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.

In 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 didn’t 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 arrangements.

It 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 pregnantLaesmares. The stallion was Laes 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 grow.

Training 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.

Throughout 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.