MAJOR work to take showjumping facilities up to international levels is set to take place at the Great Yorkshire Showground.

Showjumping legend Graham Fletcher has backed the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s (YAS) investment of £70,000 to improve conditions in the collecting ring.

The two-month project will see half the ring feature an Olympic-standard, state-of-the-art all-weather synthetic riding surface provided by Andrews Bowen.

It is described by the Showground as “the most scientifically researched surface”, developed for the London 2012 Olympics. It is endorsed by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).

Olympic medallist Mr Fletcher, who is originally from Thirsk in Yorkshire, is part of the showjumping committee formed by YAS to ensure facilities are of a world-class standard.

He said: “The Great Yorkshire Show is the best in the country and it’s always been an event that’s very close to my heart.

“Any of the riders coming to the show for the first time this summer will be totally impressed.

“If the show committee wanted to run an international show it would have all the facilities needed for international classes once this work is carried out.”

Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, added: “This represents a significant investment in facilities at the showground to ensure we’re at the top of our game.

“The main ring is the leading grass ring in the country and we want to invest in its collecting ring to bring it up to the same standard ready for the next Great Yorkshire Show.

“We want to continue to attract some of the world’s top riders with their best horses and maintain a first class reputation.”

Tickets are on sale now for the 159th Great Yorkshire Show, which will take place from Tuesday, July 11 to Thursday, July 13, 2017, on the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate.