For the life of me, I can't understand why gaited horses aren't more popular. I find them so much fun! When your cruising along and hit just the right gait, it makes you giggle with delight! I don't show or anything, so the only negative I've found is that they aren't well matched on trails with non-gaited horses. But it doesn't bother me that much. At least, when I'm riding gaited, I don't mind if other riders are slower, I don't mind doubling back or standing to wait for them.
Back when I had non-gaited horses though, the gaited riders expected ME to keep up on my Mustang, and that was really a drag! His trot could match to their gait (fox trot) but his walk could NOT keep up with their walk. We just had no gear for "speed walking." And the gaited riders didn't have much patience for that.
I won't say I will never own a non-gaited horse again, because honestly, I love all horses. But let's just say that if I was horse shopping, all things being equal, I would pick the gaited horse. I just find them so much fun to ride.
Currently I have a Missouri Fox Trotter. But I've ridden a couple of Walkers. I don't have any experience with other gaited breeds. They just aren't that common out west (compared to Quarter Horses and such). But I would love to ride some different gaited breeds just to see what they feel like.
My first couple of horses were Arabians. I was introduced to Missouri Fox Trotters from a neighbor.
You know, it's not that I have a need for speed, although everything they do seems to be much faster than a non-gaited horse (especially walking), it's just that the gait is so cool, it makes me giggle. I get a real kick out of traveling smoothing when I normally would be bouncing all over the place at the trot. What's not to love about smooth!? That's why I don't understand why they are not as common or more common than non-gaited horses. I consider them trail horses deluxe!