SpiritHorse: I’m unsure of this method, approaching and coming back. Are you saying that if I go to walk her away from home and she hesitates, to rein back or just to turn around and start where we began? Wouldn’t she get it into her head that if she hesitates then she gets to go back towards home? If she hesitates to leave home, I encourage her with my voice and legs and she doesn’t take a lot of convincing. By the time we have reached the trail she is fine.
If I bring her back when she hesitates, do I walk her to the same spot where she hesitated and bring her back again if she objects.
If she is indeed unconfident, as it sounds like to me at least, this will work. Say you are afraid of heights. You and I are on a hike and we come to a cliff where you can look down and see all the trees, it's beautiful. You don't want to go near the cliff but I tell you, "Come on! Just come look! It's okay, just come here." You say no, so I start physically pushing you. What would your reaction be? To panic and fight me probably. Would you trust me after that? Probably not.
It's the same with horses. Horses have thresholds, it's where they tell you, "Oh I don't feel confident going any further." If at that point you push them they will lose confidence and that's when you see horses start to jig, bolt, or otherwise act up. If it is indeed unconfidence, you ask her to walk and at the moment she gets worried you turn her around and take her back to the point where she feels relaxed
. Then you can have her wait and just rub her. You want her to stand still but if she has to move her feet go back a little further. Then when she is calm ask her forward again.
If this is unconfidence she will not learn that she can get away with anything. That's like people saying a horse learns to spook to get out of work, it's just not true. When she realizes that you understand her unconfidence and you won't push her past her thresholds she will become very willing. The fact that she bolts when you turn to go home, and not before that, is also interesting. That would lead me to believe that she is an obediant horse by nature, so she does what you ask, but that her anxiety about being away from home has built and built for the whole ride and when she knows you are going home it just gets to be too much.