How it all started:
In 1948, a young man from Friesland left his native land and
everything he knew. This young man was Frank Leyendekker. He left his hometown
of Witsmarsum, and was bound for the United States.
††††††† As a
young man in Friesland, Frank worked with Friesian horses every day, mowing and
raking hay and hauling crops to market were just a few of the daily chores that
they did together.
the United States, Frank established his
own dairy in California. He began the strenuous
work of importing the first Friesian horses to his new home. Many obstacles had
to be overcome. First he had do get through The Friesian Registry, which
is one of the strictest registries of any kind. Frank then had to deal with the
reluctant Friesian breeders who didnít want their valued animals taken out of Friesland. After that hurdle was
cleared, he had to deal with transportation. Frank designed and built a
three-horse crate to put his horses in and had them flown over; this was not
cheap. The necessary quarantine and the federal authorities also made things
difficult; however, Frank did have the help of his older brother Sidney in Friesland. He helped with the
was in August of 1976 when Frank Leyendekker completed the difficult task of
importing the first Friesians to California. Three horses arrived,
one stallion and two pregnant
mares. The stallion was
and the two mares were
Linie and Lyckeltje. In April three more mares arrived, Hanske, Hesje, and
Jelske. With the offspring from these horses, Leyendekker Friesians began to
for the six-horse hitch began on January 1, 1980.† Their first public appearance was at the
California State Fair later that summer, in Sacramento. At the same time,
extensive rebuilding of the collection of antique coaches, wagons and carts
began. Today these vehicles can be seen being pulled by the descendents of the
original six that were imported from the Netherlands. Frank participates in
various competitions with his Friesians, traveling as far as
Toronto, Canada to compete. Leyendekker
Friesians can also be seen every year in the Rose Parade pulling one of
the antique coaches from the collection.
the years, Frank Leyendekker has worked hard at keeping the Friesian line pure.
His efforts can be seen in the founding of FHANA, Friesian Horse Association of
North America, to register Friesians keeping the breed pure.† Frank Leyendekker distinguishes himself as a
breeder of top quality Friesian horses, ensuring the quality and performance of
the Friesian Horse for years to come.