In grad school, my Bayesian stats professor frowned upon what he called the practice of “stargazing” — that is, staring at the p-values of your model results to determine what predictors were informative or not. He called it stargazing because many academic journals use asterisks next to results to indicate their significance level (* = p < 0.05, ** = p < 0.01, *** = p < 0.001; TLDR you want more stars/a smaller p-value). This professor was more interested in effect sizes and model error, which makes a lot of sense. You can have a very statistically significant predictor with a biologically irrelevant effect size. Which doesn’t make that predictor very good, in reality. Or you can have a predictor with a massive effect size and large error bars that mean it ultimately isn’t statistically significant, but might be worth further investigation. He made a whole R package called “stargazing” that reinterpreted the results of models with little asterisks just to make people happy.

Most of my stargazing now revolves around trying to find shapes in stars. For a long time I thought Murray’s looked a little bit like a horse jumping a fence with his rider climbing waaaay up his neck. A horse with no tail, I guess.

with the purple as the deformed-ish horse and the blue as the rider!

But now I think it looks more like a fetus or newborn kangaroo, which delights me.

I love a good star. There are some classic shapes — the diamond (Wonder from the Thoroughbred series, right?!), the heart. A friend’s horse had the most adorable balloon on a string.

Eugene has one of the greatest stars I’ve ever seen — like a little sunburst.

or a hairy little seed!
Eugene also meets my “makes me look good in selfies” standards

And I’ve seen a couple of horses online lately whose long star-stripe combos look like germinating seeds which I LOVE. I couldn’t find any to post here, but they are particularly delightful.

Jag has a perfect #1.

This guy’s looks like a rose! ❤

Image may contain: sky, horse and outdoor

I told my husband that if we ever find a horse or a puppy with an Airbender star, I’m automatically allowed to have it. He agreed because it’s so improbable.

I also personally swore to myself that if I found a horse with a star shaped like the continents of Africa or Australia that I’d definitely at least give them a second and third look. Or if it looks like a gang symbol. Or something obscene.

Image result for airbender appastars just really don’t normally make arrows that point down

I saw a horse at the track with just the best star once! It was a classic diamond, but had been interrupted horizontally in the middle by a line of brown hair. It was fascinating! I also loved him because he was being very Murray-ish about standing around in the paddock. I have no idea what his name was, sadly.

What does your horse’s star (or face marking) look like? What are the best stars you’ve seen? Show them to me! I love stargazing now.

13 thoughts on “stargazing”

  1. Cinna was born with a backwards question mark star, but you can’t see it anymore (because, grey) 😭. My husband’s gelding has a blaze, but I don’t think it looks like anything interesting, and my two bays have no face markings. Boring.


  2. I need that R package in my life! Rico has the tiniest star, like seven white hairs. And TC is gray so his markings are always changing, I should look further into his dapples though, it would be like a Rorschach test lol


  3. Moe has a star and stripe, which I’ve always thought looked like a golf ball on a tee; the children who ride him tell me they think it looks like an ice cream cone!


  4. One of the horses at the barn has what was probably a cute balloon on a string when he was a foal. Now it’s… um…. not a balloon. Let’s call it a tadpole. With a very long, thin tail. Yes. A tadpole.

    Anyway. lol Cess has a tiny, tiny little star and a huge snip that very carefully doesn’t touch either nostrils or her lip. It cracks me up.


  5. The horse that I lease has a big snip and a star in the shape of a lightning bolt. The kids at the yard call him the Harry Potter Horse.


  6. Uhh that first paragraph went way over my head lol.

    I don’t even remember what Chrome’s star looks like since he went gray… guess it’s a good excuse to go look at old baby pictures!! I’ve always personally been a huge fan of the snip. My Appy mare growing up had a big perfect snip on her nose and I think that’s where my love comes from. A star/snip combo is nice too. 😀


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