# When can you choose to control a mount?

The rules for mounted combat (PHB p.198) state:

While you're mounted, you have two options. You can either control the mount or allow it to act independently. Intelligent creatures, such as dragons, act independently.

You can control a mount only if it has been trained to accept a rider.

The first two sentences seem to always give you the choice but the next two appear to limit this choice. What is the correct interpretation?

Despite the rather clunky wording the logic of this is actually clear. Lets break it down:

While you're mounted, you have two options. You can either control the mount or allow it to act independently.

All this says is that there are 2 options, control or independent action. It does not actually say that you choose which one.

Intelligent creatures, such as dragons, act independently.

OK, so intelligent creatures like dragons (or your half-orc barbarian fighter acting as a mount for your halfling wizard c.f. Master Blaster) always act independently, you cannot control them. What counts as "intelligent" is a DM call; perhaps all "beasts" are unintelligent and everything else is intelligent or perhaps the ability to speak (or just understand) a language will be your criteria.

You can control a mount only if it has been trained to accept a rider.

So, if the mount is untrained it will always act independently. Only if it is both unintelligent and trained for riding do you get to choose.

Summarising in a logic table:

Situation          | Intelligent        | Unintelligent
------------------------------------------------------------
Trained            | Acts independently | Rider chooses
------------------------------------------------------------
Untrained          | Acts independently | Acts independently
------------------------------------------------------------

• I recall from the previous editions that anything with an INT score of less than 3 is considered unintelligent. It might not be an unreasonable assumption to make. – eimyr Mar 13 '16 at 22:24
• I don't know if this needs clearing up, but I'd add in that just because it acts independently doesn't mean you can't try to control it or make a suggestion to your mount, ie. "Hey Mr. Silver Dragon, fly down there so I can be awesome, " or whatever. – Jeff Mar 14 '16 at 14:37
• Recent Dragon Talk (Timestamp: 25:51) contradicts the statement about an intelligent creature always acting independently. I tweeted to JC for more clarity, but this is what he said. – David Coffron Mar 17 '18 at 19:42