Well I feel a lot better knowing that someone else had the same problem.
Many people ride gaited horses too fast, they assume that gaiting is the same speed as trotting. You perfectly described what I'm going through. They pace, rush, and have some odd training (or no training at all).
Tried out 3 icelandics yesterday. Fell in love with the breed! My kind of horse: small, foward, sure-footed and bombproof. They also did the pull-back is cue to go forward thing. However, two only trotted (the trainer couldn't get them to tolt) and they wanted 8500 each. The one I really liked turned out to be 16 years old and 4500. Her tolt wasn't set, kept switching gears. Not sure I want a 16 year old horse. But she was a blast to ride on the trails. And I'm getting older, so a safe, quiet horse is important.
Long story short, the SSH in my profile has Wobbler's Syndrome. He's being put down tomorrow.
He was supposed to be my forever horse and I really wasn't planning on horse hunting again.
I'm seeing a peruvian paso next weekend and might take a second look at a TWH. I keep thinking about that 16 year old icelandic. So fun to ride.
Malda, I understand about the subtle que's for each horse or breed. I went out to look at a seasoned mft and when I got there I was shown a young greenish gelding. They had him tacked and ready when I got there which made me suspicious.
The barn mgr rode him first, zooming around the arena at break neck speed (where's the eye roll icon?) and after a few passes I got on. I could get him to fw, it took some effort, but he finally settled. When I did ask for speed and he got going a little faster than I wanted I did what my dressage instructor always had me do..close my seat and give slight pressure with my thighs. This horse sped up more, that was HIS que to go faster. He also was heavy in my hand.
I also agree that horse shopping is a pain in the fanny and you'll kick a lot of tires before you find what you're looking for. The majority pace, it's annoying!