For all the promise and hope that Jody experiences in The Red Pony, there are a whole lot of bummers coming down the pike, too. For Jody, the happiest moments often come with their fair share of disappointments. And handling both of those two extremes is one of the most important tricks to learn when it comes to growing up.
Sure, Jody's sad that Gabilan's dead, but he's more disappointed in Billy Buck's failure than anything else.
When Billy kills Nellie to save her baby colt, Jody is more than disappointed in the ranch hand, the boy actually hates him.