Reporting by Diane Roberts
ADAMSTOWN, Md. (WUSA 9) -- Nikki Prokopchak is a competitive horse jumper. She's highly ranked in Maryland, Virginia and a region that covers six states.
She's a devoted athlete -- in a sport that's about accuracy, practice and a unique bond between horse and rider.
PHOTOS: Nikki & Response Train at Dream Catcher Farm
For the past year, Nikki has spent about five days a week at Dream Catcher Farm training with her horse Response.
Whether it's practicing in the ring or in competition, Nikki says when she's going over a jump her main focus is on, "doing everything correctly," not only with her form, but with Response.
"He's a real contender. I think that's what makes us work really well together ... I'm just like him in a sense. I'm very competative. I like to win, so I think that combined makes us unstoppable," said Nikki, who has been riding since she was eight years old.
Nikki's trophies and ribbons represent the success she's had in competitions. Her trainer, Melinda Cohen, see's a future for Nikki in riding because of the bond she was able to establish with Response, a headstrong horse.
"Nikki seems to be able to handle that. She never gets rattled, she never loses composure," said Cohen.
Nikki treasures a specific pair of riding gloves -- the ones with JustWorld's logo on them. JustWorld is a charity through which horse jumpers all over the world raise money for children in Honduras, Guatemala, Cambodia and Brazil.
"It makes me more determined to go in the ring and win knowing that if I can win some money for them, it'd be a great outcome," said Nikki.
Nikki will compete at the Atlanta Classics this summer. She is also focussed on her ultimate goals: becoming a professional horse jumper, opening her own barn and jumping at the Grand Prix level.