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EDIT: Wow. sorry i keep posting in the wrong places meant to post in fantasy rules help. but maybe someone could help me out anyway.
i'm still a bit confused with this, just something i've ignored really. Can mounted characters definately join non-mounted units and non mounted join mounted units?
If so then whats the downside to a mounted character joining a non mounted unit apart from the issue or less movement and the problem with the bases if your infantry has small bases unlike saurus, orks, chaos warriors etc. Is this the reason why no one does it? Surely its worth it to get a better armour save, or perhaps not.
the answer to your first question is yes they can.
I tend to field my vampire lord mounted with walach's bloddy hauberk, giving him a 1+ armour save. The only restriction is that the movement of the unit is at its slowest model.
I also have a battle standard bearer with the talismen of the lycani, he joins units of knights at the start of the game. People probably don't do it because they don't realise that you can.
Arms are an instrument of evil, No measure for thoughtful men until there fail all other choice but sad acceptance of it.
Sun-Tse : The art of war