Polo playing dynasties are nothing new, but when they hail from a country with a fraction of the polo tradition of Argentina and England, it is more unusual. Even more so when the dynasty is led by family head – in this case James Beh – with an eye to the future of not only his own children, but the children of others, too.
The 13-goal family team consists of James, his three sons Chevy (31), Garvy (22) and Joevy (27), while his daughter Loevy (33) is a competent player too.
The boys – all of them 4 goalers – played schools polo at Wellington College, before all heading out to the USA and going to university at Virginia. Loevy went to UCL in London and played a bit for her university, too.
Virginia has its own polo club, fields, stabling and ponies. Students who want to play polo pay $1,000 per term, and help look after the ponies themselves on a rota system – learning useful stable management skills and how to get horses fit. This so impressed James that he donated a building to the polo club, an accommodation block that can be used by visiting players. His polo-anthropy extends to supporting youth polo in Argentina, and in the UK courtesy of a new stable block at Wellington College.
The Beh’s passion for playing en famille has taken them all around the world. Aside from the US, Argentina, Europe, China and Malaysia, they’ve played arena polo in the US, snow polo in Aspen, polo on tiny horses in Mongolia and, on one memorable day in 2014, Joevy played in three countries in three days – Houston, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.
We caught up with James and Joevy Beh during the Royal Windsor Cup at Guards.
When did you start to play?
James: “;In the late 1980s I was invited to play at Ipoh polo club. So along with my daughter Loevy (then 12) and Chevy (then 10) I started having lessons. The following year went to Argentina, to Cañuelas with Salvador Socas. I have since been going to Argentina every year, progressing to Martín Garrahan in Pilar – and have played in San Isidro, the Jockey Club, Centauros etc”
What is your handicap?
James: “;I got to 2. I’m 1 now – and I scored 5 goals in the Royal Windsor last week. How many patrons can say that?”
What makes the game so special?
Joevy : “;Being able to play in a family environment. We treat it as a hobby, and even with the age differences we are all equals. We are quite happy to shout ‘Choto!’ at one another on the field, and when we play with our sister we feed the ball to her and joke that she is the patron!”
What’s next for the Beh family?
Joevy: We are planning to share a team for the Camara in Argentina. It’s the ultimate tournament (outside of anything in the Triple Crown). It’s still very much in the planning stage at the moment though. The family also plan to contest the 8 goal Archie David next season, and the South Asian Cup – and the St Moritz Snow Polo in January 2017. We want to encourage people to play as a family and show that it can be done”
James : “Creating a polo legacy – I am doing it for the third generation. I want to leave a lifestyle and a business legacy. It was difficult for me to get started in polo. The third generation will have an organization at home and abroad – including Argentina”.
The family also plan to contest the 8 goal Archie David next season, and the South Asian Cup – and the St Moritz Snow Polo in January 2017. “;;;Its an all inclusive deal” says James. “;All the details are taken care of. I just get sent a bill. I think it’s the way forward for these tournaments”.