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Regarding saddles, the basic rules note:

Saddles. A military saddle braces the rider, helping you keep your seat on an active mount in battle. It gives you advantage on any check you make to remain mounted. An exotic saddle is required for riding any aquatic or flying mount.

As a comment to this question, one commenter wrote those statements to mean that saddles are required for flying mounts. Another commenter wrote that his interpretation is that saddles are not required for flying mounts - exotic saddles only confer advantage when used.

Are saddles required for flying mounts? Has this been clarified anywhere else in rules, adventures, or comments by the game designers?

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The section of the rules that you quoted is pretty clear that exotic saddles are required for flying mounts RAW. I think the confusion is coming because that paragraph describes 2 distinct kinds of saddle (Military and Exotic) without highlighting when the focus shifts from one to another:

Saddles. A military saddle braces the rider, helping you keep your seat on an active mount in battle. It gives you advantage on any check you make to remain mounted. An exotic saddle is required for riding any aquatic or flying mount.

The first 2 sentences describe the Military Saddle which grants advantage on checks to remain mounted, while the 3rd sentence is talking about the Exotic Saddle which is a different item and is required for riding aquatic or flying mounts.

If you look further down the page, you'll find a Saddle Table that makes it clear that the "exotic saddle" it refers to is a distinct kind of item (which costs 60gp vs. 20gp for a Military saddle), not just a strange kind of saddle.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good info but I don't see that this answers the question. One can take the intent of the third sentence being added, as just making sure you don't get away with buying the cheaper military saddle for only 20gp to get advantage on staying mounted on a flying mount; the kind you need to buy is the more expense "exotic saddle". \$\endgroup\$ – Valley Lad Oct 29 '18 at 21:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ValleyLad While it's certainly not a clearly written paragraph, I would argue that "An exotic saddle is required for riding any aquatic or flying mount" is pretty unambiguous. There are 4 different types of saddle - only the Military Saddle is called out as granting advantage. If that ability was meant to apply to other saddles, it would say so. In fact, RAW, the Exotic saddle doesn't grant advantage at all (only the Military saddle does), it just gives you the ability to hold onto a Griffon of Sea Serpent without falling off. \$\endgroup\$ – divibisan Oct 29 '18 at 21:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe you're right. Just wanna say it's commonplace to add on a necessary condition for an alternative version of a contingent state of affairs, without re-stating the the overall scenario is contingent. "When planting one-gallon shrubs, you can use our gopher basket to protect roots from gophers. The larger basket is required for planting 5-gallon pots." This clearly means, when you're opting for a gopher basket, then u might need the larger. \$\endgroup\$ – Valley Lad Oct 29 '18 at 22:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ValleyLad I see your point, but there is no contingent scenario in the paragraph. If it said something like: "When you make a check to remain mounted, a Military saddle allows you to take Advantage on the check. An Exotic saddle is required for any aquatic or flying mount" then you'd have a point. \$\endgroup\$ – divibisan Oct 29 '18 at 22:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ValleyLad Instead, it says "... [A Military saddle] gives you advantage on any check you make to remain mounted. An exotic saddle is required for riding any aquatic or flying mount". These are 2 separate sentences, that each make a single statement about their different subjects. While you could choose to interpret it in another way, there is no evidence in the text that links these two statements. \$\endgroup\$ – divibisan Oct 29 '18 at 22:22
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Based on this:

An exotic saddle is required for riding any aquatic or flying mount

I would say its pretty clear that an exotic saddle is required for riding an aquatic or flying mount.

As the DM, I suppose you could impose or require Dexterity-based skills/saves to "hang on" to a flying mount.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You're kind of straddling the fence here. It may be as simple as organizing your answer with the RAW response, but suggesting an untested houserule that isn't fully baked doesn't really help your answer. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 29 '18 at 20:40

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