Haven't seen anyone agreeing with the geniuses at Mojang that ruining the horse model and animations was a good thing. I'm with the masses thinking that it's just objectively a bad change. This update is going to severely neuter my enjoyment of building animal ranches in vanilla. As I said in another thread, it doesn't match the quality or complexity of recently added models, like bunnies. The change is one of pure sabotage, going along with some falsely professed ideal that Minecraft is supposed to look blocky and bad. It likely stemmed from some old, very minor drama over part of a mod being added, and looking better than what was in the game at the time. I think the Dr. Zhark horse model should be an example of what all mob models should look like, cows look stupid, and so do futile attempts to make derp horses pass inspection.
As Ravage656 said, how about improving the other models instead of downgrading the game? Making the game worse doesn't sit right to me, I don't care for the justification that Minecraft is supposed to look terrible. Of course not changing the horse model means the 3D artist who did it is being called a failure - which they pretty much are, if you look at those attempts - but being stubborn isn't a good thing here; the game is supposed to be produced for customers, not as an ego trip.
The texture changes seems like a move to get rid of or pave over anything Notch did, just for the sake of doing that. Here we contradict "Minecraft must look blocky and bad as Notch designed it." Nothing to do with improvement, everything to do with bad office politics and a lasting grudge his previous employees have against him. Unfortunately it's not even a good default replacement, but just an edit of the vanilla textures that looks like many of the worse amateur attempts. The new textures look muddy and bad, and the artist is one who holds himself as immune to criticism. With the change in art direction, this is going to be rather annoying for anyone who preferred the old textures.