I'm invisible when he spooks
This is my first post so, first of all, HI!
OK, down to business. I've been working with my 4 year old QH for a little less than a year. He was a rescue and hadn't had a whole lot done with him before that. I've been working with horses for 25 years, but this is the first I have started more or less from scratch. I started him under saddle in January. As he has a messed up foot (from a long-ago trailer accident - but he manages very well with it), I plan to use him as a trail horse only. I use sort of a mish-mash of NH techniques from different people and methods - but most of it pretty well resembles Parelli philosophies.
We have an awesome bond. His attention is always with me when I am working with him. When he sees something new and scary, he typically spooks in place, investigates the object, and quickly stops caring about it. He's very curious. However, when he finds something really really scary (for him, a donkey is a good example), all of a sudden it seems as if he no longer knows I'm there. Since the idea is for him to look to me for the next move, I'm not sure how to fix this when he's so panicked. He is just desperate to take off running. Otherwise, he tends to be a pretty relaxed guy, even out on his first short trail rides. I'm doing my best to de-sensetize him to everything I can think of, but obviously we're bound to run into unfamiliar things now and then on the trail, and I don't want it to be a big, dangerous crisis every time.
What can I do to improve our connection further so that he looks to me when he's losing his mind in terror?