I have always found the world of Polo to be very glamourous
Perhaps it is the endless flow of golden champagne the spectators enjoy, or even the ‘polo-esque’ fashion that is smart yet stylish. It might even be the good-looking men that play – it is as though you must be at least a seven out of ten to make the cut of professional polo player. I talked to one of England’s best international polo stars, James Beim, on what it takes to succeed in this highly competitive sport – since it’s not all rosie in the world of polo, nearly, but not always.
How did you get into Polo?
When we were younger we used to have horses. We did a lot of disciplines in the Pony Club, including jumping/ dressage/ tetrathalon. One day a guy came along with some polo sticks and things went quickly from there, through Pony Club polo.
How long have you been professional?
I turned professional at 18. So for 13 years now.
What is your day like on a plate? In other words, what do you have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, any snacks?
I don’t have much for breakfast, cornflakes sometimes. Lunch I will normally have a pasta or sandwich, and for dinner I always make sure I include a bit of meat. Chicken or steak. But I enjoy Asian food too. Regarding snacks, I have a terrible sweet tooth, that I have to keep it under control.
Do you have to watch your calories?
I don’t have to watch my calories too much. I am very busy most days riding eight horses minimum almost everyday, either playing or practicing, so that burns off any indulgences.
Does a polo player have to be a certain physique?
No, any sized person can play. But it helps to be a smaller, lighter more compact physique. You don’t want to be too heavy or big to put your horse off balance. But you need to be strong, especially in the legs. A scrum half/ fly half size suits polo best.
Do you have to keep fit?
Yes. Riding constantly keeps you riding fit, mainly working out the legs and core the most.
What type of exercise do you do?
I do cardio a lot of cardio – either running or cycling. And I will also do polo specific training, so reactions, meaning that I do lots of shoulder work.
What is the most challenging thing about being a polo player?
Most challenging: I would say always trying to improve; there is always something to learn. And also constantly adapting to different countries and horses.
And the most enjoyable?
Working with horse’s everyday and getting to play a sport that I love everyday. It’s not like going to the office!
Who/what inspires you?
Roger Federer. He was on the top of his sport for many years. He has amazing talent, but I love the brain he has for sport and his humble attitude.
Any advice for budding polo players out there?
Hard work, dedication. My advice would be to spendyour money on the best horses you can afford.
What three things can’t you live without?
My wife, Lozza, my dog, Flashman, my horses and Chocolate! The order changes depending on behaviour.
What motto do you live by?
My dad’s favourite was always: ‘look smart, play smart’.
Words by Sadie Macleod, Editor of Hip and Healthy