From the Founder
The Hopeful Farm Foundation was founded by Claire Novak, an award-winning Turf writer whose family was impacted by the birth and death of her brother, Nicholas, in 1998. Born with the genetic disorder Trisomy 13, Nicholas only lived for a week – but he inspired Novak to work with children with special needs throughout her teen years. She became a therapeutic riding instructor with the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (now PATH) and also trained therapy horses to work with children with special needs, volunteering much of her time to that worthwhile cause.

Claire has combined her love for horses with her compassion for individuals impacted by special needs. In 2008 her dream became a reality when a dedicated group of individuals came together to form the Hopeful Farm Foundation.

-Claire Novak
Hopeful Farm Founder

Our Board
Claire Novak-Crosby

Claire Novak-Crosby is a registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor with the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association. She is also an award-winning journalist, who has melded her love for human-interest writing and the equine breed into a successful Turf writing career. She maintains connections with esteemed organizations such as ESPN, the Associated Press, Hearst Corporation, and the Blood-Horse Magazine.
Michele Ridenour

Michele Ridenour is an Assistant Director for the equine program at the Stewart Home School, a residential program for individuals with special needs in Frankfort, Ky. She graduated from Asbury University with a Master’s degree in Special Education in 2011 and had already obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Equine Management in 2009. During this time, Michele developed a love and passion for working with students with special needs and using horseback riding as a therapeutic and recreational activity for them. She resides on her family’s farm in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. She is thrilled to be involved in the development of the Hopeful Farm Foundation.
Cathy S. Davis

Cathy Davis cultivated a passion for the horse from a very early age. Spending weekends and summers on the family farm, she grew up riding horses. Throughout the years she built contacts within the Thoroughbred industry and the Central Kentucky farm market, Cathy decided to obtain her real estate license, specializing in Central Kentucky farms and estates. She was drawn to the mission of the Hopeful Farm Foundation because of her experience with two nephews with Autism.
Robert Novak

Robert Novak is the co-owner of Remembrance Press Publishing Company. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Business Administration an Associate’s Degree in Business Management. The father of five children, he began to identify with families impacted by special needs through the birth and death of his son Nicholas, who was diagnosed with Trisomy 13. Mr. Novak has volunteered in therapeutic riding and has been instrumental in the development of Hopeful Farm.
Mary Gordon

Mary Gordon is a project manager for Honeywell Utilities Division’s Wayne, New Jersey branch. An expert in energy management and awareness, she specializes in energy sustainability and green awareness. Ms. Gordon was the Executive Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Northeastern New York Chapter from 2000-2005. She also served as the Campaign Director and Peer Consultant for the Leukemia Society of America’s Upstate New York and Vermont Chapter from 1997-2000, and was actively involved in the development of that organization’s “Light The Night” walk. She graduated from SUNY Empire State College with a Bachelors of Science.
Phyllis Ose

Phyllis Ose is a mother and a grandmother of children that have been diagnosed with Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy. She had her own framing shop for 28 years while living in the Chicagoland area, but now makes her home in Louisville, Ky., where her mission is helping her family in the care of her grandson, Jared, who has IND. Many people know her as “Sonshine the Clown,” as she shares Jesus through her programs to all people from ages 2-92. She has been on many mission crusades teams that have traveled to other countries sharing the gospel. Her heart and hands have always reached out in tenderness and love to little children.