Gun violence has invaded the normally staid world of dressage horseback riding at a farm in New Jersey as a woman has allegedly been shot by a former dressage Olympian.
According to TMZ, ex-U.S. Olympian Michael Barisone has been arrested after a dispute at Hawthorne Farm in Long Valley, New Jersey. The dispute was reportedly between the trainer and Lauren Kanarek, a local dressage rider who had previously told police she feared for her safety.
Barisone reportedly opened fire multiple times, striking the woman and another bystander. The former Olympian was also injured in the incident, but Kanarek’s condition is serious, as she was hit several times.
TMZ verified that Barisone is well-known in the world of dressage.
“Barisone is a monster in the equestrian world — he was named the 2009 Sportsman International Horseman of the Year and went on to train several Olympic riders… including Alison Brock, who won a team bronze medal in Dressage in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.”
The Morris County District Attorney’s office released the charges against Barisone, which include two counts of attempted murder, as well as two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon. The D.A. identified Barisone for the first time by name at that time.
“The Defendant, Michael Barisone, and a second male victim were also located at the scene. A handgun was also recovered.”
— A.J. Perez (@byajperez) August 8, 2019
The New York Times reported that five days before the shooting, Kanarek posted on Facebook that she was afraid of her dressage trainer. She also went to the local police and to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to looking into Olympics-related misconduct, as well as to the United States Equestrian Federation to raise red flags about Barisone.
In her Facebook posts, Kanarek did not mention Barisone by name, but she stated she had a long-running feud with a man she did not name but said she feared.
Rosanna Williams, another dressage rider, said she had Kanarek’s father’s permission to share the name of the injured woman, who she called committed to training.
“She was extremely dedicated. She basically gave up her entire existence, relocated, to train with somebody who was going to give her the best shot to accomplish her goals.”
Williams stated that Kanarek had confided in her about her issues, but she doesn’t think that this is the time to speak about it publicly. She added that even though this situation was “heating up,” she didn’t see this coming.