This is a safety question. Always err on the side of your own personal safety. Stop her if you can’t ride it out. I ride out Mr. Mischief because he does a soft buck, easy to ride, he has never hard bucked me. I pull the head sharply to the side and I land in the saddle as fluid and as heavily as I can. It isn’t something that remains fun for him. The trouble is when you come off and stay off – it’s like a lesson for her on how to end work early. Then it becomes a habit. But if you are hurt, you have no choice. Take care of yourself first.
I don’t have conflicts like this with Mischief anymore, but in the beginning we did a lot of riding facing against fences and sidepassing along them. I used the Clinton Anderson methods here. My solution was to get his mind on his job and work the crap out of him and going sideways is a tough maneuver to make into a buck. We also did small serpentines keeping him bent as much as possible. If he had lots of juice for fighting he had lots of juice for working so I put him up very very tired and not one minute before on days he was mr. smarty pants. On good days he had 20 min rides. Didn’t take long to figure out that bad days were loooong and good days were short and fun. We still have the occasional short fun day when he is mr. awesome (I hate to end it early but he so deserves it). I think you can get there with your mare, but it will take some techniques to direct her energy and also that prohibits her dangerous vices. (check out Clinton Anderson) Sidepassing and exercises yielding the hindquarters are good for this. Horses take the path of least resistance – it’s easier for her to buck you off than keep riding. This has to change. Does the lunging make it worse? Maybe you should suspend that for a bit and see if it helps.
A couple other thoughts – saddle fit and saddle pad. I know you said you ride with a variety – what if none of it fits? Arabs are shorter smaller horses (like my pasos) and need a saddle that doesn’t extend too far down her back. (Riding bareback can be painful to the back too, because the function of the saddle is to even out the rider’s weight rather than have it centered in one spot). A thin pad is better for small horses than a thick one in my experience. I bought a new pad for Carmagirl last year and she grew so depressed on our first ride with it, I thought she was ill. When I changed back to the ten year old one, she was happy again. Go figure.
I have a tucker endurance saddle for Mischief (he bucks like a maniac in his paso show saddle). Not only is his tucker comfortable for him, but it has a higher cantle for me so I can sit deeply if he spooks or bucks. I would not eliminate saddle fit as a prompter for the buck, some horses have a hair trigger for a sensitive spot near their rump. The wrong saddle will make horses frantic to remove the rider.
Again, it is awesome that you are working to correct rather than pass on a problem horse. I don’t think you’ve hit on the right trainer as a good one could really help you. I sure hope some of this helps and that you stay safe. Finding a way to redirect her energy sounds like the best way to address it. Good luck.
Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...