The Red Pony
How we cite our quotes:
Jody did not ask where his father and Billy Buck were riding that day, but he wished he might go along. His father was a disciplinarian. Jody obeyed him in everything without questions of any kind. (1.7)
Early on, we get a pretty clear sense of Jody's feelings for both men. The boy obeys his father without question, but when it comes to Billy Buck, he just wants to hang out. It's difficult to imagine here that Jody wants to ride along with them so that he can be with his Dad. In fact, it's almost as if he is somewhat afraid of Carl. But still he wishes he could go with them because he admires what they are doing and wants to be a man someday, too.
Six boys came over the hill half an hour early that afternoon, running hard, their heads down, their forearms working, their breath whistling. They swept by the house and cut across the stubble-field to the barn. And then they stood self-consciously before the pony, and they looked at Jody with eyes in which there was a new admiration and a new respect. Before today Jody had been a boy, dressed in overalls and a blue shirt—quieter than most, even suspected of being a little cowardly. And now he was different. Out of a thousand centuries they drew the ancient admiration of the footman for the horseman. (1.50)
Now Jody's friends find something to admire in him. Of course it's nothing about Jody per se—it's just the sheer fact that he has a pony all to himself. Nevertheless, Jody's totally eating up all their fawning. And hey, what kid wouldn't?
Jody listened carefully, for he knew and the whole county knew that Billy Buck was a fine hand with horses. Billy's own horse was a stringy cayuse with a hammer head, but he nearly always won first prize at the stock trials. Billy could rope a steer, take a double half-hitch about the horn with his riata, and dismount, and his horse would play the steer as an angler plays a fish, keeping a tight rope until the steer was down or beaten. (1.68)
Welp, whatever all that means it sounds like Billy is an ace with horses and Jody just loves to watch him work. It's good for a boy to have a role model and if he can't find something to admire in his father, Billy will have to do. Let's just hope he doesn't let the kid down—oh wait.