RiccilOve I use that same system for exploring new trails. Also, if you're behind a few horses like the OP is, you can always find tracks even if they are not shod. Just have to be observant. Have had that happen before and found our way back no problem just by looking for those tracks and "apples" along the way!
I did discover a new trail once that got me turned around for some reason. T knew exactly where to go as soon as I turned her and gave her more rein. We were back at the main trail in a blink of an eye. I think she was a bit annoyed with my lapse of bearing at the time!