So, saddle chairs; what's up with those? Saddle seats have come a long way from a literal riding saddle slung over a hunk of wood. Indeed, many modern saddle seats barely resemble their equestrian cousins and, honestly, that’s probably for the best.
Modern saddle seats run the gamut from pretty darn saddle-y to Kevin Bacon, but they’re all targeting a similar posture to that of a riding saddle. The wide stance and extended legs create a unique seating experience, opening the angles at your hips and knees, and encouraging the spine into a healthy s-curve.
And, like riding, saddle seats can take some getting used to. No, you probably won’t come away with saddle sores, but if you don’t take it easy you may find yourself doing the cowboy walk for a day or two. So to start out, try using the saddle seat for about 15 - 20 minutes at a time, with good breaks in between. Listen to your body and don’t overdo it.
The Bambach Saddle most closely resembles saddles of yore. No surprise there, since it was designed by an equestrian occupational therapist. It retains Pommel and Cantle, where few others do, and if you don’t know what that means, congratulations on having friends besides the library when you were in grade school.
Vinyl saddle chairs are particularly useful for medical professionals, who need their hands free, and benefit from the extra height and easy maneuverability that a saddle affords. In addition, the vinyl is easily sterilized, making the classic Bambach and Salli saddles ideal for healthcare applications. They’re even available with foot-control height adjustment, for hands-free use. Compared to most saddle seats, the Salli family brings in a unique degree of customizability and adjustability.
Of course those same saddles can just as easily be used in non-medical settings, but for home or office use, you might prefer something with a bit more style, like the handsome, wood-and-wool design of the ILOA Saddle from Finnish design company myKolme. The ILOA is a truly beautiful creation that’s also good for your spine!
And Saddle meets yoga ball in the ever-exuberant Swopper Saddle. It’s another option that’s not quite at home in medical settings (too much fun) but is great for home or office. It’s a truly active seating option, that responds to your body’s shifting weight, and can’t fail to keep you engaged.
At the extreme, Kevin Bacon end of the spectrum, the simplest versions of saddle chairs are basically just upholstered triangles, like the Varier Move Stool. And in a total multi-tool maneuver, the Capisco family incorporates a saddle into a fully functional, super versatile chair, for those of us who don’t want to go all saddle all the time.