June 6, 2013
A fan of horse racing throughout her life, former Georgia equestrian Brittlan Wall will have the opportunity of a lifetime, as she was one of 12 people in the world to be selected for the Darley Flying Start (DFS) program.
DFS is a rigorous two-year international program that allows trainees to learn every facet of the Thoroughbred industry from racing and breeding to management and business. The program gives trainees the opportunity to attend lectures, network and gain hands-on experience in the horseracing industry and has produced over 100 graduates employed in the horse industry internationally.
The program was founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and constitutional monarch of Dubai. For the next two years, Wall will live and study in Ireland, where she will begin the program in August, England, Kentucky, Australia and Dubai.
Wall learned about the program last summer and was encouraged by industry professionals to apply. Knowing how difficult the program was to get in to, Wall had her reservations.
“I wrestled with the decision to apply and went back and forth (and leaned towards no) for quite some time before waking up one morning thinking, "You know what? The worst they can say is no. I'm going for it,” Wall said. “I'm quite honored they didn't say no, and said yes instead.”
Wall began the application process in February of this year, submitting all of the necessary paperwork with the hope of being extended an invitation to move on to the interview stage. She received the invitation in March and had a month and a half to prepare for the interview.
“The interview was the toughest one I've done to date, I have to be honest,” continued Wall. “There was a written test, a communications exercise, and then the obvious interview portion.”
While on her way to the Kentucky Derby in May, Wall received a phone call with the news that the tedious process was over and that she had been selected.
“It was so surreal,” said Wall. “It's still surreal even a month later. It's just such a hard program to get into - I didn't have the confidence in myself that some of my close friends and family had in me when I returned to Georgia after my interview in Lexington, Ky., a few weeks earlier.”
Wall will leave for the course in August, after spending the summer in Lexington, Ky., galloping racehorses at a Thoroughbred training farm.
“It is truly an honor to be accepted into such a prestigious program,” Wall said. “The graduates that have come from the course have gone on to do amazing things in the Thoroughbred industry. I am very humbled to be given this opportunity by Darley and Sheikh Mohammed to pursue my passion of horse racing at the highest level. It's a dream come true, simply stated. I love this industry and these next two years on the course are only going to intensify that passion.”