Headset verses Collection
The biggest misunderstanding is that when a horse has his head down, neck arched, and is flexed at the poll, that he is collected. The good news is that your horse is framed up, the bad news is he is not collected. The only way a horse can be truly collected, is to be allowed to move FORWARD into a light soft hand and have drive and impulsion coming from behind (think about riding a tube of toothpaste, you have to squeeze from the back of the tube to get the toothpaste out). The drive from behind allows the shoulders and front legs to become lighter and starts the beginning of self carriage/collection. Without FORWARD movement there can never be collection, the horse can be framed up, but never collected.
As always; Ride Hard, Be Safe, Have Fun - Steve Kutie