Lauren Kanarek is a competitive dressage rider who was shot twice in the chest on August 7 at Barisone Dressage, an equestrian facility in Morris County, New Jersey. Michael Barisone, a former U.S. Olympian and the owner of the facility, is accused of shooting her. He has been charged with two counts of attempted murder, according to NJ Media.
Barisone, 54, has also been charged with two counts of weapon offenses, authorities say. Kanarek, 38, has been hospitalized following the event. According to several of her friends via Facebook posts, she is in stable condition.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kanarek Posted About Being ‘Bullied by a 6’3′ Man’ on Her Facebook
Kanarek posted several cryptic messages to Facebook in the weeks leading up to her being shot. One such status, posted on August 5, reads, “Ill present my tests. If for no other reason than to prove this: if a trainer refuses 2do his/her job — despite obscene amounts of $$ being paid — I’ll do it myself! #eyeontheball”
On August 2, Kanarek wrote, “Hmmm…A certain known drunk— has literally just informed me ‘sleep with one eye open.’ Newsflash: I don’t sleep!!! But I’ll B on the look out for any poorly aimed wine boxes”
Lastly, on August 2 earlier that day, Kanarek, “I’m being bulled by a 6’3 man. Bullied to the point I’m afraid. It’s very complicated — I’m not sure of what I can say here — but it seems as if Safe Sport was created for exactly this reason.”
Multiple outlets have also reported that Kanarek either filed or planned to file a SafeSport report against Barisone; SafeSport collects reports of assault and misconduct among Olympic sports.
2. Kanarek’s Friends Have Accused Barisone of Being Abusive Against Kanarek
Many of Kanarek’s friends have since confirmed that she was the one who was shot at the equestrian facility. One such friend alleges that Barisone and Kanarek had been in an “ongoing dispute” leading up to her being shot, and that Barisone has made death threats to Kanarek in the past.
The allegations, made by Paige Ervin, read in full:
Yesterday, my friend Lauren Kanarek was shot in her heart twice by her trainer, Michael Barisone. Lauren is/was a client of Michael’s and lived temporarily on his farm with her horses. Michael was arrested on the scene for shooting Lauren. They had been in an ongoing dispute that escalated to the point of Lauren having to hire lawyers and report Michael to Safe Sport, USEF and FEI.
Michael has made death threats to Lauren and her family and warned her to sleep with one eye open.
Michael also broke Lauren’s fiancé’s wrist when he attempted to wrestle the gun out of Michael’s hands.
Lauren made it through surgery last night and made it through over night. She is still unconscious and in critical condition.
Please send Lauren healing vibes. She needs all the help and support she can get right now.
I also truly hope that this doesn’t turn into another popularity contest vs the objective facts of attempted murder.
Lauren has posted openly on her personal page about her on going troubles with Michael as well. You can certainly go there and read her posts – I have some screen shots as well. This whole situation is horrible and there are no winners.
Barisone has not made a public comment since being taken into custody.
To The New York Post, Kanarek’s friend Rosanna Williams said, “She’s very kind. She’s been working really hard in the sport. As for what set this off, I can’t discuss it. The situation was very complex.”
3. Kanarek Frequently Posts Pictures of Herself Riding to Social Media
Kanarek has frequently uploaded videos and images of her riding life to Instagram and Twitter.
According to her Facebook, Kanarek has studied at both Hollins University and Guilford College, and is engaged to be married.
Her Facebook bio reads, “USEF/USDF Bronze Medalist • Mad, bad & dangerous to know. • Inconceivable! #liberal ?”
4. Barisone Has a Long Resume to His Equestrian Career
Barisone Dressage, the facility where Kanarek was shot, is owned by Barisone.
Barisone competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympic games as a horseback rider in the dressage category (his team did not medal). He’s now a well-known trainer for other elite horseback riders, and trains out of his own facilities in New Jersey and Florida.
According to his official bio, Barisone was a member of the 1997 Nations Cup team who won the gold medal at Hickstead, and through his training has garnered over 100 CDI Grand Prix wins on nine different horses that he “produced himself.” He was also the 2009 Sportsman International Horseman of the Year. He’s also coached younger Olympians, like Alison Brock, who helped the US win Bronze in 2016 at the Rio Olympics.
5. Some Have Defended Barisone’s Alleged Actions on Social Media
A select few accounts have repeatedly defended the actions of the shooter, drawing the ire of others in the equestrian community.
Dressage Hub, a Twitter account focusing on the equestrian world which has over 11,000 followers, tweeted, “Lauren Kanarek took her bullying too far. Everyone has limits. Dressage Hub 100% supports Micheal Barisone in his actions.”
Users immediately responded, calling out the apparent harshness of the comment. One user wrote, “To be clear…. you support…. someone shooting a woman in the chest… twice…..”
Another wrote, “He shot her in the chest… twice? How is this even remotely okay? How can you defend that. Disgusting.”