Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washington, USA.
I don't lunge pre-ride because A) I've never had to work with a young, more unpredictable horse, and B) I like to have that little bit of extra "energy" to channel throughout our ride.
Cori hit the nail on the head, most people put down pre-ride lunging because it builds stamina, so you, theoretically, have to lunge longer and longer each time to get out the "energy" you're trying to get out. Eventually, you'd end up lunging for 40 minutes and riding for 20. At least that's the theory.
However, it seems you are just working on getting her attention and her focus. If that's the easiest and best way for her [for now] to do so, then continue. When introducing a new task to my filly, some in-hand work [backing up, side-stepping, basic yielding exercises] is the best way to get her attention. That's what works for her. You have found what is currently working for your mare, so when someone makes a rude comment, just say, "Thanks for the input," and continue what your doing. You're certainly not doing anything wrong.
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."