It seems human nature to demonize and deify. And it also seems to go both ways. The rk side holds the classicists up as "fanatics" and "PETA troublemakers" while deifying Anky. Painful and unrealistic, I agree.
I think the thing is that Anky is slammed for RK for all the problems decided by the anti rk side and the classical people are held up to be saints.
This is interesting, and I have heard this argument before. It bears thinking about. I think it is hard for some of the traditionalists to see the ends of rollkur without seeing the means. For years, they were warned against poll too low, or BTV or pulling the head around by classical instructors and in text after text. To me, what is fascinating about rollkur is the rider's ability to get the horses poll back up and to show them as correctly as they do.
I think it is a style of horse that is popular for dressage, at the moment, that no matter how you train it will have the same disfavor among the traditionalists.
Having been traditionally trained, when I saw a horse extend the trot and the front/hind legs do no match in the stride, it was called impure by traditional standards. In the same way, when I don't see the haunches lower in the transitions from extended trot back to collected trot. Is that a transition at all in the purest sense of the traditions we learned?
That's the argument. The horses are being trained for competition rather than the ultimate aim of the airs. So the piaffe can be more horizontal, etc. To me, the issue is the hypocrisy, the difference between what the rules say and what the judges reward. The scores don't always reflect an adherence to the FEI rules.
The things that we were taught in traditional training are not "reality" for the horses that are being trained today. Not the classical trained horses or the RK trained horses.
But, do you think it is the fault of the type of horses, the fault of the judges, the fault of the rules or some combination? In other words, if the top riders were zinged in the scores everytime the horses went BTV or poll low the way I used to be zinged 20 years ago, do you think the scores would be so high? Do you think the same winners would be on top? Would the horses be moving better or worse? Why can't the classical principles be a reality?
They say this method is cyclic, comes and goes about every 20 years.
Maybe 20 years from now, the horses will be bred for the ability to be trained more in the traditional codes.
I do believe there are intrinsic differences in some of the ways the horses go when trained traditionally and trained with rollkur. The pedestalling piaffe is one. The four beat canter pirouette is another. The four beat trot is another. I suspect the prevalance of hind leg/front legs not matching in trot extensions is another, although like you I see that one from just about everybody when they really go for it and their horse doesn't. On the plus side, I have a gut feeling that rollkur really improves the passage on some of these horses. I will investigate that more.
But for now, to blame a system of training on a horse's way of going holds vain endeavor to slander when the same style horse trained from the traditional codes goes much the same way.
It's important for riders to know that when the neck is shortened, the balance of the horse changes and this impacts the purity of the gaits. By some trick of magic, Anky and other great rollkur riders are (usually) able to bring the poll back up and lengthen the neck to show. Amazing.