retyping the long post that my computer lost . . .
As for the trotting:
In the round pen video the horse looks almost off at the trot, in his hind . Comparing it to the february video, where he trots very evenly , this video doesn't look as good.
I know you are doing the long and low with him in the round pen, but even so, he should be moving very vigorously forward. In fact, you have to put in a bit MORE push for impulsion in long and low than in just riding him in a circle.
Oops, ok I guess I responded to the walking section in the last post too quick - you did answer my trotting question already :) This is the first time I've asked him to lower his head like this, and he started slowing down. Our last two rides have been very fast, and not by my choice. We're talking trying-to-take-off-and-wild fast, so I worked him in circles last ride until he was at least moving at a comfortable speed. He still wasn't slowing down and acting responsibly as well as I'd like him to, but I ended at a good place. This time, all I did was ask him to lower his head. I don't know if it was the head lowering or the last ride (or the fact that he's starting to remember he is a sane horse), but he just automatically went slow. I'll try to get him to move out a bit more next time. How would I go about doing so and keeping his head down and collecting? It seems if I speed him up, he wants to change gaits (I'm re-teaching him after his 2 months off that he can speed up without changing gaits), but more problematic for me at the moment, that he lifts his head up. The two main problems I'm having here is that when he's having a "hot" day (like the other day), I can ask him to slow down with the reins because he's going nuts, and he just tucks his head to his chest and keeps going fast (and, two weeks ago, this head-down-going-fast turned into crow-hopping), or, if he's having a more sane day like the one when this was filmed, he slows back down and looses the impulsion when I ask I'm to drop his head. So how can I get him to keep the head low (but not tucked to his chest, which is completely wrong when he does it), have impulsion, and collect?
The others commented that your riding might have something to do with him having a sore back. It might be so. You are a bit behind the motion and this is related to you having your legs too far out in front of you, and a lack of weight down into your stirrup. You need to have your foot more under your body and be more able to stand overy your own feet. Many endurance riders simply stand in the stirrups for most of the ride, and to do that, you have to have them more or less under you. The saddle may be making this difficult due to its' design.
Absolutely agree with everything you've said, though I have no idea how to fix any of it. I need that trainer ASAP! Should I shorten or lengthen the stirrups, or just bring my feet back? Darn western saddles I'm used to... I can go ahead and just stand up - at least that's less movement to worry about. And this saddle is a terrible fit for me, but the only other saddle I have to use right now is the one that injured his back in the first place. I'm only borrowing it until I have the money for a Specialized saddle, which has a more western shape to it in the seat with English leathers and my amazing EZ Ride endurance stirrups - those things are lifesavers!
I commend you for considering some work at long and low. Don't do it for ages and learn to be able to take your horse down into the L and L and , maintaining contact, bring him back up into a normal position, then back down again. This stretching and compressing longitudinally will be very good for his back and balance.
Thanks again for acknowledging my efforts. The back and forth stretching and compressing makes perfect sense, too. How should I bring his head up to normal position, and what would normal position be?