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Knoxville — A report by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture said there were 190,000 horses in Tennessee in 1999, the third-highest horse population in the nation.

A University of Tennessee animal science researcher said the equine industry has a large impact on the state.

“People in other segments of agriculture grow much of their feedstuffs,” said Dr. Fred Harper. “But many of the people who own horses buy nearly all their goods and services.”

The value of Tennessee’s equine industry was estimated at $515 million.

Harper said the industry also has a social impact in Tennessee.

“There are probably 60,000 to 70,000 families in Tennessee that are directly involved in owning horses,” Harper said. “And how many more families are occasional riders or go to horse shows like the Tennessee Walking Horse show in Murfreesboro?”

Tennessee walking horses were the most numerous breed in the state, at 51,000.