Thanks for the kudos on realizing he didnt like his job- but I don't know if they are much deserved. I think I had known for a while, or at least had a suspicion, but it took me a while to accept it which makes me feel a little cruddy now. I just couldnt sell him, but I couldnt give up on wanting to show again and stuff as well. Thankfully my new boy was found and was a real blessing. He has allowed me to have the best of both words. To continue to show, and to keep my main man Drifter :)
TinyLiny- One of the things I did that I think helped a lot was that even though I am away at school I have kept in contact with my old trainer. I was on the phone with her one night a few months ago and I kept explaining how I felt like Drifter had the potential to this great english horse that I knew he could be..but that I was just so frustrated he wasnt. She sat quietly for a few seconds and then told me something that really affected me! She said, "if riding the horse you WANT him to be is frustrating you so much, why not just ride the horse he is?". I set to work trying to really understand Drifter and his training. I discovered he was very sensitive to leg aids and that he preferred to be ridden with no contact what so ever. I have since slowly increased contact, which has helped him a great deal to be accepting of it. I am sure our idea of "contact" still has a lot to be desired, but he has made leaps and bounds of progress.
As far as helping out his breaking at the 3rd issue, we have entire 40 minute rides dedicated to him stretching his neck out. I do a lot of big circles and lateral movements trying to help him to relax. The more he relaxes, the more his head begins to be where it needs to be. Also applying leg as soon as I feel him try to suck back, seems to be stopping the problem before it can occur so I have been trying to get better at detect the exact moments I need to apply leg.
So really, we have a ways to go yet and are definitely a work in progress. But I really feel we're headed on the right road! Thankfully we have a great instructor willing to work with both of us :)