I don't know how many folks can think $1000 is high for a gaited horse, (or heck, any horse) if it is trained, sound and sane.
Out here in AZ gaited horses are expensive. I got super, super lucky and got a 15 yr old Fox Trotter (who happens to be registered, but who rides the papers?) for $500 and I feel like I stole her! She also came in foal, to a QH stallion, and now I'm raising my first ever foal. Raising a foal IS harder than I dreamed it would be, but hey, I am living the dream!
Anyway, before I found my Fox Trotter, I was talking to a couple who rode Fox Trotters and they told me I should be able to find a nice one for $5000. Let me tell you, I went home and cried after that. I thought there would be no way in heck I would ever own anything gaited after that conversation with them.
But anyway, I do now.
My main motivation for getting a gaited horse was to simply be able to keep up with my friends who have gaited horses. My Mustang just couldn't match the flat-walk, and the gaited horse folks around here don't believe in slowing down.
But anyway, she is a rush to ride. When she gets into a smooth gait, I get all grinning and giggly! Unfortunately with my lack of gaited experience, she drifts in and out of all sorts of gaits and I have a hard time holding her in them for very long. But boy, is it a rush when you are used to just trotting. It's like "what are we doing now, lol."
I don't know about everyone else. Maybe I just live in a expensive part of the country, but it is hard to find ANY trust-worthy horse in the $1000 price range out here. Sure, there are tons of cheap horses, but what the heck are you getting? Probably not something safe, sound or sane.
IMO, it is more important to get the RIGHT horse than haggle over a couple hundred dollars. After all, it cost a lot just to keep a horse, and your safety depends on the sanity of your horse, so it's best to get a good one.
So that's my opinion.
PS. I LOVE the flat walk. It rocks!