Hiya Cozee T
In answer to your question... The reason's for taping the spring's are as follows ( others may add more if i miss any out )
taping the springs acts as a sacrifice layer that don't cost much to replace when it is damaged.. as the springs are more prone to damage being such large arch shape..
some people when learning tend to pivot on there toes causing the same action to happen on their hoofs which in turn make you slap springs against each other and thus taking chunks out of them thus weakening them and causing them to fail aka snap/shatter and so on...
not only does taping give you what could be described as like a ( forgive the idea/punn ) condom effect it protects your springs and ( dont split lol ) also is easy to replace and saves you having to buy new springs every few weeks/ months but also in the event that your springs do fail due to use most of the spring will be kept together by the tape.
As to customizing... Yes if you like to get fancy with different colours and different pattens you can create your own style on your stilt spring so thus helping others pick you out in large meetings and it also is a great way for adding a splash of colour onto your stilts that you can change with some ease..
other options for spring protection are
of course tyre armor bicycle tyre cut down and made to fit spring held in place by 9 out of 10 times with either zip ties or hiking boot shoe laces due to there length.
my option being a bit over the top but never had any damage so far.. Zagg custom made skin ( stuff made for Helicopter Rotors and also now phones and so on then high pressure air jack hosing with 1 layer of duct tape to hold it all in place and then coloured twine on top of that ( i actually have 2 colours on each stilts.. this is Very Time Consuming 1 stilt just being wound took 4 to 5 hours and took 600 winds to complete. )
main questions you need to ask yourself are
1 how much you wanna protect your springs?
2 how fancy you wanna get on the "art work"
3 how much money you willing to spend on this sport.. some people are on a budget others have money to burn.
4 do you fancy spending more time fixing then using them.. if you do then dont bother taping them. if not then do or get something on your springs to keep em safe.
and 5 is more a general thing all the time.. Look after your stilts and keep them serviced every few weeks and you shouldn't have any problems in the future.
if i missed anything forgive me its late but im sure the rest of my "family" here will be more then glad to back me up with the bits i missed or didnt cover that well.
Chris - Binop9