At what goal and what level would and areana player be said to have become professional? I know patrons don't pay areana players anyway as near enough as grass players. I would just really like to make my living from polo, even if I don't make much money.
As amazing as it sounds, I know some "professionals" in the United States rated at only 1 and 2 goals. They work either at a club or for an individual (patrón.) More importantly, this handicap rating is the highest that they have achieved, and not a result of having had a higher handicap lowered.
Your value will depend on several things. It will not necessarily be solely based on your handicap.
Your ability to train horses so that your patrón can ride them.
Your organizational skills for arranging tournaments, lessons, and/or a lively and active polo program.
Your ability to shoe horses.
Your having your on truck and trailer for transportation of ponies.
Having your own mounts.
Having access to horses for sale.
Your communication skills and the personality in order to "market" yourself.
Your teaching skills.
Knowledge of the game.
The list goes on from there.
A good example is Rege Ludwig. He is now rated as a 2 in the arena and 1 in outdoor polo.
He has been able to build his own polo school and has had the support of the Polo Training Foundationa (PTF) which is the training branch of the US Polo Association. He has been in his business for some 30 years or so, and has parlayed this into a thriving income.
He presently finds his employment in Thailand.
There are some patróns who want to play only in low goal tournaments and therefore have no use for a polo professional with a higher handicap.
All that being said, your overall chances may improve the more your playing skills improve. Don't put a cap on your potential.
Thanks Cat! My current aim is to start building up a string of ponies, although I will have limited funds, and stick and ball 3-4 hours per day (hopefully someday 6 hours a day), plus playing chukkas once or twice a week at my local club. I'm going to treat my practice with extreme dedication and hopefully do this for a good year or two, then start marketing myself if I get a good handicap. I'm not looking for riches, just enough money to sustain myself and have a career with horses. I know pros can go on to they are like 50-60, so I have a good ammount of time left.
I wish you success.