Well herrrrrrrrlooooooo thar.
Your horse is cute cute cute. Just sayin'.
Tiny, I think I love you. In a totally non-creepy way.
Your horse is a lot less forward than my Squiggy, which I envy, LOL.
When I started trying to get her to collect, my biggest mistake was not being soft enough with my hands. There was just too much bouncing in the reins and eventually, she just started to lose respect for the bit, which was NOT good.
I agree with Tiny on the snaffle bit. I alternate my mare between a loose ring snaffle and a dogbone Jr. Cowhorse with a roller (for things like chasing cows and actually working). All of my "arena" work is done with a snaffle in this particular horse.
I'm no expert in this area yet, and it's been a long hard learning experience for me. Nothing has come easy so far, lol.
As for the loping, my mare had the worst lope ever until about a month or two ago when I figured out to follow her mouth super super well and sit super super deep and then she'd slow down, relax, carry the bit and get round. Woo!