Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Germany- but not German =D
Instructor, saddle, back, teeth.
4 year old horses have a lot of teeth changes, and aside from taking the watsit out of you, she may actually have pain.
This is something that has to be addressed straight away, for your safety mostly, but also for the stage in this horse's training. If she learns to get away with it now, you will have hell on fire later on. It takes a lot longer to 'undo' a mistake than it does to teach it.
If you can't afford a trainer, I would suggest, once all health checks are ticked, that you get an experienced rider to get on and give her a few wet saddle blankets.
HOWEVER, the horse may pick up on you being the weaker link and revert when you get back on.
If the 12yo refuses to get on trails, and you don't feel confident, then work in the field or sand school until you are happy together. Lead her out in hand, if you have to, get her used to a short trail, and you too. Take another horse and rider along, to give her confidence. And, naturally, wear hat, gloves and put her working bridle on.