What do I like....
The SMOOTHNESS! It's heaven for me! I have a bad back and bad knees, that gait is like riding on fluffy clouds of perfection. Paired with my Australian saddle, I'm in heaven.
I currently have two Missouri Fox Trotters, and a two year old TWHxMFT cross I'll be picking up soon. I have owned a TWH (two, actually) before and boy was he SMOOTH!
If you want something faster, go with a TWH. MFT's can gait out darned fast, but I've only met one (my dear Loki) that can either out gait or keep up with a TWH. I ride a butter smooth MFT at a friends place, last time we took her HUGELY fat broodmare out on a trail ride. That tonka-truck of a horse outpaced my gelding! I had to canter inbetween to catch up.
Oh and the canter...I just love it. Rocking, smooth and so much fun. What made me choose it...
Before My Back and Knees I rode Arabians at the local riding stable. Then came My First Horse, General Patton, a 15 year old TWH gelding. The difference was incredible, I was HOOKED! I still rode non-gaited horses after that, but I've been a definite fan from that first gaited ride.
It does take some adjusting, going from gaited to non gaited again. I owned a QH mare for a time, and had to reteach myself to trot and post (many years had passed since I had ridden a trotting horse).
I only own one non-gaited horse, my dear pony Divo. We're going to have a lot of stirrupless lessons when he's finally undersaddle, and I have a lot of gym work to do before that.
Riding gaited is like riding a recliner with legs, it's so comfortable and easy to balance, you forget things like 'Bouncing Jackhammer of a Horse' (formerly Smoothest Lesson Horse They Own).
I rode an incredibly smooth QH on a trail ride once, a perfect example of what good breeding can accomplish. It was just lovely riding him, very comfortable, perfectly in tune. I would have taken him home if I could've.
My QH was a backyard bred number that threw smoothness out the window. Granted, she was a lovely filly, but it was a bit of a shock going from gaited to pogo stick. Which gaited breed is my favorite...
I'll admit, I'm a wee bit biased. I like my Missouri Fox Trotters and Tennessee Walkers. I've owned an equal number of both, 2 1/2 Foxtrotters and 2 1/2 Walkers. Loki (my second) and Red (my fourth) horse are both Foxtrotters. General (my first) and Sammy (my fifth) where both Walkers. Squeaker, my newest, is half Foxtrotter, half Walker. It's the best of both worlds!
I ALWAYS suggest gaited, they are amazingly versatile. I've never met a gaited owner who has been unhappy with their gaited horse, especially those with pain issues. I've enjoyed every one I've ridden, and just about every one I've met. Theres a beautiful black across the road, pretty sure she's a TWH. I am so horribly tempted it's not even funny, utter sweetheart, big soft eyes....augh!
My five year old Red Man has beautiful form over jumps, and I may do some jumping with him after he's broke. He's also decided to clear the (admittedly low) dividing fence between the two pastures to rejoin his buddy Loki.
And don't fall for the 'DON'T CANTER THEM OR YOU'LL RUIN THE GAIT' hogwash! You should see my gaited's tearing around the pasture come spring time like a couple of mad fiends, pulling off moves that would make any bucking horse jealous. They also trot AND gait in the pasture, Loki's ALWAYS gaited undersaddle, but trots and gaits in the pasture. So strange