Isn't it nice to be proud of even small accomplishments? That's a good way to look at things.
I do hack out alone a fair amount, but I don't have to go on a road. We have lots of trails nearby. So, I commend you on your bravery.
One thing that I discovered with my Appy (I ride two appy's, but one is more volitile than the other. He's the one in my avatar.)
Anyway, Mac would do this spinning thing when we came upon something in the trail that he wasn't sure about. I think it was really bad for a while becasue he was getting grain that made him jumpy. ONly hay now.
Anyway, he would see something, kind of suck himself downward (like gettting ready to spring) and then he would stop, bounce off of is front feet and spin out form under me so fast I would be picking my landing spot on the way down.
At first, in my effort to NOT transmit any feeling of nervousness, when I felt him getting worried, I would DO NOTHING. I would try not to change in any way how I was riding. Good, in theory, but what happened was that I had LEFT him. He was at a place where he was afraid and not sure what to do and I was leaving him in a vacuum where in HE had to make the decision as to how to deal with the scary thing. Naturally, he decided to save his own life and he spun out of there.
What I discoveredx is that I need to be very aware of when he needs me to be there and help him make the decision that it's ok to not run away. There's just a moment where he isn't sure and if I step in and pick up ONE rein and put ONE leg on, it kind of fills that vacuum with something and relieves him from needing to make a decision. Mostly he will listen and drop the idea of running away. Sometimes he needs to stop and llisten or thing about it, and I let him. But I will NOT let him spin and turn away from the scary thing. Neither will I force him to sniff it. I wait until he is ready to move forward.
Things have gotten so much better. I just have to remember that sometimes doing nothing is not the right thing.