I find that when people do not want to talk about whys and hows it is often a sign of just not wanting to be convinced. You can't debate that, can't engage.
Oh, beautifully put, Annaliese! I think you're absolutely right.
Love the replies here -- as I look back at the original comment, I'm struck by the fact that not only is "connection" a very specific definition (horse - bit - rider) but also that self-carriage is somehow seen as less, and suggests that there is no connection between horse and person when it happens. What I infer from her statement is that a horse with good self carriage with a rider on his back without a bit-built "connection" is simply a happy accident -- that the person can have no impact for good or bad on how the horse moves unless the bit is there, and therefore somehow this isn't successful dressage.
To me, this confusion is a really good example of how our goals can flip around and get backwards on us -- the point of connection, as I understand it, in dressage, is to ASSIST the horse in self-carriage, not replace it. Connection is the tool, not the goal. (To my mind, this is the same backwards argument supporting things like rolkur...the point isn't to get the over-rounded neck -- in true collection that emerges through the whole body, as an element of collection not its point.)
I also think it's a literalizing of what connection can mean. The easiest way, certainly, to think about connection is with something on the head/bit in the mouth.
But the trouble maker in me asks that if it's only possible to do with those tools, why aren't there similar tools on the hind end? If humans are able to affect how the horse moves in the hind without tack communicating directly, why in the world does that connection require tack on the face/in the mouth?
(And I agree with Danee about the big question marks about how horses with "difficult mouths" shouldn't ever explore dressage????
Another end vs. means different understanding for me, at least, about dressage -- and I think she lands firmly in the dressage show world with her last comments -- she seems to be excited about the competitive sport of dressage and her goals with it, not the art of dressage as a benefit for any horse and rider.
Very different perspective than I have, at least...
"Ours is the portal of hope. Come as you are." -- Rumi www.imaginalinstitute.com