Thenrie makes a lot of sense: it depends on what kind of trails you're riding. I have been looking and looking for a new trail horse and finding nothing. Of course, I'm being picky because this will probably be my last horse. I've always ridden gaited, but all the gaited horses I'm finding pace. We ride in areas where you can't gait a lot, but it's nice to have when you want it. WHY can't I find a gaited horse that will be content to walk along on a loose rein instead of being pacey and/or a speed demon??? I think I'll just give up and wait for awhile.
A lot of people with gaited horses don't bother to teach their horses to do anything but
go fast and stay on the trail. I say this because I've ridden with those types.
Yeah, their horses are fast and smooth as long as the trail is the kind of trail where they can get some speed. Get them out on "goat path" types of trail, where you need a horse that is responsive to the aids and balanced, and able to slow down and think about where it's placing its feet, and you may find yourself in some trouble.
still good gaited horses out there, though. I own one. He's a cool little guy. . .he will gait all day if you ask him to, he will "dog walk" on a loose rein, he'll cross deep creeks and slide down greasy hills, and he will be a nimble and sure-footed steady-eddy when you find yourself having to pick your way through roots, rocks, washouts, and other tricky footing.
However, he's not for sale.