Translation:My horse is not an artist but an architect.
It's not a nonsense! In spain, we have what we call Beat the Turtle tournaments and only ducks are allowed!
No just kidding. Of course those weird surrealistic sentences are there on purpose. It's, like I call it in Belgium, un "moyen mnemotechnique" to remember the words, a sort of "way to remember words" (here, by having a strange sentence that you will definitely not forget so fast).
Well it made me laugh. I have been practicing my listening by translating with eyes closed and not using the given words (it gives you a clue when you see them) and I played this three or four times before I finally accepted there was nothing else the woman could possibly have been saying. Horse architecture at its very best. And it's given me a pun. Whose house did the female horse design? Your neighbour's ... Whohahaha. Hopefully I won't be banned from Duolingo for such a terrible joke... :-)
The word indicates. In Russian, animals always have a gender. Лошадь is femimine. Конь is masculine. Thus мой конь but моя лошадь.
The other examples:
кот (m) - кошка (f) a cat
бык (m) - корова (f) a cow
Sometimes the word may mean a species of animal (like in english), but anyway the word has a gender .
For example: собака (f), свинья (f).
I translated it easily--a simple sentence, then I thought I must be an idiot. But a horse is a horse, of course. So, why the weirdness in a language program? I think Kafka when I read it and another word that rhymes with it. Humor=superb. Usefulness in a language teaching program= jury is out.
As cute and funny as these sentences may seem, and as much as I appreciate the attempt to test users on how attentive they are, these kinds of nonsense sentences are counterproductive to learning. There's a very high probability that the student will second-guess themselves when they translate it correctly and this leads to completely avoidable frustration and annoyance. I've seen this in numerous courses and it irritates the hell out of me. There is no reason why this example couldn't use брат instead of лошадь.
At this stage of the course it makes sense to limit the number of words in our vocabulary. Think for a minute, how many feminine animate nouns ending in дь are there? Using лошадь is a good way to keep our vocabulary manageable and use it as broadly as possible. I think it is an excellent choice by the course developers.
Making and understanding jokes is a very important part of interacting with people. There's nothing more useful in getting strangers to warm up to you than to make them laugh. So, this sentence is actually more useful and important than many of the other exercises. I wish there were more of them.
This isn't a joke, this is a nonsense sentence the admins threw in as a cheap "gotcha". Nonsense sentences like this take time away from learning by keeping the student doubting themselves because the correct answer makes no sense. Besides, if you tell a Russian a sentence like this they won't laugh, they'll simply think you have mental problems.