There’s no denying that Cavaliers are best astride a mount, but the big problem is mounted combat doesn't address the typical dungeon crawl. Order of the Paw helps this somewhat but leaves us with the less than optimal halflings… but with a barbarian dip suddenly the weaknesses become strengths.
The goals of this are to circumvent the weaknesses of being small with a barbarian dip and match and maximize our wolf companion’s tripping ability. We’ll use a flail and select a few choice rage powers to elevate the concept further.
Feats/Class Features of note
Halfling is the only choice for Order of the Paw.
1: Halfling Order of the Paw Strategist Cavalier 1: Challenge, Tactician- Tandem Trip*, Improved Trip
2: Cavalier 2: Danger Ward
3: Cavalier 3: Cavalier’s Charge, Mounted Combat
4: Mounted Fury Barbarian 1: Rage, Fast Rider
5: MF Barb: Ferocious Mount, Ride By Attack
6: Cavalier 4: Drill Instructor- Paired Opportunists
7: MF Barb: Trap Sense, Boon Companion- Wolf upgrades
8: MF Barb: Knockdown
9: MF Barb: Beastial Mount**, Combat Reflexes
10: Cavalier 5: Banner
11: Cavalier 6: Spirited Charge, Power Attack
12: Cavalier 7: Challenge 3/day
13: Cavalier 8: Canine Ferocity, Trample, Flag Bearer
14: MF Barb 6: Strength Surge***, Trap Sense 2
15: Cavalier 9: Greater Tactician- Coordinated Charge or Coordinated Maneuvers depending on party make up****, Cleave
16: Cavalier 10: Banner bonus increases, Challenge 4/day
17: Cavalier 11: Mighty Charge*****, Great Cleave
18: Cavalier 12: Demanding Challenge, Cleaving Finish
19: Cavalier 13: Challenge 5/day, Improved Cleaving Finish
20: Cavalier 14: Tactical Advantage
*You don’t bother yet but this gives your wolf the best of 2 trip rolls.
**At this point you likely keep the rage on yourself and stop using Ferocious Mount as the mount still gets a +2 to strength loses no class levels and has a23+ stre
***Use this in tandem with Knockdown and Tandem Trip for a huge bonus to trip with 2 rolls take the better!
****If there’s another charger (druid AC or Eidolon with pounce for example) take the coordinated charge if not take another +2 to trip for your mount or you when you want on maneuvers.
*****Peak Tripping power BAB+STR=CMB 20 +2 (trait bonus) +5 str surge, +4 cavalier's charge, +2 banner, +1 flag bearer, +2 coordinated maneuvers +36 to trip and roll twice take the better in addition to dealing double damage from your flail. You can possibly add flanking to this and yes I factored in a -1 for being small.
Helpful Aid another action is now a +4, for when you really want your wolf to trip that dwarf…
Heirloom Weapon go with a flail as it has the trip property and this will grant an additional trip
Max Ride, Handle Animal, possibly stealth, definitely disable device.
20 point buy
Str 14 (with -2 points from Racial)
Dex 12 (with +2 from racial)
Cha 14 (with 2 points form Racial)
Stat Adds- all in CON
Tactics at level
1- use your flail, your mount, and tandem trip to keep your enemies down
3- see level 1 but charge if you want.
5- share rage when you desire
7- your mount just upgraded into a real threat, also you can flank trip and get the most out of it when enemies try to stand
9- extra AOOs whoot, always having a stronger mount without splitting your rage pool=bonus
To Hit: BAB +8, Str bonus (not counting equip) +4 Challenge + 2 (swift), +4 from Cavalier
11- 1st round charge up for a big hit, use move action to switch to flail then trip them down
12+ gets you better at what you already do… you are pretty versitile as you can deliver big hits with charge and ride by, or pull a flanking trip cycle to shut something down, overrun, eventually trip off of a charge, use tactician drill sergeant, and master tactician to provide TW feats, banner and flag bearer give static bonuses, Danger ward is a great way to boost saves, and you can provide anyone with a +4 bonus thru aid another actions.
Possible VariantsRage Power Trees can differ a great deal on this, One could just go with a small version of the Spirited Pouncer build.
Attributes and Races
Traits, Skills, and Feats
Alternate Opinions and a few areas I didn't cover
Spirited Charging Pouncer
Knight of Shadows