Animals ill suited as mounts provide a -2 penalty on their rider's Ride check.
Check: Typical riding actions don't require checks. A character can saddle, mount, ride, and dismount without a problem. Mounting or dismounting an animal is a move action. Some tasks, such as those undertaken in combat or other extreme circumstances, require checks. In addition, attempting trick riding or asking the animal to perform an unusual technique also requires a check.
Guide with Knees (DC 5): The character can react instantly to guide his or her mount with his or her knees so that the character can use both hands in combat or to perform some other action. Make the check at the start of the character's round. If the character fails, he or she can only use one hand this round because the character needs to use the other to control his or her mount.
Stay in Saddle (DC 5): The character can react instantly to try to avoid falling when his or her mount rears or bolts unexpectedly or when the character takes damage.
Fight while Mounted (DC 20): While in combat, the character can attempt to control a mount that is not trained in combat riding (see the Handle Animal skill). If the character succeeds, he or she uses only a move action, and the character can use his or her attack action to do something else. If the character fails, he or she can do nothing else that round. If the character fails by more than 5, he or she loses control of the animal. For animals trained in combat riding, the character does not need to make this check. Instead, the character can use his or her move action to have the animal perform a trick (commonly, to attack). The character can use his or her attack action normally.
Cover (DC 15): The character can react instantly to drop down and hang alongside his or her mount, using it as one-half cover. The character can't attack while using his or her mount as cover. If the character fails, he or she doesn't get the cover benefit.
Soft Fall (DC 15): The character reacts instantly when he or she falls off a mount, such as when it is killed or when it falls, to try to avoid taking damage. If the character fails, he or she takes 1d6 points of falling damage.
Leap (DC 15): The character can get his or her mount to leap obstacles as part of its movement. Use the character's Ride modifier or the mount's Jump modifier (whichever is lower) when the mount makes its Jump check (see the Jump skill). The character makes a Ride check (DC 15) to stay on the mount when it leaps.
Fast Mount or Dismount (DC 20; armor penalty applies): The character can mount or dismount as a free action. If the character fails the check, mounting or dismounting is a move action. (A character can't attempt a fast mount or dismount unless he or she can perform the mount or dismount as a move action this round, should the check fail.)
Special: If the character is riding bareback, he or she takes a -5 penalty on Ride checks. A character can take 10 when making a Ride check, but can't take 20.
Time: Ride is a move action, except when otherwise noted for the special tasks listed above.