It has always amazed me how few questions these pairs trade get
There is no protect just a trade with a smaller foot print.
Yes a futures account is 100% required and these trade can not be done using options, that would 100% change the risk profile. This said does not mean options can not be used to supplement the trade.
Reading, probably the CME has stuff but I have not read any of anything so can not give recommendations on any reading, my understanding comes from knowing how futures work and then taking advantage of that knowledge with the help of a knowledge of trading in general.
did I miss anything?