Before I headed to Phoenix I had another couple fun jumping sessions with Prisoner. One was filled with narrow jumps that he would have rather gone around last year and was totally honest to this year. The other was a little course that I started at x-rails and finished at about 2'6". There were little bits of slight rushiness, but I feel like I am riding them better and they are definitely not the overwhelming theme of our rides.
When I keep my leg on and have a very definite plan things go great. When I take one too many half halts we start to unravel, but as soon as I quit pulling and start using my legs again we recover!
I am getting a real grasp on how much feel he likes me to have up to and over the jumps, I am also getting better at not chucking the reins at him as we lift into the air. He is much happier (I know not exactly rocket science).
The part about having a plan is key for him. I've ridden lots of horses that are happy to cruise around courses made up in the moment. Jump here, jump there, la la la no big deal. Prisoner demands that I know what course I am riding before I ride it. It forces me to be more organized and in the short and long term makes me a better rider. Make a plan, stick to it, reassess, make a new plan.
Whoops, my fellow nerds will notice that my last sentence is pretty much the equestrian version of the scientific method. In all reality the scientific method is a pretty solid life formula. Always thinking, always learning, always exploring.