I'll chime in as a vote for Wintec or Fabtron synthetic western saddles. I have a Wintec which is probably 20 years old - looks a little ratty now from where the fenders got sweaty and the logo fell off, but still rides great. If I would clean it, it would look fine.
Hubby and I have 2 Fabtron gaited saddles for our MFT and TWH, respectively. Love them. Light enough to handle but heavy enough to be safe and great for the horses. We bought through Horsesaddleshop.com and they were GREAT for the customer service - I asked a million questions about trees, wither measurements, and so forth and they were great.
These 3 saddles have roughout seats - this will be the #1 recommendation that I have for you, so that you have something that 'grabs' a little to help you ride through a spook.
Also, as far as what makes gaited saddles different - the flare to the bars at the front of the saddle allow shoulder movement, which is a big deal for the gaited horse but it's fine for a non-gaited as well. They also have a different 'rock' to the tree, front to back, because gaited horses have a tendency to have a flatter back from front to back than non-gaited. However, I ride the Fabtron gaited saddle with my QH gelding, too, and I swear he does better in it than in the Wintec or other western and Aussie saddles that I have. Go figure.
I think the advice to try out a saddle is great - are you close to KC?