The first thing you need to know is that I created this forum account specifically to complain about this issue. That is how much it is making me want to uninstall.
The development team needs to make horses and animal followers maintain more distance from the player when they are in tow. If you ride your horse out to collect materials, it will park itself on top of you; I frequently have to strategically tiptoe so I can get just the right angle to strike a tree or resource node instead of my horse. Other animal followers will do the same thing, blocking you inside buildings, preventing you from interacting with crafting stations, and pinning you into spots where you’re unable to effectively fight off enemies.
They MUST back off at least six feet for my safety, though masks are optional as they don’t actually offer protection.