I can also see both sides of things. You don't know what her relationship with the horse was. Maybe she loved him to pieces and is so depressed about his sale that she wants nothing to do with you. Maybe he annoyed her half to death and she's glad to be rid of him.
In any case, your trainer is the best person to ask about those things mostly... and I agree that just because the previous owner used a certain bit does not make it the right bit. I always like to start simple with a three link snaffle and then progress to stronger bits as necessary (and it has to be really necessary).