Well, I've searched for a gaited horse three times now, so that's over 60 horses I've looked at (that's only about 20 horses each time, but I know I've seen more than that). Breeds include: SSH, TWH, Rocky/Kentucky Mtn, MFT, Icelandic and maybe five Paso Fino's. The paso's gaited, and *one* walker gaited. That's it. Everything else paced, one of the MFT's even had the camel hump walk. None of the icelandics was trained to gait, according to the breeders tolting isn't very common (and it's highly discouraged on the trails).
On our trails there are several TWH's, a couple of MFT's and Rocky Mtn's, and some grade horses. They all pace, and as I said the owners are perfectly happy with it. I've never met the owner of a pacing horse who didn't think it was smooth.
A smooth, 4 beat gait is rare and expensive. I had a 5k limit on a horse which won't buy one that gaits. BTW, I wasn't looking at gaited horses exclusively, they were just on the list of breeds that I would consider for a trail horse.
Gaited horses do not gait, they pace. All breeds except Paso's.
"Most gaited horses pace and their owners are perfectly happy with it"
Interesting comment. Where and what would make you think this is true.
Most gaited horse gait-rack, running walk, corto, largo, etc, or they would not be gaited horses.
It is true that a lot of TWH breeders, breed for the pace in order to get the big lick, BUT, they are in the minority compared to the entire gaited horse spectrum. Some may start off trotty or pacey, but most of the truly good gaited horses do it naturally from the get go. They, of course, are the ones you never hear about. They are bred to gait. It is the problematic ones we hear about, on forums, newsgroups, etc.