Sunday, September 24, 2017

Smile Trick Training

For the past couple of months I've been casually trying to teach Casey a new trick, specifically how to "smile." I was inspired by several cute horses photos on the internet. Wouldn't it be awesome to get your horse to pose for a photo with you?
Trying to teach Casey to smile
I tried to teach her this trick by holding a treat up to her lips, causing her to try to grab the treat with her lips. When I was first training her to do this, just one grab with the lips was good enough for her to get the treat. Over time I gradually increased what I was asking her to do, making her hold her lips open for a little bit longer at a time.
Step 1: Hold treat in front of her lips
Step 2: Casey tries to get the treat
Step 3: What kinda looks like a smile
At this point, Casey is mostly understanding the concept of how to smile. She'll hold her lips open for two or three seconds. That means I can kind of catch the "smile" on camera, but it's not quite as good as I'd like it.
Casey's smile
What I'm going to continue to work on is trying to get Casey to hold the smile for longer, hopefully at least five seconds. I'd also like for her to "smile" off of the voice command alone. Right now she'll only do it if she knows that a treat is right in front of her. For my envisioned scenario, she'll need to be able to smile without a treat being right in front of her face to capture it on a photo. Also, when smiling Casey tends to keep her head low, in resting position. I'd like for her to lift her head a bit so that you can see the smile better.

So yeah, that's the frivolous and silly thing that my horse and I have been working on. Do you have any useless things that you are trying to teach your horse?

Power Pony

My rides with Casey this week have been awesome. Ever since the vet cleared her for "regular" work I've been riding her without any sedation (Ace), because I really feel uncomfortable sedating my horse on a regular basis (note: for those who missed that, vet told me to Ace Casey throughout rehab so that she wouldn't act out and re-injure herself). Casey has been amazing! Even though she can't be free-lunged or anything to get the crazies out, she's being super well-behaved under saddle. The other day she was annoyed at me for not letting her canter RIGHT THIS SECOND, but rather than have a meltdown over it, she just tossed her head once to show she was mad and carried on normally. So her behavior I would grade at an A+ right now. It's especially shocking though because the weather has been crazy lately and she hasn't been reactive from that.
Flying Casey
Our rides right now consist of twenty minutes warm-up/cool-down walk, fifteen minutes of trot, and five minutes of canter. I usually switch up the order a bit on a daily basis so that Casey doesn't try to anticipate what comes next. Some days I'll break the trot into five minutes segments, other days we'll do ten and then five. I also try to mix up when we canter. Sometimes we canter at the end of the of all of the trot, others we canter in between some of the trot. This works out pretty well because it is keeping both Casey and I from becoming bored. It doesn't seem like it would be that long of a workout, but when all of the walk-breaks to catch our breath are factored in, that ride takes us about an hour to get through.
Eden is our little arena guest
For our trot work, we've spent this week focusing on relaxation. I'm really encouraging Casey to get her head down low and release the tension from her back. Because she is not being Aced I can feel a lot of tension in her, I think just because she is so excited. When she starts to get overly worked-up we work on lots of bending circles, because that calms her busy mind. We've taken a bit of a break from trot extension, because she is so excitable that it just would lead to us battling about what speed we should go at.
Trotting
For our canter work, we are really just working on building up our stamina. Five minutes shouldn't be a lot, but because we haven't been able to canter for so long, we're both dying by the end. Part of the problem is that we are just out of shape, but the other factor is that all of us (horses and humans) have a lot of lung damage from all of the forest fire smoke that we inhaled this past month. According to my trainer, on the days that the smoke was bad, the damage is the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes in a day. Not sure where she got that fact, but from how much my lungs hurt, I'd believe it.
Such a sassy tail
Although we are lacking in stamina, Casey feels like she's got her engine back. The first couple of laps at the canter she feels speedy, controlled, and powerful. It's amazing to feel that again because it's been a long time. Of course, after we've been cantering for a while, she loses all of that power, but the more we keep working on building up our strength, the more power I feel from her.

All in all, I'm feeling super impressed with my horse. She's really the best and I feel lucky to have her :)
POWER!!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Gonna be a Packer Pony Yet!

My little cousin is kind of into horses. She's at that age where she's just starting to figure out what she likes on her own, but hasn't really made up her mind yet. I, of course, am the biggest advocate of children loving horses, so am perfectly happy to fuel that fire. Please let someone else in my family care even a little bit about my biggest passion! So when she asked me if she could ride my horse, I enthusiastically agreed.

And then I thought about my horse's behavior recently... To be fair to Casey, the past couple of weeks she's been pretty saintly and calm. There have been little incidents, but nothing major. She was really, really terrible about a month ago, but since then seems to have mellowed out. I decided to give Casey the benefit of the doubt and carry on with this plan, but took steps to ensure that it would be successful (riding her the day before to tire her out, giving her Ace the day of [vet-approved, I promise], and keeping the ride controlled.
Cousin & Casey
When my cousin arrived at the barn, things started off not on the best note. She's ridden before, but only Willow who is a pony-sized horse. When I grabbed Casey, my cousin's eyes grew wide and she was definitely intimidated by Casey's size. I encouraged cousin to give Casey treats and pets, but she didn't want to lead the horse into the barn. Once Casey was settled in the cross ties, she started getting cranky because of the flies. Casey's go-to move when the flies bug her is to toss her head, stomp around, and flail about until I fly spray her. This kind of freaked cousin out, because she thought Casey was being wild and crazy. I had to pull cousin aside and remind her that horses can sense when we are scared, and so it's important to be calm. After that cousin tried to act more calm, but wasn't wanting to go near Casey's head. I just let cousin do what she felt comfortable with and got Casey ready.
Casey seems HUGE with a child on her back
Finally it was time for the ride. I hopped on Casey first and just made sure that she was going to be good (usually Casey is very obvious when she is going to have a bad day). She was being calm and well-behaved so I hopped off, stuck the horse on the lunge line, and helped cousin up.
Cousin & Casey walking
At first cousin was nervous, because she was much higher up off the ground than she was used to and Casey has the world's biggest walk stride, but soon she got the hang of it and started to have fun! I had cousin work on steering and braking and Casey was being super patient & well-behaved. Cousin asked if she could trot and so I had Casey trot while I jogged along beside (just to ensure that she was going to be good) and it went smoothly. Then I was able to have them circle around me at the trot. Cousin remembered how to trot pretty quickly and Casey was being very calm and slow (for her). After a bit more trotting cousin was mentally/emotionally done riding, so we untacked Casey, gave her a million cookies, and put her away.
I love Casey's facial expression here. It's like she's asking if I'm sure about this whole kid situation.
I'm so proud of my horse. She's not the mellowest, or even the kindest, horse so that fact that she was so perfect with a kid is amazing. I think it's really just shown how much confidence and trust she has gained in people overall and with me specifically. I'm also super proud of my cousin because she is officially the bravest of all of my family members, being the only one to ask to trot Casey.
Look at how nice they look together!
Have you ever let kids ride your horse? What about other family members?

An Overview of Me as a Rider: A Year Later

I just did my reflection on Casey's changes throughout the past year, so now it's time to turn that magnifying glass on myself. A year ago I wrote a post in which I evaluated myself as a rider, so let's look back at what I said and see what changes have occurred.

Training Knowledge

What I said: "I am very calm and patient and will work with a horse to get them to do what I want, rather than forcing them into it."
What I say now: I'm still pretty calm & patient with horses. In normal life I am an anxious, neurotic, sometimes difficult person, but I am different with horses.  They make me a better person.
Summer 2016
Spring 2017

What I said: "I end rides on good notes, which makes for a happy horsie."
What I say now: I always try to end a ride on a good note. Even if that means cutting a ride a bit shorter to make sure that happens. At this point, I know Casey well enough that I know which things are going to make her happy and which things will piss her off, so if I want to work on something that she hates, I always follow it up with something that she loves.
Summer 2016
Winter 2016-2017

What I said: "There are so many exercises that I don't know."
What I say now: There are still many exercises that I don't know, but I have a good repertoire of exercises that I can use in my rides. I used to just putz around on my horse because I didn't know of any specific things to work on. Sure we'd go through all of her gaits, but it wasn't really focused training. Now I usually start my ride with a rough idea of what I want to work on and do activities that will work on those skills. The things I'm focusing on right now with Casey are: bendability, adjustment within a gait (extension/collection), relaxation, and responsiveness to leg cues. In one ride I usually pick one of those things to focus on (although I might use exercises that address multiple of those skills).
Summer 2016
Spring 2017

Flat Position

What I said: "Most of the time I keep my eyes up and heels down." & "I know trotting diagonals & canter leads"
What I say now: Honestly, I feel like my dressage instruction started to hinder my ability to keep my eyes up. I'm much more aware of what my horse is doing now, but I still sometimes want to see how she is reacting/moving. BUT if I'm not focusing on technical skills it is just habit to keep eyes up. I don't ever really struggle with heels down. Trotting diagonal and canter leads are no-brainers at this point. I've improved in that area though, because at this point I am much more refined in asking for the correct canter lead.

What I said: "I am efficient at using half halts."
What I say now: I'd say that I am pretty solid with half halts at this point. I use them all the time with Casey, because she is a hot horse.
Summer 2016
Summer 2017

What I said: "At a canter, I push my inside leg too far forward." & "I also tend to try to help the horse circle at the canter by leaning."
What I say now: My position is soooo much better at the canter now than it used to be. For the most part my leg stays where it belongs and I'm balanced in circles. I usually ride the canter in a half seat, because it helps Casey stay off the forehand, but before her injury we were building up our stamina in a sitting canter. When I sit the canter it is definitely harder for her to stay properly balanced. Is this is a Casey-thing or an average-horse thing? I don't know...
Summer 2016
Summer 2017

What I said: "My position is all over the place ... really bad chair-seat."
What I say now: Part of the issue with my prior chair-seat was that I was riding in saddles that were too big for me. When I bought my own saddle it was still an issue for a bit, because the saddle sits just a little bit too low in the cantle, so I got a slight riser pad and now it's just right. I think at this point I might have a slight chair-seat at times, but overall I am so much more balanced.
Summer 2016
Spring 2017

Jump Position

What I said: "I am too far out of the saddle and my legs aren't beneath me."
What I say now: Commenting on my jumping ability is not the easiest at this point, because I haven't jumped since March... that being said, I did improve so much in the the months that Casey & I were jumping. I'd say this is the thing I still struggle with the most. I have a tendency to try to lift my butt out of the saddle to get out of the horse's way, but it's incorrect and not actually helpful to the horse. I've gotten slightly better at this, but I have a long way to go. My legs are actually a lot better than they used to be though, and while they still slip back at times, mostly they are beneath me.
Summer 2016
Spring 2017

What I said: "I need to work on my release over jumps."
What I say now: This is what I think I most improved at in my jumping form. I tried really hard to focus on giving Casey a correct release and I think I kind of got it before she got injured. I'm currently using a long crest release. It'll probably take me a while to strength my body enough for this, but I'd love to eventually learn an automatic release.
Summer 2016
Winter 2016-2017

What I said: "I am not the best at judging distances to jumps."
What I say now: I'm much better at this than I used to be. Obviously this is something that will continue to need work, but before her injury Casey and I were working at changing stride numbers in a jumping line and that really helped with this.
Summer 2016
Spring 2017

As a summary, I think that I've really improved in the past year. Not only have these physical things improved for the better, but my overall knowledge of horse training & care has broadened. There are still lots of things to work on, but I think I can feel proud about my progress in the span of twelve months.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

An Overview of Casey: A Year Later

About a year ago I wrote a blog post in which I evaluated Casey; her strengths and her weaknesses. A friend of mine recently pointed out how much Casey and I have improved since I first bought her and I really have to agree. She's almost like a different horse than the wild thing I brought out of the pasture a year ago. So I pulled out the post from a year ago to make a thorough comparison.

Top: Spring 2017
Bottom: Summer 2016


On Ground Manners

What I said: "Casey is very good at walking on a lead rope. She walks at my speed and doesn't pull." & "She will stand at the cross ties without trying to destroy things."
What I say now: For the most part, I stand by this. We had a really bad couple of weeks in the middle of the summer, when rehab was really making her stir-crazy, but overall she's pretty well-behaved on the ground. Recently we've been trying to work on ground tying in the cross tie area and it's actually going pretty well (although the other day she was picking up brushes with her mouth).

What I said: "Casey's one fault in her ground manners is that ... she will paw at the ground."
What I say now: Well, I failed at training this out of her, because she definitely still will paw at the ground. The difference is that now she knows that I'll get mad at her for it and so it doesn't take nearly as much energy on my part to make her stop. I can just glare at her and say, "Casey..." and she'll put the hoof down.

Top: Spring 2017
Bottom: Summer 2016


On Rideability (Flat)

What I said: "Casey can have a very nice relaxed walk." & "She is very talented at trotting." & "Casey has both of her canter leads down and picks up the correct lead about 95% of the time."
What I say now: The Dressage Queen at my barn complimented Casey's walk so we all know that it really is as good as I thought it was. She is still talented at trotting, much more so now that she is balanced in that gait. She almost always picks up her correct canter lead (if she doesn't, it's always my fault for not setting it up correctly) and she does flying lead changes (though we don't school those yet). So yeah, her gaits were good then, but now they are fab.

What I said: "She is very sensitive ... she is so responsive" & "She does not at all understand what leg pressure means."
What I say now: Still super sensitive & responsive and it's 100% a good thing because she is pretty trainable. The difference is that now she is more educated on what different aids mean and so I can actually get what I want instead of her trying to guess what I want (she now understands leg pressure for instance).
Top: Summer 2017
Bottom: Summer 2016

What I said: "Casey may like to go fast, but she is not a dangerous horse. She only spooks if she has a valid reason to, she has never reared, and she has never bucked (I don't even know if she is capable of bucking)."
What I say now: HAHA that was all lies. To be fair, I still think she's not a "dangerous" horse in that she doesn't try to hurt people, BUT she has reared on me once and has bucked many, many times. Of course I haven't fallen off of any of those bucks (knock on all available wood surfaces) so that's probably why I don't consider her to be dangerous.

What I said: "She struggles at bending." & "She tends to fall in at the corners and just has trouble maintaining the canter." & "Casey needs to continue to build strength and muscle. She is very heavy on the forehand and just needs to become more balanced."
What I say now: This is by far the biggest improvement that I see in Casey. She is so strong and powerful now. Things like bending are starting to come naturally to her, she is able to balance in all gaits, and she is no longer on the forehand at all times (this will always be a work in progress in my opinion though). Even though we were in rehab for five months and on a reduced workload, she still is infinitely stronger and more balanced than she used to be.
Top:Summer 2017
Bottom: Summer 2016 (flipped)


On Talent

What I said: "She is super talented at jumping ... the highest we have jumped is 2'6"." & "She is not a stopper or a run-outer. She is brave and honest."
What I say now: She definitely proved that she was super talented at jumping over the past year. We jumped a 3'3" oxer as our largest jump. We were doing 2'9" courses before the suspensory injury. I did learn that she will run-out of a bigger jump if I don't seem confident & support her, but I wouldn't call her a run-outer, because if I'm riding like crap it's my fault that the jump didn't happen. I would say that I still haven't even seen her true scope and talent yet because of the injury, so I'm excited to see where we'll go from here.

What I said: "She is just a bit of a speed demon."
What I say now: There is no denying that Casey loves her speed, but at this point her go-to move isn't to try to fly around the arena. She will go fast if I let me, oh believe me, she'll go fast, but for the most part she's pretty ok with going at the speed I want. When we are jumping, the speed demon comes out a bit, but even then it's not nearly as bad as it used to be.
Top: Spring 2017
Bottom: Summer 2016


On Personality

What I said: "She is super duper cuddly. She loves people and loves attentions and is a total ham."
What I say now: This is still 1000% accurate. She does love her cuddles. I think Jin might be her favorite person ever (even though he doesn't even know how to interact with her). Every time he comes to the barn with me it's a struggle to get Casey to focus on work because she just wants to stand next to him and get face scratches.

What I said: "She is very good at throwing temper tantrums when I ask her to do something she thinks is unreasonable" & "likes to put her tongue over the bit."
What I say now: Casey is still the queen of temper tantrums. She has all of the opinions, all of the time and is not shy about expressing them. For a long time the tantrums revolved around bit issues and we haven't had that problem in a long while (but I'd better never lose the magical bit that she loves). Now I can tell when she is in a mood and will usually change my plans to avoid meltdowns. I can usually avoid them happening at all if I can get her really focused on something else, and when they do happen I know how to deal with them to make her knock it off.
Top: Spring 2017
Bottom: Summer 2016

I decided not to address the goals that I had made a year ago, because I'm going to start doing my goals around New Years, although I have a lot to say about those as well!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Slowly Building Up

After yesterday's ride I was really hoping today for just a tad bit of improvement. Not asking for leaps and bounds of difference, but to not feel like my horse was made out of stiff metal would be nice.

I got to the barn pretty early and it was nice and chilly out. Thank goodness fall is coming, because gah summer was gross this year. I quickly tacked up Casey and we got straight to work.
Fall weather in OR = all the grey clouds
After our mandatory ten minutes warm-up walk, we did five minutes of trotting on a loose rein. My goal was to try to get Casey to relax more in her body to help overcome the stiffness later. She was pretty quiet, but it wasn't hard to keep her going either. She seemed just content to plod around the arena at a trot without any input from me. She did seem less stiff right off the bat, and the tightness in her body dissipated throughout our ride.
Trotting on the buckle
After the loose trot, we followed up with a five minute trot session where we worked on a bit of collection, bending, and trying to power from behind. She still felt heavy on the forehand, but much less so than the day before. My usual strategies to get her to power from her butt just weren't working so well. By the end of the ride it had gotten better, but still wasn't great. The video and photos from the ride actually really surprised me because it doesn't look nearly as bad as it felt.
A little bit of trot bending
Once that trot session was over, I decided that we should canter for a bit. My hope was that maybe the canter would wake her up and encourage her to move with more impulsion. We cantered two laps each direction of the arena. She was easily able to get her right-lead canter (it's always her easier lead) and seemed to struggle less than yesterday at cantering for an extended amount of time. We were both dying by the end of the second lap though.
The right-lead canter
The left-lead canter came more easily than yesterday, but it still wasn't great. She actually ended up getting the right-lead canter, but realized before finishing even the first stride that she wasn't on the right one and so did a flying-lead change on that first stride. Casey was super impressed with herself for that and a lot of fancy tail swishing ensued.
The sassy flying-lead change
The left-lead canter
The canter did seem to wake Casey up a bit, but we still didn't have the power that I wanted. We trotted for five more minutes with me continuing to try to get her to drive herself forward with her butt instead of dragging herself on her front legs. It didn't really work. There was improvement, but it was pretty scanty. Then we finished off with four more laps of canter.
More cantering
By the end of the ride I could tell that my body was tired because I started to feel like I was flopping a whole bunch in the canter. I could also tell Casey's body was tired because her canter just keep getting flatter... and flatter... and flatter... Even so, I was impressed that we were able to actually canter for a full five minutes (overall) today, because that definitely didn't happen the day before.
Expect lots of cantering photos because I was canter-deprived for five months!
Even though she was still a bit stiff and definitely heavy on the front end, Casey was actually being really well behaved for the entire ride. At one point her least favorite dog came over to the arena edge and she thought about throwing a temper tantrum about it, but ultimately decided to behave herself. I've been so impressed with her brain lately. I can tell that she really wants to please and tries actively to be good. So much better than the beginning of summer when she tried to murder me on a regular basis!
Such a good girlie
Anybody out there have any good exercises to help horses get off the forehand? I know of a few, but I'd love to pick other people's brains about it!

Mondoni Kingston Field Boots Review

When I bought my black field boots last year I absolutely fell in love with riding in tall boots. It feels so much more secure to me than riding in paddock boots and half chaps, and I like the aesthetic much more as well. As much as I liked riding in them, I worried about it because my black boots are made out of a softer leather and I bought them for showing. It would really suck to wear out my show boots before I ever got the chance to show. So I started to consider my options and in the process fell in love with the look of brown boots. I think that they look so classic and the idea of having tall boots in brown and black really appealed to my matchy-matchy loving personality.
Mondoni Logo
And so began the hunt for the perfect brown boots. It was difficult, because there are really not that many options. Ariat has a pair, but they were very red looking online and so I wasn't a huge fan. Mountain Horse has a pair, and I did love them, but not enough to commit to the price tag. I wanted brown boots to be my schooling boots and so I couldn't justify spending a bunch of money on that. Finally though I discovered the perfect pair of boots through one of my favorite bloggers, Amanda at the $900 Facebook pony (read her review here). Then I found out that they were on crazy sale... so of course I bought them!
Mondoni Kingston Boots
I ended up buying the Mondoni Kingston Tallboots in brown. Mondini is the house brand for the Dutch company Divosa and beside the one blogger review that I read, I'd never heard of the company before. They have awesome things, most of which are European that I'd never seen before. They also seem to have really awesome sales and great deals throughout the year. Darn Europeans get all the cool horse stuff...
Mondoni Kingston Field Boots
The Kingston boots are leather tall (field) boots. The leather is thicker than that of my black boots, but it seems to be really decent in quality. I've been wearing them and riding in them five days per week for a couple of months now and they've softened a bit with age, just enough to make them comfortable. I suspect that the thicker leather will make them last a bit longer, which is great because I want them for daily riding.
Brown field boots
The boots are primary a dark brown which has slightly darkened with conditioning. I love the color, because it's super rich, but not too red. The inner side of the boots actually have a black patch of leather, which isn't visible when riding, but is a really cool stylistic touch. Other nice touches on the boots are the snap backs to protect the zippers and the laces which have the perfect amount of stretch.
Mondoni Kingston snap back detail
Mondoni Kingston black leather panel
Mondoni Kingston lace details
I love the lines of the boots. The toes are slightly square in shape, which make them look a bit modern. The tops are Spanish-cut (meaning they are higher on the outside of the leg), which makes my legs look really long and will keep the boots from looking too short as they drop. There aren't any flourishes on the boot (no fancy etching or stitching), but the simple look works for me. Again, I want these for schooling, not showing (although I could totally show in these, I just already own show boots).
Square top design
In terms of sizing, these boots run true to size. Since they are Dutch, the sizing is in European sizes, so I ordered a size 39R (US size 8). My feet have enough room that I can wear thin and thicker socks and still be able to shove my foot in there, but I'm also not slipping around. They only have two choices for calf size, regular and wide. I ordered regular (my other tall boots are slim). I think that they are a little bit loose on my calf, but since the leather is a bit stiffer, it's fine. They'll probably drop more than my other boots which fit snugger, but it's ok for schooling. The calf does have a stretch panel, which slightly will increase the range of calf size that these boots can accommodate. 
Brown field boots pair perfectly with bay mare
Perhaps my only complaint with these boots is the fact that they only come in one height. To me, these is an oversight on the part of the company, because height matters so much in tall boots. Luckily enough for me, I can work with the height. They started off much too tall for me, and breaking them in sucked as a result, but at this point (after 4 months of breaking them in), they are the perfect height. Hint for breaking in much too tall boots: apply lots of leather conditioner around the ankle, both inside and outside. It'll help them drop faster so that you don't get stabbed behind the knee.
This was right when they started to drop, but they were still a bit too tall at this point
Price-wise, I got these boots for a steal. The boots only cost me 90.91, but their list price is 199.00. Right now they are available for 110.00, but only seem to have one size available. The shipping cost almost as much as the boots at  75.00. That was a bit rough to pay, but overall I only spent about $160.00 for my boots & their shipping to the US (note: this was the price at the time due to the exchange rate, I have no idea what the exchange rate currently is). Considering that the cheapest pair of brown boots that I could find in the US were $350, I got a great deal. These boots were totally worth the price I paid, and easily are worth double that.
Mondoni Kingston field boots
Since these boots were in Europe, I was not expecting shipping to be easy or fast, but I ended up being proven wrong! I ordered the boots on a Friday, the company shipped the boots on Monday, and the boots ended up arriving at my house on that next Friday. That means it only took a week to get them after ordering! I've ordered from US-based equestrian companies and had to wait longer than that for shipping.
I love this photo. The slobber really adds to the classiness, don't you think?
Overall, I really do love my boots. I get compliments on them frequently by my barn mates and I personally love the look of them. They are simple, but with enough interesting touches to keep them from being boring. It's super fun to own a pair of tall brown boots because it opens up the door for even more outfit choices. Also, these boots are tough and still look brand-new after an entire summer of me wearing them almost daily. They are comfortable and provide plenty of support for my leg. I got them for an amazing deal, but I really do think that these boots rival all of the more expensive brown boots that I've seen available in the US.
This was the awkward phase of the leather breaking in. The left boot no longer has that crease at the top of the boot.
As much as I love my boots, and would love for other people to buy them as well, I'm honestly not sure if they are being discontinued. They've been on sale for quite a while and currently the Divosa website says that they have limited stock of these boots. It's possible that they could get more, but just in case that doesn't happen, to prevent people from being sad, I looked around their website for an alternate boot and found the Mondini Kendal Riding Boot. It is available in both black and brown and looks so close to the Kingston, that I suspect it is a remodeling of that boot. I haven't ever seen the Kendal boot in person, but my guess is that it is just as awesome as the Kingston and that it would be worth to risk to try.
I love my boots!