The stories in the book are tales of a boy named Jody Tiflin. However, this last story is omitted in the edition the red pony book pdf by Penguin Books. He was a little boy, ten years old, with hair like dusty yellow grass and with shy polite grey eyes, and with a mouth that worked when he thought. He is the son of Carl Tiflin and learns to train horses from his role model Billy Buck.
Billy Buck is a middle-aged man who is experienced with horses. He works for the Tiflins as the stable helper. He was a broad, bandy-legged little man with a walrus mustache The belt showed the gradual increase of Billy’s middle over a period of years. Billy Buck teaches Jody all there is to know about caring for horses. Carl Tiflin is the father of Jody. He likes order and will accept nothing less than a respectable farm. Jody’s tall stern father came in then.
He is strict on Jody, but has a loving touch in him. Gitano is an elderly man who used to live near Jody’s family’s farm. He and Jody meet in front of the farm, and Jody ” into the house for help”. His mother asks Gitano what he wants to do in the ranch. He replies, “‘I will stay here until I die. Tiflin’s father, an old man who lives by the seaside and loves to tell old stories and tall tales about his pioneer days, when he boldly led a wagon train of settlers across the continent. After several weeks of training and getting to know Gabilan, Jody is told by his father that he will be allowed to ride the horse by Thanksgiving.
Jody to watch the pony. In the night, Jody becomes sleepy in spite of his constant worry and drifts off to sleep, forgetting about the open barn door. By the time he awakens, the pony has wandered out of the barn. When Billy arrives, he deems it necessary to cut a hole in the horse’s windpipe so he can breathe.
Jody stays by his side, constantly swabbing out the mucus that clogged the windpipe. After falling asleep, Jody dreams of increasingly powerful winds and wakes up to see that the pony is gone again. Unable to reach the horse in time, he arrives while a buzzard is eating the horse’s eye. In his rage, Jody wrestles with the bird and beats it repeatedly, not stopping until he is pulled off by Billy Buck and his father, though the bird had long since died. The story overall deals with ideas regarding the fallibilities of adults and the entrance into manhood, and the inevitability of death for all living things. He looks with longing at the great mountains, wishing he could explore them. Suddenly, an old Mexican man named Gitano appears, claiming he was born on the ranch.
Gitano requests to stay on the farm until he dies. Carl Tiflin refuses, although he does allow him to stay the night, noting that the old man is very similar to his useless old horse, Easter. That night, Jody secretly visits Gitano. Jody asks if he has ever been to the great mountains, and Gitano says he has but remembers little. The next morning Gitano is gone, as is Easter.
Jody searches the old man’s things, but is disappointed to find no trace of the sharp sword. A neighbor reports seeing Gitano riding the missing horse into the mountains with something in his hand. The adults assume that this is a gun but, as Jody seems to know, it is most likely the rapier. Jody’s father wonders why the man has gone into the mountains and jokes that he saved him the trouble of burying the old horse.
The story ends with Jody filled with longing and sorrow at thoughts of the old man, the rapier, and the mountains. Carl Tiflin thinks it is time for Jody to learn more responsibility, so he arranges for Jody to take the mare Nellie to be serviced at a neighbor’s farm. The stud fee is five dollars and Jody works hard all summer to satisfy the five dollar credit his father held over him. After a few months, Billy Buck determines Nellie is pregnant. While Jody and Billy take care of the mare, Billy states that his mother died in childbirth and he was raised on mares’ milk.
That’s why Billy is supposed to be so good with horses. Jody dreams often about his coming foal. Billy explains that mares are more delicate than cattle and sometimes the foal has to be torn to pieces and removed to save the mare’s life. He thinks of his pony Gabilan, who died of strangles.