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SocialFARMS - Activities for Rural Management Services. A project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

“Landeskompetenzzentrum für Mensch-Tier-Beziehung“ (means translated: national competence center for human-animal-relationship) is located in Leibnitz in southern Styria. The therapy animal farm is managed by Ursula Köstl. The work is done there with a variety of farm animal species, including donkeys, horses, goats, chickens, sheep, llamas and alpacas, rabbits, pigs, duks and geese. The Antionushof works with a team pool in a multiprofessional approach, so that the individual requirements of the clients, the work with authorities, the work at the therapy animal farm, as well as the work in agriculture and with the animals can be met.

  • Name and Surname: Ursula Köstl (Leitung).
  • Birth Year: 1959.
  • Gender: Female.
  • Education: Trained educator, coach and farmer.
  • Address: Seggaubergstraße 14, 8430 Leibnitz.
  • Farm Area (in ha): 7 ha grassland/green space and 1 ha forest.
  • Since: For almost 30 years – also in research, association founded in 2007.
  • No of workers: 1 Multi-professional team on a fee basis (Honorarium basis).

Website and social networks accounts:,0,7,0

Farm general description

The therapeutic animal farm for animal-assisted intervention and equestrian pedagogy is Green Care certified, which means that people, animals and facility are tested and certified. This farm offers humans and animals green meadows, woods and orchards, as well as the opportunity to produce and refine nature’s delicacies. The therapy animals give eggs and goat milk.


The services refer to animal-assisted interventions. These include professionally planned therapeutic, educational, psychological and socially integrative services for people of all ages with and without physical, psychological, social-emotional and cognitive limitations and behaviors. It also includes health promoting, preventive and rehabilitative measures. The animal-assisted intervention units are planned, implemented and evaluated by people who have completed basic therapeutic, educational or social training as well as animal-assisted education and training.


The “Antoniushof” offers work and employment on the farm, animal-assisted intervention on the farm, riding therapy, crisis intervention for school classes and animal-assisted learning coaching. In addition, there are also leisure activities, such as llama hikes, yoga with animal companionship, animal experience camps with goat milking, campfires, creative design, etc., as well as various riding offers (riding kindergarten, riding education for children and adolescents, mother-child riding, guided riding for all age groups).


It is also an apprentice training company for the WKO (Austrian Federal Economic Chamber). Within the framework of partial qualification, apprentices are trained in the profession of animal care at the farm. This comprehensive social offer of the Antoniushof is complemented by the farm sale of goat milk products from own production.

Social Farm Manager Role

The overview of the overall operation: To be responsible for the functioning of the business on a personnel, financial and professional level. There is also the responsibility to create quality conditions for humans and animals and quality management. This ranges from feeding the species, purchasing, client billing up to which client needs whom – which person is brought into the team from the network as well as research, networking and on-site, evaluations, supervision and training.

Social Farm Tutor Role

Is not present here – it all happens in direct contact- in team meetings the issues are dealt with and responsibilities are handed over – daily responsibility. Reference person available: to keep an eye on the client and in team meetings it is discussed – which therapist is necessary – choice of animal is up to the client.

Relationships with Social/Health Services

Cooperates with different authorities, the WKO and other institutions (e.g. schools). For many children from elementary schools, new middle schools and high schools the subject “social learning” takes place under the direction of Ursula Köstl with the therapy animals of the farm. The Animal Assisted Intervention for school classes is recognized by the Education Directorate and School Psychology of the Province of Styria.

Relationships with families

Is very different and depends on the therapy- it is necessary to bring the children (grandparents, family relievers) – very different. There is an exchange of what is done. The social worker – report – is handed over to the contact person (paying agencies in therapy). There is a conversation with the parents. Sometimes the parents are present at the beginning.

Relationships with Social Agriculture Networks

It happens a lot about the ÖKL- training tracks (ÖKL=Austria-wide operating neutral educational institution for adult education and further education in the agricultural sector in the public interest), Green Care – personal coherent connections arise automatically.


Vision: that all animals do well, the dear colleagues stay, good succession is there, are settled, that it becomes a selfrunner. That animal-assisted intervention in its diversity is politically supported.

Development plan

There is a farm concept and development plan yet to be stronger farming.
– Goat breeding: extinct breeds to build a cheese dairy. Hand milked also as a therapeutic approach.

Suggestions for managing a social farm

Visit many, offer a wide range of services, be broadly based; feel on the spot how things are done and maintain personal contacts. Networking is very important, be open to other possibilities.

Cobbler stick to your last: offering what you can do well yourself, or – farming is its own training.