A former US dressage Olympian shot an award-winning equestrian on the grounds of his ritzy, 53-acre New Jersey sprawl — days after she wrote online that her life had been threatened, authorities said Thursday.
Equestrienne shot on Olympians farm identified as award-winning rider
The equestrienne shot on a ritzy New Jersey farm was…
Michael Barisone, a member of the 2008 Beijing Summer Games squad, allegedly blasted the rider — identified by sources as Lauren Kanarek — twice in the chest Wednesday afternoon at Hawthorne Farm in bucolic Morris County, officials said.
The attack came just days after Kanarek, 38, posted on Facebook that she had reason to fear for her safety.
“A certain known drunk has literally just informed me ‘sleep with one eye open,’ ” wrote Kanarek on Aug. 2 in one of several recent posts on the site expressing a sense of peril.
None of the messages mentions Barisone, 54, by name, but on Thursday, the former international dressage competitor was charged with attempted murder and weapons possession, officials said.
Dressage, an Olympic sport since the 1912 games in Stockholm, is the art of executing an intricate series of precise horseback maneuvers, with riders scored on a scale of zero to 10 by a panel of international judges.
While the 2008 US dressage team failed to medal, Barisone has carved out a place of prominence in the niche community.
In 2009 he was named the Sportsman International Horseman of the Year, and he has trained Olympians including Allison Brock, who captured bronze for the US at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games.
He also operates Barisone Dressage training facility on the Long Valley farm — which sits 11 miles from the US equestrian team’s headquarters in Gladstone, NJ.
According to her social media posts, Kanarek both rented a home with her fiancé and quartered horses at Hawthorne Farm — an arrangement neighbors and sources said Barisone was seeking to end.
“There was a big red sign in front saying ‘eviction,’ ” said neighbor Bob Jenkins, 66. “He was trying to get them out.”
Police sources said that cops had been called to the farm at least a half-dozen times in the week leading up to the shooting but that tensions finally came to a head around 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday.
Barisone confronted Kanarek and her fiancé on the back porch of a farmhouse and, after a brief exchange of heated words, allegedly drew his gun, sources said. “There was a very short verbal confrontation,” said one police source. “He didn’t say, ‘I’m going for my gun.’ He just went for it. He came, [and] he knew what he was going to do.”
Barisone allegedly pumped two bullets into Kanarek’s chest at nearly point-blank range, according to sources.
Both Barisone and Kanarek’s fiancé suffered non-life threatening injuries in the ensuing struggle, though neither was shot, sources said.
Washington Township cops arrested Barisone at the scene, while first responders rushed Kanarek to Morristown Medical Center. Her condition was originally characterized by sources as “up in the air,” but a friend told The Post that Kanarek had stabilized after emerging from surgery.
“She’s doing OK,” said Rosanna Williams, who sold three European dressage horses to Kanarek a few years back. “She’s a very dedicated person. She’s very kind. She’s been working really hard in the sport.”
The fruits of that labor show in Kanarek’s Twitter bio, where she touts her accomplishments in the United States Dressage Federation and her drive for more.
“USDF bronze medalist,” reads the bio. “Silver coming soon.”
With respect to the shooting that has, at the least, put that dream on hold, Williams was mum.
“As for what set this off, I can’t discuss it,” said Williams, citing the wishes of Kanarek’s shaken family. “The situation was very complex.”
What can be gleaned from Kanarek’s Facebook posts is that whatever the particulars of her bad blood with Barisone, she walked in fear.
“I’m being bullied by a 6’3 man. Bullied to the point I’m afraid,” she wrote in one post on Aug. 2.
“Some people in life seem to feel they are untouchable by anyone. They feel that just because they have one accomplishment under their belt that everyone will believe every word they say,” reads another post. “I must be very careful and take every single legal precaution I can as well as employee [sic] every resource at my disposal to rectify this matter promptly.
“Everything from my life, livelihood and even riding career have all been threatened should I refuse to adhere to the things I’ve been being put through, constantly.”
Barisone’s initial court appearance had yet to be scheduled as of late Thursday, and it was not immediately known if he had secured legal representation.
There was no answer at a publicly listed phone number for the Olympian, and his voicemail inbox was full.
Workers at Barisone Dressage declined to comment.
Additional reporting by Yaron Steinbuch
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