Re: riding in new areas
I'd agree wtih SarahEsen to do groundwork and make sure your horse is 100% listening to you before you head out. My youngster was okish out, but got cocky and bargy if he ever learnt something new or got a bit frightened. I did lots of groundwork with him and now *touch wood* he's a gem. It really is a case of you know your horse best, so act in the moment to what you think is best for them.
A lot of people recommend leading, but with my Cob who's 16, if I get off him, he seems to know I'm safe and will bomb home. If I stay on him, he's much more likely to stick around. He's extremely sensitive and although you can see him trying to be brave, he gets frightened with new places. The way I tackle it with him is I use distraction and change his mindset by saying 'hey, look, this place means good things!' and so I give him a treat in this new place for the first time.
Start off small, and build up, and always try and circle back, rather than stop and turn as this will encouage napping. Even if it means doing a big circle round a tree and then heading home xx