leasing a horse and will learn more by doing so- which will help me when the time comes.
And for the record- that 'gaited mule' is adorable.