I think if you are going to give a horse some leeway to get used to a place, you do it by FULLY giving them space. So, you don't expect them to behave perfectly, but you don't go working them . You give them the time to work it out on their own.
If you DO work with them, you expect them to have manners that are reasonably the same as they always were.
But, do one or the other, not mixing. either work with them with expectations as you've always had. OR, let them have some time to themselves, with ZERO expections and no handling. But the trouble comes when you mix things;
Etiehr they have freedom, or they don't.
Going back a bit, I'm a bit confused with regard to this statement from Cedar and Salty:
When they got through it, he went and got his rope halter and put Gus to work on the ground in the spooky place. My husband usually doesn't get too shook, but Gus was wound up. When my husband backed him up, he reared up. When my husband tried to yield his hind quarters, he nipped him on the arm. My husband, feeling sorry for poor, scared, 1300 pound Gus, didn't correct those two things.
I do not see the point, long after the fact, in bringing the horse back, on a line, and making him work hard near the thing that scares him. Why does adding pressure and fear into a horse that is already scared help him get over his spookiness? I can see, if at the time, a person rode him back and forth near the spooky thing, disallowing him to wheel and flee, that he might gain confidence, but making it into a 'punishment' sort of work, long after the moment of spooking, to me only inserts increased anxiety.