You can ride a mount, be it a horse, riding dog, griffon, dragon, or some other kind of creature suited for riding. If you attempt to ride a creature that is ill suited as a mount (such as most bipedal creatures), you take a -5 penalty on your Ride checks.
Check: Typical riding actions don't require checks. You can saddle, mount, ride, and dismount from a mount without a problem. The following tasks do require checks.
|Guide with knees||5|
|Stay in saddle||5|
|Fight with warhorse||10|
|Control mount in battle||20|
|Fast mount or dismount||20¹|
|¹ Armor check penalty applies.|
Guide with Knees: You can react instantly to guide your mount with your knees so that you can use both hands in combat. Make your Ride check at the start of your turn. If you fail, you can only use one hand this round because you need to use the other to control your mount.
Stay to Saddle: You can react instantly to try to avoid falling when your mount rears or bolts unexpectedly or when you take damage. This usage does not take an action.
Fight with Warhorse: If you direct your war-trained mount to attack in battle, you can still make your own attack or attacks normally. This usage is a free action.
Cover: You can react instantly so drop down and hang along side your mount, using it as cover. You can't attack or cast spells while using your mount as cover, if you fail your Ride check you don't get the cover benefit. This usage does not take an action.
Soft Fall: You can react instantly to try to take no damage when you fall off a mount - when it is killed or when it falls, for example. If you fail your Ride check, you take 1d6 points of falling damage. This usage does not take an action.
Leap: You can get your mount to leap obstacles as part of its movement. Use your Ride modifier or the mount's Jump modifier, whichever is lower, to see how far the creature can jump, if you fail your Ride check, you fall off the mount when it leaps and take the appropriate falling damage (at least 1d6 points). This usage does not take an action, but it is part of the mount's movement.
Spur Mount: You can spur your mount to greater speed with a move action. A successful Ride check increases the mount's speed by 10 feet for 1 round but deals 1 point of damage to the creature. You can use this ability every round, but each consecutive round of additional speed deals twice as much damage to the mount as the previous round (2 points, 4 points, 8 points, and so on).
Control Mount in Battle: As a move action, you can attempt to control a light horse, pony, heavy horse, or other mount not trained for combat riding while in battle, If you fail the Ride check, you can do nothing else in that round. You do not need to roll for warhorses or warponies.
Fast Mount or Dismount: You can attempt to mount or dismount from a mount of up to one size category larger than yourself as a free action, provided that you still have a move action available that round. If you fail the Ride check, mounting or dismounting is a move action. You can't use fast mount or dismount on a mount of more than one size category larger than yourself.
Action: Varies. Mounting or dismounting normally is a move action. Other checks are a move action, a free action, or no action at all, as noted above.
Special: If you are riding bareback, you take a -5 penalty on Ride checks.
If your mount has a military saddle, you get a +2 circumstance bonus on Ride checks related to staying in the saddle.
The Ride skill is a prerequisite for the feats Mounted Archery, Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, Spirited Charge, Trample.
If you have the Animal Affinity feat, you get a +2 bonus on Ride checks.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Handle Animal, you get a +2 bonus on Ride checks.
Variant: Mounts In Unusual Environments
Many normal and even war-trained mounts do not do well in unusual environments. The hold of a storm-tossed warship is no place for a horse, and underground environments make a goliath's dire eagle mount nervous and uncomfortable.
At the DM's option, mounts in unusual environments must make Will saving throws or be overcome with fear. The DC of the saving throw is 10 in an unusual environment, 15 in a disturbing environment, and 20 or more in an obviously dangerous\ or startling environment. Failing the saving throw by 9 or less leaves a mount shaken. Failing the saving throw by 10 or more causes a mount to cower. A mount can retry this saving throw every hour.
A skilled animal handler can substitute his Handle Animal check result for the mount's Will save. Similarly, a skilled rider can substitute his Ride check result for the mount's Will save. In both cases, the mount uses the handler's skill check result or its saving throw result, whichever is higher.
Expanded Description - Stormwrack
Warriors of several aquatic races sometimes make use of aquatic mounts such as sharks, porpoises, or hippocampi. Even humans or other landbound humanoids have been known to ride surface-swimming creatures into battle. In general, all the rules for using the Ride skill to control landgoing mounts apply to aquatic mounts, but it's tougher to stay on an aquatic mount; the resistance of the water means that a fast-swimming mount can easily leave its rider flailing in the water behind it.
|Swim a horse||DC 10|
|Leap into water||DC 15|
|Change horses in mid-stream||DC 25|
|Ride aquatic mount underwater||DC +5|
Swim a Horse: You ride your horse into the water and stay mounted while the horse swims. If you fail the check, you are no longer mounted; you and the horse are just in the water. If you fail your check by 5 or more, the horse refuses to enter the water (but you can try again next round). This usage of the Ride skill does not take an action, it's simply part of the mount's movement.
Leap into Water: You and your mount leap into water from a place where the animal can't just wade in. If you fail the check, you fall off as your mount enters the water; you are no longer mounted. If you fail the check by 5 or more, your mount balks at the edge and remains ashore while you fall into the water without it.
Ride Aquatic Mount Underwater: Staying on a fast-swimming mount underwater is difficult, because the water resistance tends to push a rider off. Add +5 to the DC of any Ride check made underwater.