Trail Legend: I Gotta Good Name

Trail Legend: I Gotta Good Name

This bay gelding excelled at trail for two decades.

A woman in a colorful vest with a blue shirt rides a bay horse across a green and white trail pole at AQHA Select World.
(Journal photo)

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By Jessica Carr for The American Quarter Horse Journal

As the saying goes, work hard, nap harder. I Gotta Good Name works pretty hard, so his naps must be amazing.

As of March 2020, "Sampson" had 873.5 amateur points, 1,115.5 open points and 148.5 youth points for a lifetime total of 2,137.5 points earned in competition.

The 1997 bay gelding by Vested Pine and out of Tender Angie by Tender Teddy was bred by Michel and Vicky Clites of Brookings, South Dakota, and he is owned by Susan K. Johns of Paradise Valley, Arizona.

Susie and Sampson were Select reserve world champions in trail in 2013, 2014 and 2017. Susie’s son Jeffrey was reserve world champion in amateur with Sampson in 2010, and Susie’s son Trevor was Level 2 reserve champion in amateur trail in 2016.

Sampson was the 2004 world champion in senior trail with AQHA Professional Horseman Jim Searles in the saddle. He has earned four Superiors in trail – one each with Jeffrey and Trevor when they competed in youth, plus one open and one amateur Superior.

Sampson’s daily work duties consist of him overseeing the operations of the ranch from his corner stall with a view so he can see everything that goes on at the ranch. He makes sure everything is in pecking order while keeping all of the new foals in line, which is probably why he also received the nickname “Grandpa.”

After a long hard day of work, he likes to retire to his stall so he can eat his hay while lying down, and when he is at shows, he doesn’t change his routine for anyone.

“We always laugh about whether I’m going to be showing him before his nap or right after his nap,” Susie says. “But he’s definitely a world champion in my mind.”

Now retired, I Gotta Good Name doesn’t like to be left behind. He nickers as the other horses load on the trailer because he is ready to go, too.

Susie says the key to Sampson’s longevity is the program that AQHA Professional Horsemen Jim and Deanna Searles have set up for him.

“The philosophy is the horse always comes first,” Susie says.

Sampson never required a lot of riding because he knew his job.

 “I think everyone would love to have a barn full of Sampsons that anyone can ride,” Susie says.  “He has a forever home with us, and he’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse with a great personality.