Carl is presented in this novella as a rather distant and emotionally isolated individual. He is a very hard-working individual, and he does identify that his son has been worthy of receiving some kind of gift. In spite of his lack of involvement with his son, he does have the intuition to know the kind of gift that his son will greatly enjoy, although he himself does nothing to help Jody raise his pony.
Carl however is mostly presented unsympathetically. He fails to discern Gitano's motives for wanting to take his horse into the mountains and Carl is shown to be ruder to Gitano than he is to his horse Easter. Carl's inability to respect others is demonstrated once again when his father-in-law visits and Carl is unable to show him respect. Carl is therfore a brash and belligerent individual who lets everybody know that he is bored with what his father-in-law is saying, and, as a result, breaks his father-in-law's spirit.