Thanks! He didnt respond much to picking "up" the rein but when I hold my hands on the saddle he seems to get it. Just an akward position for me.
It works if you wait for it. Some horses need more time than others. Just pick up the rein (upward) and hold and wait.
The reason why I say upward stead of toward the saddle is because this is a one rein exercise.
Anyhow, another is the way you did it....but with two reins at the same time. You lock it down on the saddle and hold and wait as you drive the horse forward with your legs. Soon as he drops and gives, release.
Once he gets to bend where I want him just by putting my hands on the saddle and lock.... how should my hands be when I am riding?
You don't want to lock and hold the head in position. You have to let the horse make the mistake of bringing his head up again. It's loads of repetitions for the horse to understand "Oh! you want my head HERE." Once he hits "learned" then he'll leave his head there by a mere closing of your fingers to remind him and you release when he does and he'll leave it there.
How fast you are at giving the release of pressure at the right time, will make the difference as to how fast he gets it. You also want to be sure to put legs on him when you pick up the reins to do this...because otherwise, if you don't, you're just pulling on his mouth.
You should eventually be riding with a slack rein and just remind him every now and then to keep his head where you want it. But again, be sure not to hold the head there. Give him a release. That's his reason for keeping his head there. So, there's pressure when he pops his head upward, and there's release when he drops it and gives to the bit.
Also, in the pictures I notice you are leaning forward. Try to sit a bit straighter. Leaning forward allows you to "overuse" the reins and this will make him stiff necked and will give him reason to raise his head. Because it'll make it easy for you to use the reins for balance, stead of your seat.