As for your comment "o i really have to click while im focusing on jumping a 4 ft fence and holding the reins and holding a crop and steering and staying balanced over my horse ? that is so much more complicated that staying out of my horses way, which im sure she appreciates more !" I hope that's not how you actually jump. It takes a little more work than just getting out of their way. And no you don't need to click, because you don't like CT. But if I were to be teaching my pony to jump well and I was on his back, yes I would click when he did it better - or I'd have a friend on the ground click at the right time to make sure to mark the correct behavior. Also if your concern is about carrying a clicker while riding, yes that's difficult - I don't use a clicker at all I use a smooch noise I make myself so I don't have to carry anything.
Since I do use an actual clicker (permanently attached to my writs with a good elastic band), I really like your idea about having someone else click from the ground. I would even suggest taking it a step further and do as you're doing - to first teach your horse to jump with correct form from the ground, and then jumping under saddle ONLY when it's perfected on the ground so you don't have to worry about all the small details and clicking in mid-air. If done corctly, it should take few to no tries to translate the correct form without a ride to realizing they still have to have correct form with a rider. And, since you already worked out all the details and the horse knows how they're supposed to be jumping, you could click only after the jump is completed. You might not have to do any clicker training in the saddle at all, actually, since they've alread py learned what you expect and now they have to do it without the clicker.
Pressure and release does work well. I'm not arguing that - All I'm saying is CT works also, if you have good timing and reinforce the correct behavior. pressure and release is often screwed up too, it's not a fool-proof training method. I used to work at a hunter barn and at their barn I work with their horses their way (of course). They tell me to back a horse up with a rope halter on and standing in front of him and shaking the rope vigorously. They weren't happy with how vigorously I was shaking the rope until the horse's head was all the way in the air, he was backing aggressively and desperately looking for a way out. He got this treatment everytime he invaded the leader's space. While this method works I found it to be much calmer and more relaxed to teach a horse to back up calmly and quietly. I like my animals to be relaxed and unafraid. Not saying all pressure+release trainers work this way - my point is just that like any training method it can be screwed up too. Also at this barn, it's quite interesting, they put down the idea of clicker training, but they tell me the only way to lead one of their horses from his stall to his paddock safely is by carrying a carrot in front of his nose to make him follow it. They also have a horse who kicks the wall whenever he runs out of food, because it's annoying they give him food whenever he does it. This has obviously taught him to kick the wall more. Positive reinforcement - even unintentional.
I'll add to that in saying clicker training and traditional training with pressure are more powerful together than each on their own. I often use pressure to guide my horse to what I want him to do (like applying pressure to the halter) and then click when the horse does what I'm asking for.
There aren't many steps for a horse to put together with CT, just like a release of pressure the click is a clear marker of the word 'yes' the difference is not all things can be taught with release of pressure. Like targeting.
No one is saying you can't use Pressure+release, it works. The difference is the people who have actually tried CT and done it properly have realized how eager and motivated it makes horses to learn. When I do CT at my rescue I work with 1 pony at a time in a herd of 3, 2 of them are my projects the 3 is a project for a little girl I'm teaching. When I go in I take the one I'm working with the a corner and start - not 2 minutes i the other 2 will be over offering skills to me. If I ask my pony to back up, the other 2 will be backing as well. If I'm not asking anything they'll offer skills, backing up, holding up a hoof, searching for my target, any number of things. It makes me happy to see my horses wanting
to learn. I love to watch their wheels turn as they figure out what it is that I'm looking for. Teaching my mare to Stand was a ball. I would stand out in front of her and say stand, then back away gradually, she would watch me SO intently, looking for what she was supposed to be doing. The click was a surprise to her when she didn't do anything xD. When I stepped to the side and began circling her she'd turn and face me, and not get a click, she was trying SO hard. If I stepped to one side she'd turn, so I'd step back, ad she'd turn back. It was adorable. Now we've reached a good solid Stand. I can be walking her say Stand and she'll stop even if I keep going
LOVE this!! My colt inn a nutshell - he's ALWAYs trying to perform and earn clicks, whether or not I have my clicker with me (and, I might mention, NEVER mugging for treats, either). I'll go out in the pasture and he starts playing the "stand" and "statues" game. We spent a long time on this toward the very beginning of his training and it unintentionally became his "go-to" behavior. It's quite convenient, actually, because he somehow assumed that he should "stand" unless I give him another cue. For instance, if I walk away and want him to follow me I have to cluck to tell him it's ok for him to move his feet. It proved VERY useful the first time I mounted him because he was so used to being a "statue" all the time and ignoring anything I did, even climbing on his back! So now, even though I didn't mean to teach him this behavior as a "defautl", I occasionally renforce it because it's so handy.
I had to laugh when you described your other horses performing even though you weren't working with them - I can so imagine that!