PS. My gaited horse neighbor is always telling me I "throw my reins away," meaning I don't ride with enough contact but tend to ride a really loose rein.
I started thinking about what you said above, and what I said below it, and I'm really wondering if lack of contact isn't my problem. Or at least lack of impulsion from my legs. She gets trotty when I let her go too fast and I'm sure I am giving her too much rein. Then when I start wondering about how to get her out of the trot is when I start wondering if I should "collect" the head down or up.
Maybe I just need more contact and "push" with my legs to begin with, instead of letting it all fall apart and then wonder how I got there. Hmm. I know it happens when I let her get going too fast, she looses the Fox Trot and goes into what I assume is a real trot, because it feels just like a normal trot to me. Really bouncy, and not a pace, because I've felt that too, lol!