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I understand that the weight of the player and the player's gear must be within the mounts carry capacity, but is this the only requirement? Are all medium animals with a high enough strength allowed to carry medium sized players? Does the creature need to be trained in the general purpose of riding or combat riding?

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A mount must be at least one size larger than the rider. So a medium rider requires a large mount. In addition, a flying mount can only fly with a rider that's within the mounts light load. (DMG 204)

For general purpose riding, training is generally not required. No Ride checks are required either, though if the animal is actively unwilling to bear a rider than your DM can require a Handle Animal check (a wild Dire Bear is probably not just going to let you hop on!).

Typical riding actions don’t require checks. You can saddle, mount, ride, and dismount from a mount without a problem.

For combat riding, things change and a Ride check is required if untrained:

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.

Thus, combat riding training is required both to avoid the check, and to avoid using a move action to make the check.

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What is the purpose of the normal "riding" training then? Is it just a collection of tricks that would be useful to a rider? –  Daniel Feb 21 at 0:16
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@Daniel Yep, exactly. Telling the animal to stay with a trick is much easier, so its a useful package for an animal you want to ride. –  Tridus Feb 21 at 0:17
    
Alright, I can accept that. Thanks! –  Daniel Feb 21 at 0:36
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Point of clarification: A flying mount can only fly under a light load, if it has a land speed, it can still bear the rider along the ground under medium or heavy load (e.g. pegasi). –  Phill.Zitt Feb 21 at 15:27
    
@Phill.Zitt Very true, updated. Thanks! –  Tridus Feb 21 at 16:37

The requirements for a mount are that it is one size category larger than the rider, and that it is capable of carrying the rider’s weight (including any equipment the rider is wearing).

Since size increases and being a quadruped both increase carrying capacity, most mounts have no trouble at all with a rider’s weight. The size category requirement is the primary one.

Aside from that, literally any creature willing to do so can serve as a mount for a creature at least one size category smaller. A DM may inject some reason into this for the cases of creatures that don’t have any apparent place to put a rider despite their size, but then I’m pretty sure there’s a saddle in one of the books for riding a gelatinous cube, so that doesn’t go very far.

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The gelatinous cube saddle is from page 85 of the Arms and Equipment guide. –  Matthew Najmon Feb 22 at 6:26

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