I have 20+ yr old saddles that have been kept in a non-heated tack room (at least part of their lives), not overly babied, nor abused. They are in good working order, can be shown in type.
A good quality saddle to begin with = a saddle that will last and work.
Horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.
Proud owner of one Lunar acre! (Campanus Crater, The Moon)
It's not an issue because the super dry and cold temps just do not last. I suppose if you stored your saddle in a subzero freezer all year round you might have issues. Temps fluctuate, as does humidity. Hot dry climates have more issues due to the constant low humidity. Cold places tend to have snow and rain or sleet--which means they have higher humidity at times.
Places with super high humidity through most of the year (thinking Pacfic NW here) can cause the opposite problem with saddles because even though they get cold, it's a damp cold. And they rarely get super dry and hot.
So, once again, storing a saddle at a stable in the cold temps of winter in places that have fluctuating humidity and year round temps is just not a big deal and does not call for more oiling, etc., than another time of year.
Leather is just leather - consider what is happening with the tree - wood warps, plastic gets brittle ... ask your saddle manufacturer how long they've warrantied the tree & how they arrived at such a time period
Cold doesn't do much to leather, especially if it's well-maintained. High humidity is a far bigger issue. Cold will, if the saddle is left to sit for a period of time, bring out the natural fats in the leather (called "saddler's bloom" and often mistaken for mildew/mold) and create a white haze on the leather. This is usually rubbed back in during use, but if the saddle sits in cool temps, the bloom will solidify on the surface. Bringing it into warm temps and rubbing the bloom with a soft cloth will allow it to re-absorb. If the bloom is stubborn, low heat from a hair dryer can help melt it so it can be rubbed in.
Kit I have never heard of saddle bloom before but I think I have observed it. I had also never considered the tree..... good thought.
Well I feel better about keeping my saddles in the unheated tack room. Thanks
I have nothing to add about how climate affects leather, but rather my justification for keeping my saddle in my home (room temperature living.) Tack tends to "walk away" at my boarding barn. At this point in my life, if my saddle were stolen, I would be up a creek with no way to replace it. Hence, room temp saddle!
I keep mine in my house. Stays cleaner and when it's cold out the saddle isn't as stiff when I put it on my horse in the winter. (plus I clean it more regularly because it's near) I also think it helps the stitching last.
Controlling temperature is not really a big deal. Controlling humidity can be.
A dehumidifier is a fine addition to most tack rooms. By keeping humidity low I doubt you're measurably "drying out" the leather. You are preventing the growth of a lot of bacteria, fungus, mold, etc. IMO these are much more damaging to leather the a mere lack of moisture.
In a dry climate I'd probably be a bit more liberal with a good quality leather dressing.