Don't disregard lunging him over a few poles. It may be hard for him while you're on his back while he's still very unbalanced and unsure about the poles. It'd help with under saddle work too. I'd do it without gear, then work in saddle, stirrups down, etc.
As for two-point, the correct position to my belief is when your seat is off and saddle but your weight is still distributed over the horse's back. Your upper leg has close contact on the saddle and your calf is off (not hugging the horse's barrel..!) If you aren't used to it, it'll be difficult at first so try it at the walk, etc.
But I think once you get him more balanced on the ground with the poles, two point won't be necessary.
As for advancing your skills.. do you mean in general or just with poles?
I agree - collection is VERY hard and can only be achieved by advanced riders and horses who are forward-going and on the bit (in a nutshell). I agree that it is important at this point to ensure that your horse is going forward and that the poles are placed at the correct distance apart for a horse that size.
Good luck with him and let us know how you get on!
I don't agree... my horse is green and he understands collection and I can achieve it and I am a beginner rider.. it's about understanding how to ask for it, how to teach it, and how to maintain it. You don't want your horse holding his head frame without engaging those neck and back muscles.. and that hind end! Sure it's not easy peasy but it's not solely for "advanced riders and horses"
But I DO agree about the pole spacing.. space them out at first. Only shorten the distance between poles with more advancement.
If you're trotting over poles, spacing each pole 4-5 feet will help lift those feet up but I would not do this until your horse is okay with handling one or two poles without stumbling and with such imbalance.. it can be dangerous if he trips for both of you!!!!