It was SOOOO much fun!!
Basically Beth had me work on keeping Fleck supple through his jaw all the way to the fence and as soon as we landed. Not "on the bit" necessarily, because he had to be able to lift his head and look. But he couldn't be stiff in the neck, inverted, or locked in the poll. But then she said that I had gotten to accomplishing that by essentially see sawing him down. My alternating one handed half halts were becoming constant. Which was only causing him to tune me out. I went from braced and hanging to too many half halts. Hee hee. Of course! So we worked on me only half halting when necessary, and using my fingers to say "hi... I'm here... wiggle wiggle..." when I needed it instead of constantly making BIG half halts. I need to learn to whisper instead of shout.
It took a bit to finesse it but when we got it... HOLY SMOKES!!!! Fleck was soooo happy. He was jumping like a beast! I loved it too. By giving him that ride... he was soft, supple, and happy. AND more importantly, he had energy. I wasn't having to create energy. I wasn't half halting any energy he had and then asking him to recreate more. I was allowing his natural energy out. And then I could just finesse it. It is amazing!! He wasn't any faster, but he felt very much more "prelim-y" to me. It created a soft, forward, supple, energetic canter. It was nice not to have to fight with him.
I also need to remember to keep my leg on, especially when I am half halting. And I need to remember to not "row" or pull back over the jumps. Plant my hands on his neck, or follow them in an auto release, but no backwards pumping.
It really was a great ride. Beth said I had never ridden better. And Fleck surely felt awesome. He never once rolled over his shoulder, even though some of our distances weren't fantastic. it was definitely FUN for both of us. We both finished with big smiles on our faces!
Now the key will be remembering this! And re-creating it!