I agree with TL. A dog is much more likely to act lovingly. They have been bred for it for many, many years.
Some horses are fairly lovey-dovey, but the percentage is much, much lower. And even then, it is a very different relationship. I have no doubt my dogs would fight to protect my family & I. Horses only do that in movies. And a 30 lb dog is MUCH less dangerous when out of control than a 900 lb horse.
bsms, I would have said you were spot on with that second part, until last Saturday. My son had his 14th birthday party and there were several kids here (ages 13-15) that my horse wasn't familiar with. She only paid them minimal attention (until she realized they weren't coming to give her treats or scratches and then went about her business, ignoring them). Later in the afternoon they mass attacked my son with water balloons and water cannons. The three large family dogs merrily joined the fun, but my horse went nuts!
She only calmed down when I went to the fence with my son and then she actually pushed him sideways with her head, putting herself between he and the other kids, and pawed and snorted at the other kids, nuzzling my son's head intermittently like she thought he was hurt or something. It was bizarre and of course my camera battery was already dead at that point, so no vid!! :(
I had the kids put their gear down and come to the fence a couple at a time, so she could get acquainted with them and she calmed down and met them all, got some head and neck scratches and then was fine the rest of the day after that, even when they got loud and rambunctious. It was really strange.
The only other time I've seen her act like that was when we had a guy out to haul off some junk for us. I didn't go outside with him intially, as had told him where the stuff was and I was on a conference call when he got here and couldn't go out right away. She ran up and down along the fence baring her teeth, snorting, pawing etc, until I went outside and took him over to meet her and then she was fine the rest of the time he was here, even when I went back inside and left him to his work. Kind of strange, as I'd never seen a real, live horse act that way...as you said, only in the movies. Until I saw it firsthand with my own horse. Like having a 1,000 lb guard dog I guess. :/