Get Your Arse in Gear Now! Join a Motivational Mastermind

Wow! Even I am motivated after reading that heading! And I wrote it.

The Headline Analyser said my previous title was only worth 69% and needed an uncommon word in it. I thought “Arse” would have counted. Apparently not. I Googled uncommon words. “Now” counted. A lot. Doesn’t seem a particularly uncommon word to me, especially as I had a cat called Now. He pointed at his mouth a lot.

That one word shot the percentage from 69 all the way up to 93! Just one teeny tweak to go from “meh” to “MOTIVATED!” and an opening paragraph was created. Which makes one wonder what comes first. Motivation or success?

The answer to a similar question is … egg.

The egg came first. There were lots of egg-laying creatures on the planet before chickens existed. So perhaps the magic solution for success is to have lots of tiny, practice eggs so you can have one big fu(k-off chicken.

At night, as I lie in bed with cats stepping on every rib and crushing a nipple on their way to the pillow, I visualise the horsey things I will achieve the following day. Sometimes I manage to do some of them. But sometimes I just say, “phleef, comfy bed stay here soft nice place me.”

I was even lacking the motivation to write this article about motivation. I was in negative impetus. But it is for this very reason I felt I had to do it.

Here are some of the things I said to myself to get motivated to write this motivational work of art:

  • Come on Ellie! It will be fun once you start
  • It does not have to be perfect. It just needs to be done. You can always edit it later
  • If you write just three paragraphs it will be better than it was

Here are some of the things I did instead of writing this article:

  • Plucked my beard. Warning! My beard may be due to menopause and testosterone being relatively higher than oestrogen in my little Welsh body. But it also may be because I wondered if eating my horses’ Biotin supplements would give me back my fabulous glossy mane. It did not. It turned me into a werewolf
  • Squeezed a zit. My hormones are more confused than I am
  • Cleaned the house. This may appear to be an extreme displacement activity but it is ok because at some future point writing an article will be a displacement activity for something else

I am not alone here. We have all suffered a dearth of ambition to a greater or lesser extent at some point in our lives.

Normally, I am a highly driven person. Let me give you a couple of examples:

Many years ago, I used to start work at 6 am at a vet clinic 11kms away. My mode of transport? A mountain bike. Each morning I woke up at 4.30 am and watched motivational videos before zooming through the dark countryside to do the dirty job of mopping up amniotic fluids, blood, shit, and dead bodies (they were admittedly more difficult to mop up).

You could say I was determined to bring about a positive change in my life. Dissatisfaction certainly motivates. That was almost a decade ago. I still shovel shit – only now it is for pleasure.

Only a few years ago I was getting up at silly past daft o’clock, doing the rounds of my horses before driving 90kms to arrive at work at 8.30 am to shovel up the super posh showjumper shit that came out of horses who competed at the likes of The Mediterranian Equestrian Tour in Oliva and Barcelona International. To then drive home, tack up my enormously less-posh horses and try to emulate my boss.

I did this 7 days a week. The motivation was maintained at maximum momentum at age 50.

Momentum /mə(ʊ)ˈmɛntəm/ – the quantity of motion of my moving body is getting less by the year. My mass is getting bigger at the same rate my velocity is getting slower.

Ellie’s Menopausal Dictionary

Why can’t I do it now aged 56 with 200kms a day less driving involved?

I now have a zero km commute and achieve far less per day. I don’t even need to go outside to check on the horses. There is usually a head or two poking in through various windows. Sometimes I wake up in the night with a 17hh Belgian Warmblood dribbling chewed grass onto my face because I forgot to close the window by the bed.

Luckily, there are some amazing articles out there on the mechanics of motivation. Modern coaches are geared up with an armoury of psychological cattle prods designed to keep you motivated until the proverbial cows come home. This article is about how I see it. About what works for me. And explained via the mind of a woman fighting with her cardigan.

Jumpers are now simply people and horses who jump things. And why do we call pull-overs jumpers? After all, you pull it over your head. You don’t jump into the garment. Even if you were supposed to, I would probably get 4 faults for a circle and eliminated for falling before the finish line.

And now I have side-tracked myself for a second time and can’t remember what I was writing. Sheep!! Sheep jump and jumpers are made from sheep. Well, wool. Sheep are made from wool. See what I mean? Brain dead!

I feel the need for more control of the outcomes in my life. The desire for that control is not enough. I need to actively DO something. To persist in doing something with an intensity almost to the point of obsession. It is a horseperson thing. It is this trait that makes us argue the toss with each other on social media about bits and rugs and shoes and food and training and, and, and whether or not you should click or cluck or kiss noise at your horse, wheelbarrow, mother and other random old people in supermarkets.

But then I have mini-burnouts and my momentum dissipates like a fart in the wind. A horse fart of course.

Theoretically, older riders are more able to recognise that they have control over their destiny. They can effect change via decisions. I know I can go to a show even though my Landie is fu(ked because I know I can hire a lorry for the weekend. And as a responsible adult, the hire company will say yes.

According to that premise, I should recognise why I am motivated to do something and, hugely more importantly, why I am losing the motivation to do something I love.

What drives human behaviour?

How can we create that behaviour? What approaches/technology increase endeavour? How come it is easier to train my horse than myself?

Motivation psychologists exist! Let’s use the buggers to help us tackle bigger and better jumps or dressage tests or any of the crazy-pants American disciplines that look ace and mad in equal measures.

I am going to learn how to barrel race! (Note to reader – if you have a pic of you barrel racing, please may I put it here? Leave a message in the comments section below.)(Another note to reader – since writing this I tried it on my Welsh Mountain pony. I think he has missed his vocation. He is brilliant at it. My stirrup irons bang on the barrels as he goes around them.)

I watched millions of videos and read masses of articles over the years in a bid to turn myself into a Super Achiever. I can’t remember who said what and when and about whom. But then I can’t remember the name of the large ginger cat sitting on the end of my bed until I have gone through the names of 15 other creatures in rapid-fire succession, punctuated by frustrated swearwords. (Since I am doing update edits I can inform you he is called Jamie. He does not have a magic torch.)

I remember my grandmother doing the same thing while trying to remember my name. She usually got to it via many cousins and many more border collies. Until I was 8 years old I suspected my name might be Larco and should be herding sheep into a pen.

Extrinsic motivation is a fancy pants way of saying you are motivated by treats, rewards, bribes, booze, fags, a pat on the head by pretty much anyone who will give you attention, sex, etc, etc, etc.

This is not a bad thing in my opinion even though most motivation psychologists seem to hint that it might be. Or if not bad then not as good as the other kind. But if it works and no one gets hurt, then how can it be bad? So what if you get drunk, fat, and laid?

Our way of perceiving ourselves and our world influences our motives. I noticed years ago that I am a people pleaser. I see this as coming under extrinsic motivation.

I also noticed that I am far more likely to get out of bed at 5 am to help a friend than I am to help myself. I made the decision that I will, forever more, treat myself as I treat others.

I made a motivational tick chart calendar and gave myself a big red tick each time I got out of bed before 6 in the morning. Then it occurred to me that if my 9-year-old student made me a glittery unicorn version of the same thing I would be far more likely to actually get out of bed. I can’t lie to this child.

Nina made me a Unicorn Get Out of Bed Calendar

I am better at motivating others than myself. Enter A Cunning Plan. I tried to encourage all my friends to do the very thing I wanted to do.

Since they are my peer group they already want to ride horses. And go to competitions. They just need a push. I can help them as they unknowingly (until they read this) help me. Mmmm. Isn’t that the other M-word? Manipulation? Nooooo. Mastermind!

When you live alone in a massive field with only cats, horses, and one old, blind dog for company, you start to drift away from reality. You are supposed to resemble the 5 people you spend the most time with. This is why my online peer group are such an important motivating factor for me. After a conversation with one of them, I feel myself sitting taller and searching for a future horse show to aim for instead of accidentally peeing on the cat and eating poo.

I have started hanging my competition clothes on the bedroom door. I also discovered that I can now hire a lorry from a place 10 minutes from my home which means I do not have to turn up in a knackered (and now illegal) Land Rover pulling an (always was in France) illegal Rice trailer. I can turn up in a brand new Opal Movano 2-place lorry. Fancy Pants Ellie Phants!!! Waaaaaay better than it was!

Intrinsic motivation is something that some researchers say you are just born with. And since I was intent on coercing my buddies to get off their arses and come to horse shows with me and do all the training involved in preparing for such a thing, we can safely say I have this kind of motivation inherently fixed into my personality. But! Bollocks to being born with it as the only option for having it.

Surely with enough extrinsic motivation, you can learn to be self-motivated. There is an entire self-help industry out there thriving precisely because you can learn to motivate yourself. If the course wants you to stay dependent on them it has another name.

A cult.

But if you feel differently, then please let us know in the comments section at the end. There is a cake in it for you. (There is no cake.)

As motivated as I am, I am lacking direction. You need to know where to focus that motivation for it to work correctly. I just witnessed an example of this that ended in a needless death.

I had just sat down with a cup of very hot coffee with honey when a wasp dive-bombed my drink. I didn’t even know there was a wasp in the room. That was one motivated insect. But without a friend to put out a friendly leg and say “Wait, little buddy. Think it through. Let’s plan a strategy.”

We can do it on our own. But it is probably quicker and more fun if we have at least one buddy to help us get there even if a hot, sticky death is not on the cards.

Motivation/məʊtɪˈveɪʃ(ə)n/ – the need to be a Super Achieving (insert discipline) phenomenon who is so moved to action that people bow down in awe at the spectacularness of it all. And to do it all before you are dead.

Ellie’s Menopausal Dictionary

Many gurus say you must go outside of your comfort zone to improve. I disagree. I say stay firmly in it. Stay comfortable. Stay as safe as possible when riding a huge prey animal convinced werewolves exist.

Instead, work on expanding your comfort zone little by little until you can do a PSG test, jump a 1m45 course, or hurl yourself into a massive water jump from off of the top of a mountainous mountain thingie at events such as Badminton or Burghley.

Do it bit by bit.

Someone once said, “Incremental achievements done consistently and daily create great change” or something near to that. I base my life on that. And have done for a long time.


It is where my mantra of “It’s better than it was!” originates.

Every day I try to improve at least 3 things. They might be tiny changes. But as long as they are for the better, then tiny is ok.

A very depressed friend wanted to fix something but did not have the energy to do it. I told him to just think about which tools he needed on the first day. On the second day find them. On the third day put them next to where he was going to do the task. (Luckily, he did not have an annoying partner who follows you around “tidying up” after you.)

You get the idea.

Bit by bit. Generally, if you only give yourself a small task to complete, the chances are you will do more than you set out to do and this success will give you more motivation. A little practice egg inside an expanding comfort chicken.

I fail to see how you can enjoy yourself if you use fear as a self-motivator.

If we want to motivate ourselves to be better horse people, better riders, better trainers, and better business owners, I assume we are not at the bottom of Maslow’s Motivation Pyramid. The only reason our basic needs are not being met is because we spent all our money on bloody horses!

Therefore, we are at the self-respect, self-esteem, ego-driven, self-actualization bit and a bit of dignity would not go amiss. So shitting yourself every time you ride is not the way to go. I strongly believe that as your confidence grows so does your motivation. Another good reason to do this in a group. Moral support is important.

I have a motivational buddy who lives about an hour and a half away. We motivated each other to stop drinking, focus on coursework, and develop healthy mindsets to help us achieve our goals.

Her help is worth her weight in gold. And for a nutter, she is very good at keeping me sane and balanced.

It might seem like an odd thing for me to say in an article about motivation but don’t go too far the other way either. You don’t want to be running about like a blue-arsed fly. I see some people achieving way more than is normal in one day. Which is fine if you can do that without running yourself ragged.

To them what I achieve in 24 hours is just a warm-up exercise.

One of my friends is like this. When I arrive at her place her stress levels hit me in the face. It is like walking into a solid wall of energy. And bad energy at that.

Stress energy.

Unsurprisingly, she has a very poor relationship with her horse. I prefer to achieve less daily but achieve quality. Do your goals suit your lifestyle? Because if they don’t something has to give. And it should not be your heart.

I want to make a living from writing to spend more time just being.

I refuse to get all bent out of shape if things are not going my way as fast as these online lifestyle gurus insist they should.

My life is better than it was.

That is my battle cry: “It is better than it was!”

Joyce Henry. aged 70, and her 23-year-old horse, George

Last advice from the lady in the comfy cardigan:

  • Don’t fixate on stuff you cannot control. That way madness lies
  • Create performance strategies to achieve your goals. Set goals.
  • Own your errors. And learn from them! If you rode poorly because you got drunk in the beer tent don’t blame the course-builder
  • Know how good you are. Don’t go all ego on it but be honest with yourself. Be proud of yourself. Believe in yourself
  • Treat problems as challenges. They are more fun that way
  • Get a good coach who understands that you want to achieve, achieve, achieve and is capable of helping you get there
  • Get a peer group, create a mastermind or join one that already exists
  • Maintain a sense of humour

All together now…

“Fu(k Off! It’s better than it was!”

The Mare-o-pausal Battle Cry

A HOOGE thank you to all the incredible ladies whose photographs feature in this article. I asked the members of the Facebook Group ShiteDressageUnited if anyone had a picture I could use for a social media campaign to advertise this article. The response was phenomenal. Not only did I get hundreds of photos but hundreds of amazing stories. They were so inspirational.

Thank you so much!


If you enjoyed this article then please leave a comment and share on social media. And if you would like to buy any Mare-o-pausal Merch then click on the image below to see Our Fabulous Shop!


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14 thoughts on “Get Your Arse in Gear Now! Join a Motivational Mastermind”

    1. Hi Carol. Thank you so much. I am so glad you loved my article. Anne and the other ladies are so motivational. I was very pleased when they all agreed to be part of this Mare-o-pausal Motivational Mastermind.

    1. Tell us here and tell us NOW!! In fact, it is about time we had another article from you, madame. In case you had not gathered, Silke is one of the mare-o-pausal writers. Tell her to tell us what happened to her this summer.

  1. My motivation comes from Nicola Smith in New Zealand who has put together an amazing set of core strength and yoga exercises for dressage riders (Dressage Rider Training). I started in January 2019 and never looked back. At 63 (I know for sure!) I am stronger, fitter, more supple and fluid than in the past 40 years! Now I am looking for my first horse to complement all the work I have put in as a rider! Great article and I guess you could say I found my internal motivation first and now hoping to combine with external motivation: my first horse!

  2. Wow Ellie, that’s a great article! And it speaks to those of us beyond the horsey sisterhood, believe me. I’m 71 and while my inherited arthritic hips forbid me from mounting a horse, I do feel motivated to get up and feed the cat, then clear my brown Sussex garden of all the parched plants and research drought tolerant plants – I already have an olive tree. Thank you m’dear!

    1. Excellent article! One to keep coming back to on those days when you have lost your direction.

      Ps I think special recognition should go to you and how you motivate Lotus after exercise! 🙂

  3. Thanks for sending me the link to the article Ellie, it was a good read! I think we’re all a bit hard on ourselves though at times, it’s not the end of the world to have those meh times too, sometimes our bodies and brains need that down time.

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