Our bodies were never meant to sit eight or more hours per day, so it’s no wonder so many people have back problems, muscle pain, poor posture, and weak abdominals. The design of the average chair doesn’t exactly help, either, encouraging us to slump in a way that keeps the spine out of its natural alignment. Try as we might to sit up straight, regular chairs make an ideal sitting position virtually impossible for long stretches of time. Thankfully, a new design called the Workhorse Saddle Chair aims to fix that with a shape taken from a surprising source: horseback riding saddles.
Years of observing the impact that regular chairs have on the body — including spinal degeneration that causes back, shoulder, and neck pain and even a loss of function — inspired chiropractor David France to develop the Workhorse Saddle Chair. Instead of just treating the symptoms, France wanted to address back pain at the source. He grew up riding and working with horses in South Australia’s Barossa Valley, and realized that every time he sat in a saddle, his body assumed the ideal spinal position easily.
Many of us have jobs or disabilities that necessitate sitting for long periods of time, and alternatives like standing desks or more frequent activity can often feel difficult or impossible to incorporate into our day-to-day lives. France understood that simple design changes were all that was really needed to make a big impact on our health.
“Conventional chairs force our body into a 90-degree angle between our back and our thighs, putting enormous strain on the back and shoulders. Our bodies have evolved with ingenious mechanics to maintain balancing our weight in the most efficient way,” he explains.
“It does it by the stacking of 24 vertebrae separated by shock absorbing discs using a series of three curves. The head sits directly over our pelvis and is held there using minimal force from the muscles on our back, neck and shoulders as well as our front muscles from the abdominals, pectorals, and core muscles. This is the position we assume when standing or walking. And it’s the position our spine takes when riding a horse.”
The chair boasts a unique contoured saddle-shaped seat and comes in seven different models, with features that vary depending on the user’s needs. The Pro and Plus chairs have cross-shaped backs that allow users to straddle their seats, while the Original is left backless to help people develop better balance and a stronger core. The Go is portable, the Rise stands at barstool height, the Slide has a more modern minimalist appearance, and the Base can sit on top of standard chairs to adapt them for better posture.
The Workhorse Saddle Chair comes in seven different color ways, including baltic blue, black, saddle red, mist green, taupe, camel, and a two-tone black and white cowhide. Backing the project on Kickstarter gets supporters early bird deals as low as $69 on the Base model, while the leather Workhorse Pro with back support starts at $399. Once the campaign is complete, you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on the company website for updates on purchasing options.