He actually is trained with rollkur--there are several clips of it on the internet that I've seen myself. Search the COTH boards.
And yes, he is behind the vertical a majority of the time--the poll is not the highest point.
When you are looking straight on and can see his poll and then the neck behind it
, he is behind the vertical.
Watch his head bob when the trot gets slower--this is the reason why he has a massive front end. He is pushing off the ground with his front legs and lifting with his neck. There should be no bob of the head
at the trot--all of you know this.
He doesn't sit at all in the piaffe, he just moves his legs. Kind of like how a WP moves his legs in the cadence of a lope, but there is no actual lope motion. This is what the piaffe looks like when taught as a clever trick.
What is this? Behind the vertical, high rump, everything out in front and nothing
Still behind the vertical, rump high, angles not matching...
Nothing behind, again.
Huge impurity of the trot, with the hind hitting the ground far further
than the front, making the trot a 4-beat gait. A sign of tension (which, when you look at his back and neck, is expected). Toe flicking, which is a sign of exhausted muscles.
Please note the use of the curb in these extended trot
photos. It should never
be perpendicular with the horse's mouth. A curb, with no pressure on it, should rest like this:
Compare to the usage of the curb (which is to refine and lift lightly...). Also compare to the use of Anky's curb, if you'd like. That's what qualifies to me as 'deathgrip'.
There are many many pictures like the ones I have shown above. Everyone can take a bad picture. There is no doubt this horse is talented, but this is what modern dressage does to a talented horse. Please look at other tests where Totilas explodes for one or two movements, earning 1s, 2s, and 3s. A horse at this level should have no 'explosions'.
There are times, in tests with talented horses and rollkur riders, where the horse attempts to lift his head and the base of his neck and work the way he is supposed to--but these moments are limited to a stride or two before the ride clamps back on the reins. There should never
be as much head and neck movement in a test at the trot that we see--this is an uncomfortable horse, this is a horse trying to raise the base of his neck, this is what a horse looks like when he is pulled into contact.
Please look to the walk portion of this test. The horse immediately drops far
behind the vertical because there is no 'push' to jam his head up. Watch the rider try to jerk him back up (slightly), attempting to not be seen by the judges, but not wanting his horse to look like a macaroni noodle.
Watch at the riders hands come forward and out to the sides. Watch how the horse wants no parts
of reaching into the contact; rather this horse is being 'funneled' down. Ask any western pleasure rider--we all know how to funnel a horse's head and neck down. And that's exactly what this rider is doing--he
is keeping the contact, because at this high a level... apparently it's not the horse's job anymore.
It's a shame what modern dressage has produced; and that flash is all people can see.