Does anyone have any tips for keeping a young distracted horse focused under saddle? He starts out well then picks his head up to look at things and hollows out his back.

Use lots of half halts.
Don't just do constant circles or constantly go around the wing. Instead make constant turns and make some S's in the areana or figure eights. When cantering you can make him bend left right life right every 2 steps he takes. Thrown in some ground poles when you do the S's and 8's
How does he respond to bending the neck while you're on him? My suggestion is do simple tasks like bending the neck and making him go backwards and forwards until he starts focusing on what your going to ask next of him.
Yeah that is kind of what I am looking for. Other ways to challenge him when doing flatwork. Right now, we work serpentines, voltes, and shoulder-ins but it is difficult and boring which makes him disconnect.
That's good....maybe he needs a challenge?!
True Natalia. I do natural horsemanship every week as well as all of his daily care. He is definitely bonded to me. On the ground, he is spectacular. He struggles with transferring that to under saddle work. I haven't quite figured out how to upload videos here but I have some of us bareback riding on the beach together and going swimming in the lake. It is primarily when I start doing dressage work cause he gets bored. If we are jumping he stays focused for the entire workout.
here is so much more to a horses world than the human riding it. Most humans dont even consider this and totally forget about any relationship with their horse. Thus, they miss a great opportunity to have a strong bond based upon trust and respect. This bond alone will prompt a horse to keep its attention on the human.
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