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The rules for mounted combat (PHB, p. 198) give direction in the following cases:

  • Mount moved against its will: rider makes Dex save vs falling off and landing prone
  • Rider knocked prone: rider makes Dex save vs falling off and landing prone
  • Mount knocked prone: rider uses reaction to dismount standing, or else is dismounted and falls prone

The Cavalier fighter's "Born to the Saddle" feature (Xanathar's Guide to Everything, p. 30) states:

If you fall off your mount [...], you can land on your feet if you're not incapacitated.

How does this feature interact with the mounted combat rules? Specifically:

  • Mount moved against its will: if rider fails save, they land standing up instead of prone. This is clear-cut; this is not the question.

  • Rider knocked prone: Normally if the rider succeeded the save to stay on the mount, they would be mounted and prone, per this question. If a Cavalier is knocked prone while mounted, do they end up either "mounted and prone" or "unmounted and not-prone"? It seems weird that a creature could be knocked prone but then just decide not to be; is giving up their mounted status the tradeoff?

  • Mount knocked prone: unless they spend their reaction, PHB says the rider "[is] dismounted and fall[s] prone." Does this count as falling off the mount for the purposes of "Born to the Saddle"? And therefore, can Cavaliers dismount for free (instead of using their reaction) if their mount is knocked prone?

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Anytime the rules say you would fall off your mount and land prone, you can choose not to land prone.

I can see why there might be some ambiguity, but I have found in D&D the simplest rules explanation can often be the best one.

In the case of the rider being knocked prone, you would fall off the horse, but you would land on your feet. If you succeed the saving throw, weirdly enough you would be knocked prone on your mount. (You could ask your DM to rule on this; I know I would.)

In the case of the mount being knocked prone, yes you could dismount without using your reaction.

Hope this helps!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheDragonOfFlame "the simplest rules explanation can often be the simplest one". Do you mean the "best one"? I found the statement a little confusing, but perhaps it is simply a witty statement that went over my head :) \$\endgroup\$ – ESCE Oct 2 at 22:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sweet, I kinda thought this but wanted to double check. As for “mounted but prone,” there’s some good examples here (also linked in OP): rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/161453/… \$\endgroup\$ – ChumpNicholson Oct 3 at 0:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ESCE facepalm. yes, I'm tired today. Editing now. \$\endgroup\$ – TheDragonOfFlame Oct 3 at 4:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for rising to the challenge we dicsussed in comments. 👍 \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 6 at 2:17

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