Any clarification on that advice? Is it better to go out a little bit and head back and try to make it longer trips each time or does that encourage him to freak out so that he gets to go back?
As long as your horse thinks that going back is your idea and not his, it's OK. Similar to disciplining your horse with an immediate response so they associate their action and discipline, you want to insure that they don't associate
their action (bucking, backing, etc) with going back. At the very least, make him stop, stand, and wait until he relaxes a bit before going back. Do simple stuff (turns, etc) if there is room, or you can even dismount, take a break for a few minutes and then mount to go back.
Also, try and figure out why your horse is barn sour. In my experience, I've seen two types... 1) ones that just want to be back with their buddies and 2) ones that are afraid to be out alone. I look at the eyes...if they have that wide eyed, terrified look when you keep pushing them forward, you've got a #2.
For #1, I'll push them along and take the time to 'wait them out' until they realize that I'm not
going back yet. Eventually, they do give in and they're fine.
For #2, I'll push them to their limit, stop and relax them, and try and push them a little further, find another path, or go back. You don't want a fight with a scared horse because they've stopped 'thinking', instinct has taken over, and you'll lose. I'll keep taking the exact same path over and over until it does get to be routine.