Today we went to our private lesson with Jef Blake and worked on speed (drive) and some more advanced handling. Simon ran faster than he has ever, and really stretched out over the jumps. He's a beautiful jumper, and doesn't overjump like a lot of Igs. He just glides over the bar no matter how high it is. He jumps just high enough to get over it and then gets to the ground quick and is running in full stride.
We worked on supporting him while he is going one direction and me another, and keeping his focus on where I'm going instead of where his momentum is going. He's a great student and catches on really quickly, and although his crate was right in front of him several times as he ran through the sequences, he came with me and ran away from his crate, when I passed by it on the way to the next jump. It was funny the first time, because he scampered into his crate and then realized that I hadn't said "crate" and then came blasting out to catch up to me.
I'll try and video his preliminary jump work and post it when I get some to show.
Another good thing was that there was a dog barking and yelping a couple of houses over from us while we ran around our course, and Simon acknowledged that he heard it, but never waivered in his committment to working with me. All he did was rotate his ears for a portion of a second.
He's really funny in his crate now too, as he gets excited, and is looking out of it to see where I'm going and then he tries to figure out where I'll go after that. You can see his eyes moving and his head bobbing around to try and figure out where we are going to go. Just like border collies always do. Then he holds his stay in the crate as I rev him up by saying (in a low voice) RRRrrreeeeeAAAADDDDDDY???!!, and I crouch down and pound the ground with my hands a couple of times to tease him and show him we are going to play. Then I wait a second or 2 and then I say "OK!!", and he's off out of his crate at full speed. If he comes out early (before I say "OK"), there is no reward of doing agility with me (although I'm quietly happy that he would break his stay to go do agility), and I say back in your crate and he tears back into it, and we start again, which is always successful. The fact that he wants to get out and go, but stays because I ask him to, is really a good sign to me.
He's a good boy, and with all the attention he is getting from me, he is reciprocating with lots of love rubs and attention to me when we are together. He is very interested in anything I do. He likes being special.