Originally Posted by Guilherme
It's probable that you will have to travel to other areas to look for a gaited horse. There are some TWH breeders out there but they are few and far between. The Law of Supply and demand functions there, also. Prices can be rather dramatic.
First, narrow your search. The phrase "gaited horse" describes a type, not a breed. Each gaited breed is a variation on the theme of "gaited horse." What variation do you like the best? When you answer that question then go looking for one that works for you.
What is your budget? Don't post it here; that might cause you difficulties later!
But have one in mind. With breeds like Walkers or Rackers, where there are many available, the price will be relatively lower. With the somewhat less common breeds (Marchadors, Icelandics, etc.) the price will be somewhat higher. Presently, most parts of the equine industry below the elite level are suffering. This is good for buyers.
While price is not always an indicator of quality it often can be.
When you've narrowed your search plan a trip to someplace where you can see multiple examples of your selection. If you decide on a Walker then you're likely headed for TN. For a Racking Horse (and many others) you're headed for the South Eastern U.S. You can go to most breed websites and get listings of breeders. There will be "mini-concentrations" around the U.S.
In short, follow the Willie Sutton Rule in planning your trip.
Plan on more than one trip. I know this adds cost to the whole project but you are not just shopping but also educating yourself; you don't want to buy the first time you visit. If you come to the Southeast (which is likely as it is the epicenter of North American gaited breeds) you will find yourself awash in horses for sale. You ARE dealing with "horse traders." They are the moral and ethical ancestors of used car salesmen. Some are slick as bacon grease and will pressure you to buy "this really good horse." Don't bring your money with you.
Last, and far from least, remember the mantra from Alois Podhajsky, former Riding Master at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna: I Have Time
Good luck in your search.
^^^ That is excellent advice and should be Rule #1 taped at eye level on your refrigerator
Malda's advice should be Rule #2, stuck on the refrigerator
Further to Malda's comment, I have two Tennessee Walkers that both perform the running walk yet they feel totally different. That is because they are built totally different.
One is 16.1H long/lanky/athletic, long-backed and very "loose" in his swing/movement.
The other is 15.3H very stout, short backed, easily mistaken for a hunky Quarter Horse. He is also slightly sickle-hocked and THAT is something you really do want to avoid. I would rather see the horse slightly cow-hocked than sickle-hocked.
This horse has a shorter stride than the 16.1H fella and probably his lack of a "swingy" back end might be due to being a little sickle-hocked.
My 14.3H TWH performs the Stepping Pace every bit as "champagne-smooth" as the 16.1H fella. He is also a stout/short-backed horse BUT he is of good structure and has such an awesome reach, people comment on him when he's 1,000 feet away up on the ridge. He has such a swingy butt, I once had a lady tell me she'd date him if he were a man
Meaning, swingy back ends are good. How well a Walking Horse can bring it's back end up underneath itself contributes to good gait. I can't speak to any of the other gaited breeds.
Liz Graves web site may be of some help to you:) Liz Graves:Gaited Horse--Gathering of Gaits
If you have a lot of horse experience, you might luck out and get a swingin' deal on a gaited horse off Craigs List. There's a lot on there that need groceries and kind hand.
There are a lot of web sites offering gaited horses for sale; some are ethical others are not, so beware of those, as well.
Best of luck in your search