For the most part, mounted combat uses the same rules as dismounted close combat, but with the following exceptions.
- The rider uses the horse’s Initiative when determining initiative.
- When a rider faces a dismounted opponent, treat the rider as having an advantageous position.
- Unless stated otherwise, riders cannot use special maneuvers from horseback. Riders can use any basic maneuvers.
- Riders cannot use two-handed weapons.
- Shields can block only attacks that come from the front or from the shield arm’s side of the rider's body. Attacks from the weapon arm’s side of the rider's body can be dodged or parried with that weapon.
- Parries while mounted are made as usual, but dodging always suffers a penalty of 2 unless you dismount while dodging, in which case you ignore the penalty.
- Armor is less encumbering while mounted because the mount carries some of the weight. Reduce Encumbrance by 1 level for purposes of making combat checks while mounted.
- Checks with Riding (Combat Maneuvers) are required if the horse is injured or receives a special command (such as Tilt, or a command to change from Walk to Trot or Gallop; see below).
- Changing from Walk to Trot or Gallop is a free action (note that both the rider and the mount must each use a free action).
- If the mount is injured in combat and suffers DP, make a check against Riding (Combat Maneuvers) to avoid falling (see Falling Damage on page 340). This check suffers a penalty of 1 for every 5 full DP taken by the mount.
- Fighters on foot can make attacks of opportunity against a horse, but not its rider.
- Command: Instead of attacking, a rider can use one action to give a command to the mount, but must make a check with Riding (Combat Maneuvers) to do so. If the check fails, the horse ignores the command, and the rider suffers no further consequences. Commands include Change (walk, trot, or gallop), Trample, Mounted Charge, and Disengage (see below), as well as Tilt.
- Trample: When a rider gives this command, the mount makes an attack against a target using its Trample stat. To Trample, a horse must gallop at least 4 yards of closing distance. Damage is as listed in the mount’s description. Targets cannot parry, but may dodge this attack. After making a trample attack, the horse continues with its full MOV until the end of the CR. The rider needs to spend one action to turn the horse around to face the opponent again, if desired.
- Mounted Charge: To charge an enemy, the rider must urge the mount to a gallop and use the command Mounted Charge. Make a Riding (Combat Maneuvers) check, and then make the attack check (which does not require another action because it counts as part of the command). Horse and rider need not reduce their movement after the attack. The enemy cannot parry a mounted charge attack with a weapon, but can dodge or parry with a shield. If the charge is successful, add a bonus of 2 + (mount’s MOV/2) to the damage. To give this command, you need the special ability Mounted Combat.
- Disengage: To disengage while on horseback, you must make a check using Riding (Combat Maneuvers), as with any other command. The check suffers apenalty equal to the number of opponents within attack distance. If the check is successful, the horse can move its MOV in yards. Be mindful of incurring further attacks of opportunity by moving within other opponents’ attack distances.